An introduction to User Experience Design

Our well-established and long-standing User Experience (UX) team sits under the Commercial team. Rarely does this accomplished bunch shout about what they do or how they do it; as part of our  ‘Insights from the Commercial team’ series, Head of UX, Peter Lambert, gives you a a glimpse behind the scenes.

What do we do?

It’s our job to ensure that the product is engaging, innovative and provides our users with a fantastic experience. We focus on developing the platform, bringing new ideas to the table and ensuring that the dating application is of a high quality

As a growing business, it’s important that we work to align business objectives and user goals, to create a product that delivers consumer satisfaction and business success.

What makes a successful UX designer?

It takes a unique mix of skills to be a good User Experience Designer. Firstly, the job requires an understanding of human psychology and the ability to empathise with the user. A key part of any project is pinning down why users behave the way they do. Once you’ve got a handle on that, you can create a good hypothesis to enable you to adapt user experience to best suit the needs of your audience. In addition, knowledge of the basic principles of graphic design (layout, colour and typography) is vital.

A User Experience designer’s job is to sit at an intersection between the business, its users and its technology. We bring together all areas together in our product workshops, which are held at the beginning of every project; so mediation skills are a must.

A blend of Partner Account Managers, Customer Care Executives, Engineers and Project Managers have the opportunity to put forward their ideas for each project, but this isn’t just a case of handing them a blank piece of paper and demanding a list of suggestions! We use a range of creative thinking and ideation techniques to extract, validate and prioritise ideas from the participants in these fun and insightful sessions.

What does a typical day look like in User Experience Design?

As the Head of UX, I typically start the day by catching up on emails and writing my to-do list for the day. The team will then hold a scrum or stand-up where we’ll discuss the progress of the projects we’re currently working on, next to our large whiteboard – a hub of mind maps, ideas, sketches, research and mock-ups.

I will usually be involved in a number of project or team meetings, spent discussing the finer details of a current project or planning for the future. During the early stages of a project, we also hold stakeholder interviews, workshops and conceptualisation sessions to gather objectives and to develop ideas.

UX Collage

Our Thinking Wall and Product Workshops.

Favourite Tools

On any one day, the User Experience Design team work with dozens of different tools. From prototyping software, to chat rooms and communication tools, my favourites include:

Thinking Wall – A new addition to our office space but something we couldn’t live without. The Thinking Wall dominates a large space at the back of our office. It allows us to quickly map out ideas, by sketching them across the wall and pinning up snippets of research, and mockups, as the product solution grows.

Creative Suite – Adobe’s suite of products are used every day, mostly for producing final designs but also for quickly developing ideas as mockups and wireframes.
Textmate – Both Textmate and Sublime are the text editors of choice amongst the UX designers and developers at Global Personals. The bundles are excellent and cover pretty much anything you might require.
Virtual Box – We run our entire development stack as a pre-packaged virtual machine, allowing us to get started quickly with minimal fuss.
Omnigraffle – This is less of a mainstay across the team but still a favourite of mine. Omnigraffle is an excellent wireframing and diagramming tool and with plenty of device specific templates available, it’s quick and easy to mock-up an idea.

What’s coming up

The User Experience and Development teams are working hard on some new product enhancements that you will start to see appearing over the coming months. We’re very excited about these changes; there’ll be some new features and some key improvements to our existing core functionality.

The life of a UX designer at Global Personals is extremely varied and it’s a really interesting role with challenging problems to solve and ambitious goals to meet. It’s a challenge we love and we hope you like the solutions that we’re developing. Watch this space for some in depth commentaries on our new features, how they work and how we arrived at the solution!

Our team is constantly expanding. If you’re looking for a User Experience job and think you could be the newest addition to our team, take a look at our latest vacancies.


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