Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get the job done?

Lauren Hallden

Lauren Hallden

Designer (RJMetrics), web tinkerer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Lauren Hallden, and I'm a designer based in Philadelphia. By day I work at the business intelligence startup RJMetrics, and in my spare time I like to make weird and wonderful projects on the web. Some of my favorites: a twitter bot that talks to lonely people, and a lorem ipsum generator that sounds just like an OkCupid profile.

What hardware do you use?

I'm fortunate to say I'm currently using a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and a Thunderbolt display, though only for the last two years. Before that I was strictly a PC person. In fact, my early design projects were all created on a comically-heavy Dell laptop I'd been nursing along since 2008. Sometimes you've gotta make it work on a budget, and there's no shame in that!

I still have an Asus desktop for home use. I don't use it for design as much any longer, but it serves me well for storage and backups.

And what software?

Most of my visual design work is done in the Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator is my absolute favorite of the bunch), although I've been trying to force myself to branch out. I've recently been experimenting with Sketch and Principle.

For code, I'm typically in Sublime (or occasionally TextWrangler). I'm also really interested in web analytics -- when I launch a new page or revamp an existing one, I always have a plan in place for measuring its performance. I use Optimizely to test design variations, Google Analytics and Tag Manager to track user events, and our own business intelligence and dashboarding product, RJMetrics CloudBI, to keep track of all my performance metrics.

One of the things I love about working in tech is that my coworkers are always test driving new software. Recently our team has adopted Slack for communication and Trello for project management. I also spent about six months using Toggl for daily time tracking -- I'd previously used it to track freelance hours, but it's also helpful in estimating project lengths and prioritizing high-impact work.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm still looking for an efficient and intuitive way to catalogue design inspiration. Right now I'm rotating between Evernote, Dropbox, a collection of desktop folders, and even a bit of Pinterest to help me reference things I like, but nothing seems quite right. If I could have anything, it would be the perfect visual bookmarking mashup.