Our customers are changing the world with inspiring ideas and impactful projects. Here is the story of Marcus Triest, a UI/UX and product designer based in Austin, Texas.


Marcus Triest
Marcus Triest is a product designer. That means he has to constantly test and validate ideas, collect user feedback, and make informed decisions about whether to spend engineering resources on concept development. Marcus explains his approach to validating ideas and shares a case study of his personal project aimed at helping food trucks easily find and rent high-traffic spaces.
UI/UX Design
— Hey Marcus, can you briefly introduce yourself?
— Hey, I'm Marcus Triest. I'm a US-based UI/UX designer and product designer. I'm originally from Portland, Oregon where I studied industrial design, and then moved to Austin, Texas about 10 years ago where I actually pivoted into software design. I currently serve as head of product for inKind, where we're solving issues facing restaurants and restaurant finance. And there I oversee our web and application UI/UX as well as our design team.

When I'm not building for inKind, I'm often building websites and applications for myself and others. I'm really passionate about that intersection between design and product, and I find just a lot of fulfillment in releasing a product into the wild and seeing how users actually engage and interact with it. And my mission really is to discover and solve problems in the mediums that I'm fluent in.
— Was it hard to find a website builder that fits your needs?
— I remember at the start of 2020 telling myself that, okay, I need to figure out this website building piece to round out my toolbox as a product designer and as a UI/UX designer. And I played around with probably a half dozen or so website builders and continually was finding myself picking them up and sort of setting them down and them not really working in a way that was conducive to the way that I think or operate as a UI/UX designer.

And it wasn't until an engineer reached out to me needing some assistance on a project and introduced me to Tilda that I really found something that worked with how I work as a designer.
— What was so special about Tilda?
— I remember getting the project and it felt a little bit daunting to start, but very quickly found that I could enter kind of that creative flow state and really start outputting work. And as a UI/UX designer, visuals are obviously very important to me. And I finally found a platform where I felt I could really get pixel-perfect designs from my high-fidelity prototypes into a live website.

For me, just the Zero Block editor and the free-form builder and the simplicity of how that works were just incredibly intuitive. It really matched kind of how I operate within Sketch and Figma to then translate over into a free-form responsive configuration. And then I also found just the pre‑built blocks to sort of provide just enough structure to then lead and fill out an entire page as well. I just have found that a lot of other builders become very weighted down in sort of the configurations that you can do from a top-level without giving you the free-form nature that I was looking for.
on Tilda
— As a UI/UX and product designer, how do you use the website builder?
— I've built hundreds of web pages on Tilda and I use Tilda to build everything from personal projects to client websites, to work websites. And for my personal projects, a website is really a means for me to convey a message and validate a concept before I pull in a coded solution or an engineer. Over the past couple of years, I have worked and partnered with very talented engineers but if I'm having them code anything before I've actually validated and tested an idea, then I've sort of failed the engineer and I failed really the end user as a product designer.
I find a lot of fulfillment in releasing a product into the wild and seeing how users engage and interact with it
— Can you tell us about one of your personal projects?
— My latest personal project that I've been working on is foodparks.io and it really started with identifying a problem that food truck operators were facing in the space. Having just been out and observing them operate and actually talking with food truck owners, I discovered that there wasn't a single directory for them to discover the real estate and food parks for them to actually set up shop.

After identifying that problem I started designing what a solution might look like and was able to get something live in Tilda by the end of the day, which is very, very powerful and exciting. But at that point, it was all about getting user feedback. And so actually posting the website and getting it in front of food truck operators and validating that concept and seeing if my theory around needing a solution like this was actually valid.
— How did you promote your website to gather user feedback?
— For this particular MVP, I really was focused on the food truck operators. So when you land on the website, I wanted it to be incredibly clear how to navigate to your specific region and then be able to apply for a particular lot that was of interest. And then from there, in order to really gather the information, I leaned heavily on Tilda’s tools, both the email forwarding and CRM setup to gather that data and then make informed decisions around how much traffic I was actually driving to the website and what my conversion rates were really looking like in terms of seating those initial first users.

On Tilda, I could actually start with a nice SEO framework to build off of because I seated the website into things like Facebook and other food truck blogs to get that original traffic. And from there it really started to take off in terms of the traffic that I was seeing, but also the feedback I was getting from operators. And so I was getting around 5 to 10 applicants a day looking for spaces just in my city after listing maybe 10 to 15 different locations. And they've actually been instrumental in me shaping the web application that I'm designing off of that concept.
I finally found a platform where I felt I could get pixel-perfect designs from my prototypes into a live website
— What's the current stage of the project?
— Right now, I feel about 80% validated on the concept—so I'm entering this phase now where I'm actually reaching out and talking to users that have inbounded through the website and figuring out exactly what issue this is solving for them and how I can actively improve it. And then from there, it's informing my decision on what my actual web application is gonna look and feel like as I start to build that out, now that I feel that I've really started to validate the concept.
— What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
— My advice to younger designers would be to continue leveling up in skill sets that are gonna empower them as a designer. And for me, that was really adding the web building component into my toolbox as a means to reach a wider audience and validate concepts faster.

As designers, we're actively trying to improve our process and better understand our end users and there's no better medium than a direct website that you can interface and prototype off of to get in front of users and start to gather feedback.
— Having launched many websites on Tilda, what business-related benefits have you noticed?
— To me, the value of Tilda is that speed to validate a concept, taking an idea into a live state where I can actually get it in front of users and start that user feedback loop is incredibly powerful. That informs all the decisions that are to come and ultimately saves engineering, design, and marketing hours.

When I can just pre‑bake that in as a one-man design shop, it's super powerful, time is money, so it has a measurable impact on delivery and speed for me in terms of validating those concepts.

Learn more about Marcus Triest's design projects on his portfolio website.

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