Roll Call: Jeff + DeAnna + Yoni

Yelp’s Product Design team consists of 22 talented folks who work on all facets of Yelp products. Each month, we’re sharing their stories.

Jeff Gochman

Favorite business(es) on Yelp:
Street Taco — favorite place to get a quick bite
Corona Heights — all time favorite spot in San Francisco
Dos Caminos — my go-to spot for margaritas in New York (my hometown)

Where were you before Yelp?
Before Yelp, I was getting my MFA in Interaction Design from the School of Visual Arts. Prior to that I worked as a interaction designer at an e-commerce company.

What product do you work on? What challenges is your team up against?
I work on the Search Team. Our main goal is to help people find and interact with great local businesses.

The challenge is how to provide contextual solutions based on that person’s goals when they are searching across a variety of categories, such as food, nightlife, delivery, or home improvement. For example, someone searching for a restaurant might be more interested in photos of the menu and food, whereas someone looking for a plumber needs a phone number, price estimates, or a list of services offered.

We use search results, suggestions, filters, and other methods to test the right content for the user based on what they’re looking for and then figure out how all the content can fit together within a design system.

What makes a company great to work at / what do you like about working at Yelp?
I enjoy being able to have such a large impact on a product that I use every day and thinking about ways I can make Yelp better for the millions of different people who use it.

I have seen the design team grow from five to almost twenty. It’s exciting to be part of helping the team grow and working together to find the right people for future growth! Being part of a smaller product design team gives people the flexibility and ownership of projects, which enables the team to have a large impact on the final product. There is also a lot more flexibility and room for continuing to define the best practices for teams to collaborate.

Yelp is a great company to work for because of the people that work here. They are collaborative, open, understanding, and are all working on solving the same issues together.

Who are the important mentors in your life?
I am continually motivated by the people around me and have learned a lot from my coworkers over the years. I’ve learned it’s super important to surround yourself with other creative, smart and overall awesome people. Enjoying the people you work with helps foster a better work environment.

My family also has had some of the biggest impacts on how I approach problems. They have helped define my morals and values and what it means to be a good person. They taught me to keep a level head, to help other people and to be patient, determined and understanding. All these values I find myself using in my everyday problem solving.

If you weren’t a Product Designer, what would you be doing?
Something that requires critical thinking and creativity. Or something outdoors where I could grow my own food, be active and explore.


DeAnna Caggiano

Favorite business on Yelp:
Corepower Yoga

What advice do you have for designers just starting out?
Speak up, advocate for yourself and pursue opportunities you think are beyond your reach. You’ll surprise yourself with your own abilities.

If you met somebody who had never heard of Yelp, what would you tell them about it?
Well … I’m on the growth team so, in the interest of user acquisition, I would say download Yelp right now. Also, it’s more than just restaurants!

What makes a company great to work at?
Always the people. Working with people who are goal-driven, motivated, and collaborative is infectious and has always lead me to do my best work. I’ve been very lucky over the years and have lots of wonderful friendships, and work, to show for it.

If you weren’t a product designer what would you be doing?
Yoga instructor. Yoga has been my favorite non-design pastime for a long time and I’d love to devote more time to it.


Yoni De Beule

Favorite business on Yelp:
Perilla

Where were you before Yelp?
I’m originally from Belgium and moved to the Bay Area to work at Yelp. Before Yelp, I was working in Ghent at a digital agency called Wijs. The talented peers I worked with and the challenging high-pace environment proved to be an amazing recipe for anyone with an open mind and a willingness to learn.

You manage Yelp’s design team. What does that involve? 
The product team at Yelp is flat, collaborative, and highly impactful. Making sure it stays that way as our product evolves, our team grows, and our processes change, is one of our biggest challenges.

I have a lot of one-on-one meetings with my team, project managers, engineers, and other managers. This helps me identify any projects or individuals that need help resolving problems. It also enables me to act as a liaison for cross-team communication.

I represent my team and our vision to stakeholders and create processes that help efficiency, quality, and creativity. I’m also very involved in hiring new folks.

Who are the important mentors in your life?
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been able to work closely with selfless, talented people (designers, product managers, and engineers). To name just a select few: Johan Ronsse, Stephen Verhalleman, Madhu Prabaker, James Hurley, Eric Singley, Matthias Mullie, Mason Glidden, and John Boiles.

If you weren’t a Product Designer, what would you be doing?
I’d be flying planes as a commercial airline pilot or building suburban homes as an architect. Or, well, maybe building drones and rockets.


Feeling inspired to get to know us a little better? Look us up on Dribbble, and if you’ve got the design chops and are passionate about local businesses, check out current openings for the Yelp Product Design team at yelp.com/careers.