Masha Reko - Apprenticeship Blog

What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing. (Aristotle)

Day 45: Hello, UX & Design!

A new week is here, and this time I get to start it in a completely new environment. As I announced a week ago, I decided to kick off my Business Phase in the UX & Design team, which was my wish for quite some time already.

The reason for this lies in my huge fascination for design, even though I can sincerely say that I am terrible at it. I don’t think that’s ever going to change, as you can’t just teach someone design if they completely lack talent for it. So my goal for this week is to simply sit back and observe; I may not be doing much practical stuff myself, but watching the masters at work is probably rewarding enough on its own. I know I’ll enjoy it, nevertheless.

So my day started with an informal introduction to UX, organized by our amazing design leads: Will, Josip and Susanne. The fact that they took the time to do something like this, and officially welcome me into their fold for this week - already spoke volumes on how friendly and approachable these people are. Not that I had much doubt before, but now I was sure that I’ve made the right decision when choosing them for my first team.

After this introductory meeting, I got an overall idea of how the design team organizes itself; apparently, there isn’t just one, but four smaller teams, that all work together to create the best possible experience for our Urlaubers. Those are, namely:

  • The UX Design Team
  • The Visual Design Team
  • The UX Research Team
  • The UX Copywrite Team

Even from the early morning it was clear to me that this will be a busy day. But that is ok - busy is good; busy means the day is fulfilled. So immediately after the introductory meeting, I ran off to the New User Flow Design Concept meeting, which was quite insightful. Firstly, I got to see how the designers plan and distribute their work, and compare it to the way the developers do it. Interestingly, they also use something like a Kanban board, but apparently there are no Daily Standup meetings or anything of sort. The second cool thing I got to see are the draft designs for the new user flow. I enjoyed listening to the designers debate the proposed ideas and raise their concerns. There are so many layers that need to be considered when designing someting like this, and there is so much responsibility involved; so kudos to our designers for doing such an awesome job regardless.

After the meeting, I found a desk in the designers area and made myself comfortable there. It felt weird being away from the apprenticeship island, but my new environment was also nice in its own way. However, it was much quieter than what I’m used to; aside from the sound of typing and occasional short conversations, there wasn’t much else to hear. But alas, that also allowed me to focus better on my work.

I’ve spent the rest of the day either in meetings, or observing the usability tests through a tool called Lookback. It was my first encounter with tests like these, and I can say that my feelings were mixed. I found them very engaging at first; seeing how different people interact with the app was not only about design, but about human psychology as well. But after two hours or so, they also got a bit repetitive. However, I can see now how valuable tests like this can be for our designers. As a side note, I truly appreciated that the tests were conducted in English, allowing us poor souls that still struggle with German to understand what was going on.

As you can see, it’s only my first day at the design team and I already got to see so many new things. I just wish to thank everyone there for making me feel so welcome, even though I am kind of an alien for what they do. Now I am looking forward to the rest of the week even more!