Senior UX Product Designer, Orla Madden shares what she gets up to in a typical work day.
Hi everyone! My name is Orla Madden and I’m a Senior Product Designer at Goatpath by SoftwareOne. My main responsibility is to create products that are simple, delightful, and easy to use. As a Product Designer, I have a job that is fun and challenging – I get to spend time with customers to discuss their goals or pains, and then I get to turn that feedback into a product or feature that will help them achieve those goals while also balancing business needs.
I joined the company a little over 2 years ago, and no two days are the same. One day I’m talking with customers about what they’d like to see implemented in a new feature, and the next I’m facilitating a workshop for a new product. Today it just so happens that I’m writing a blog about a day in the life of a Product Designer, so let’s dive in!
My first 10 minutes of the day is spent looking at the day ahead and listing some priority tasks that need to get done.
This includes meetings, time for research and design, and depending on the week, some tasks that have rolled in from the last working day.
This prioritization goes down well with a fresh cup of coffee!
First meeting of the day is a stand up with the entire team. We have a daily sync every morning for 20 minutes.
It’s my favourite meeting of the day! During this sync, we share what we are working on, what priorities we have for the day ahead, and any blockers we have.
There are 14 people on our product design team, so it can be a very lively start to the day. Some are on holidays, so the meeting ends earlier than usual. Time for a quick snack before my next meeting.
Next, I have a 1:1 meeting with my manager. Typically, these meetings are informal check-ins to see how I am doing and if there is anything I need. Most of the discussions we have are about personal development. Our team has a career development framework in the form of badges that each member will allocate time over the quarter to upskill. We use this time to discuss how I’m getting on with my latest badges and if there is anything she can do to help me achieve them.
Next up is a UI pre-Sprint Review check with the development team. I meet with the development team a couple of times a month to make sure the designs are functioning properly and that our UI standards are in line with our Design System. This session we do a day before our squad’s Sprint Review, where the development work is shown to the wider organization. I usually have some items that need to be addressed during this meeting, such as minor UI fixes that the team can implement quickly.
Our Product Design team have design reviews every Monday where we ask for feedback and get critiques from fellow designers. It is helpful to have a fresh set of eyes validate your work before presenting it to the Product team I am working with. It is a great opportunity to get feedback from another designer if you are stuck with an idea. To improve our work, we exchange feedback with other designers in order to see if we are moving in the right direction.
It's time for a customer call! We have various squads in Goatpath, with different goals. I work within the Learn and Demand squad, whose purpose is to drive demand into Goatpath, learn about how they solve customer problems and unlock new direct revenue opportunities. This customer is part of our Preview Program, where we give users Beta-access to test new features before they are released. Our Preview users give us early feedback on our work and help us to make products they love to use!
I'm aware this customer had some experience with Cloud Migration so this is the most ideal opportunity to validate some of the ideas we’re working on. As a result of the customer's feedback, I have some additional insight that will help me improve the designs. This is a key point of doing user research — finding problems and improvements at an early stage to avoid waste at a higher cost.
The time flew by! After a morning of meetings, it’s time for some lunch. I’m currently working from home, so I use the time to have a play session with my puppy, Daisy, and take her for a small walk around our neighbourhood.
Back from lunch, feeling refreshed, and I’m ready to have a sync with my squad. I’m currently iterating my designs based on user feedback in collaboration with the squad’s Product Manager, Product Owner and Architect. I share some insights from this morning’s customer call.
We’ve done a lot of interviews with customers and internal stakeholders during this quarter for our Cloud Migration product, so we have a lot to talk about and discuss in this meeting.
No meetings in the afternoon means it’s time to design!
When I get a block of free time in my calendar, I like to schedule focus time to brainstorm new ideas, explore new concepts, check out design trends, change designs based on user feedback from our Preview Program, or get some tasks ready for user testing.
It’s fun to unleash my creative side with coming up with new designs, everything is possible when it comes to new ideas! I also picked up a new book that a colleague shared with our team, so I’ll use some of this time to explore some ideas and concepts for user testing.
Daisy gets in on the action, she’s a Goatpath team member in training!
I get a message on teams from one of the other Product Designers who want to use me as a tester on one of the features they are working on. I give them a call and they explain the task. They share a link to the design they need tested, I perform the task, and we’re done. Sometimes we need to quickly test our design ideas and iterate if they’re not usable or easy to understand! We’ll often reach out to our internal users to seek their help with testing and improve our designs based on their feedback. There is always something new to learn with every test we perform!
Today was a busier than normal Monday, but a productive one. It’s coming close to the end of the quarter and things ramp up during this time to meet project deadlines and plan for the next quarter. I’m hoping my new book will allow me to bring some new testing ideas to my team, they’re always open to trying out new things!
The first thing I do after work is prep the dinner. I like to use an app called ‘Tasty’ to try out new recipes (they don’t always go down well!). I’ll give Daisy her dinner at the same time as us to stop her barking and make her feel included, and then I’ll take her for a walk around our neighbourhood.
Time to wrap up the day with some Netflix and do it all again tomorrow!