Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Tara Mann

Tara Mann

Product and UI Designer (Basecamp)

Posted in designer, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Tara Mann, I'm a designer at Basecamp, where I work on our iOS app. Previously I worked at Twitter and Science Inc in Los Angeles. I've been designing consumer-facing mobile apps since college, I love designing for that context. I'm also into comedy and writing, so I spend a lot of time doing those things as well.

What hardware do you use?

I've been an Apple person since I was a kid. I use a 13" MacBook Pro (late 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports model) when I need a desktop computer. During a normal workday I'll dock my MacBook Pro to my Apple Thunderbolt display, but not always, sometimes it's nice to just work full-screen on a smaller display.

I use the 9.7" iPad Pro (silver, wifi, 128GB), along with the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. I was shocked how much these two accessories have changed my usage patterns, especially the Pencil. I now do all my design sketching on the iPad, putting together loose flows and UI ideas - it's the first iPad I have used almost everyday since getting it. For email and writing, the Smart Keyboard makes it super easy to multi-task (those keyboard shortcuts!) and actually feel productive. It takes the handcuffs off of iOS in some ways.

My most used piece of hardware is my iPhone 7 (Jet Black, 256GB). I use it for photos, videos, and tons of social media stuff. I also use it for working on random pieces of writing while I'm on the subway or in a coffee shop. I use Bose QuietComfort 35 Bluetooth headphones for when I want real noise cancellation or when I'm on a flight, and AirPods when I'm getting around town (I currently live in New York City). I read on a Kindle Oasis - it's small and light, my favorite Kindle so far.

And what software?

I do all my high fidelity design work in Sketch, and I'll bounce around various prototyping tools (there always seems to be a new kid on the block). I sketch a ton on my iPad using GoodNotes. I've tried many sketching apps and GoodNotes is perfect for my particular use case. I use Spotify for music and Overcast for podcasts. I mostly use Bear for notes - it's also a nice Markdown editor and allows you to sort of codify how you organize things. It's neat.

For project management I use Basecamp on Mac and iOS, so all my work stuff is in there. I use Tweetbot for Mac mostly, but I'll also check from time to time, mostly for group DMs. I use Pocket as my read-it-later service, which is helpful when I want to clean up my open tabs. I'm still trying to find the perfect writing software...

What would be your dream setup?

Honestly, probably more minimal than what I have now. Just an iPad with the Apple Pencil and my laptop would be totally fine. Once you start getting used to more and more accessories you think you need them. I think I'd be just as productive with less.