A day in the life of a UX designer

April 14, 2017

Author: Victoria Chattopadhyay


day in the life of a ux designer

“What is UX? What do you do?”

“The UI designers create the ‘designs’ and the Business Analysts create ‘stories’”. What the heck is ‘UX’?”

I get asked this by a lot of new developers.

It’s important we keep investing time in everyone’s knowledge of UX, especially as new teams form and new people join. So I decided to write this blog to give a glimpse into a typical day at work for a UXer.

UX = User Experience

8:45 AM On the train to work.Thankfully Metro trains is only 5 minutes delayed today.

Checking my calendar on phone, I see I have two meetings lined up today. Two meetings for two different projects. One is for insurance, and the other for a ‘fun rides theme park’.

Being on  multiple projects at once is really fun, because I get to work on different types of UX projects and a variety of domains.

9:10 AM I check my emails and so some quick replies. Everything’s going well so far today!  At 10am, I’m meeting someone to conduct  ‘user interviews’ for our theme park rides app. He is a tourist visiting Australia…it will be interesting getting his thoughts on the ‘rides’ project. I just hope he doesn’t cancel on me! Fingers crossed!

In case you are wondering, ‘user interview’ is the art of talking to potential users and encouraging them to bare their souls. Why do we do this? Because we are not our users. These conversations help us understand the users’ experiences, what drives their behavior, and why, so that we can develop a product that best suits their needs.

9:30 AM Our Design team standup has just finished. The ‘rides’ client has confirmed their dietary requirements, and everything has been scheduled in for the workshop tomorrow. I’m expecting it to be as much fun as the theme is.

We do lot of these Design Sprint workshops at Outware. Design Sprints allow us to learn if a product idea is any good without actually building and launching it. Within a short sprint, we get answers to critical business questions by testing the idea through a realistic prototype. Problems are far cheaper and easier to solve when they are lines on paper rather than lines of code.

9:55 AM Time for the user interview.  The user hasn’t cancelled Yay! :) :) He is on his way…

Now, where’s my questionnaire?

10:25 AM In the much-sought-after ‘Babbage’ meeting room (which I had wisely and luckily booked ahead).  The participant is into the “talking mode” now. Good for me! I just keep asking “why” to discover more about how he feels about the app.

user interview in ux

11:00 AM In front of the whiteboard…I have all my research findings up here. I see some obvious clusters to indicate patterns of behaviour and pain points. Let’s add these to my presso.

ux whiteboard

12:30 PM Time to grab a quick lunch…And, then wrap up my user research findings.

12:59 PM I have a call with the insurance client now. Their Design Sprint workshop is scheduled in three weeks. They will be dialling in from their warm and sunny office in Brisbane. Today, I will be speaking to another stakeholder for the first time. Let’s hear what her take is on the business idea.

2:01 PM I just finished the call with our insurance client. It’s good to hear that both stakeholders have clear ideas about the target audience (who the app is for), as well as the value proposition (why would they use it). Getting to this isn’t always obvious for some products and can take a little more work.

Some clients have strongly held ideas about what the final app product should look like. As a UXer, part of your job is  to gently steer them towards exploring more. Personas and customer journey mapping are helpful here. Personas will help us build empathy for the actual end user, while the customer journey map will allow us to paint an accurate picture of where we can make improvements as well as where opportunities exist.

ux stakeholders

3:30 PM Sketching time. I’m in front of the whiteboard again (we believe in gathering round all the whiteboards in the office often to co-design), working with the UI designer to do some quick sketches. Today we are working out ideas for a retail app.

ux sketching

4:30 PM I’m running through a checklist of things for tomorrow’s workshop. We will do all the unpacking tomorrow. I will offload my user research findings, and the client will offload their understanding about the ecosystem, target audience, and value proposition. Using these inputs, we will work out the customer journey map.

5:30 PM On my way back home. I need to be in office bit early tomorrow to set up the room for a 9:00 AM start. Time to rest and get myself ready for a full day of workshops!

Victoria Chattopadhyay is a User Experience Designer at Arq Group.