Day in the Life

A Day in the Life: UX Designer

For our Day in the Life series, we look at the daily work habits, schedules and routines from people in a variety of roles and careers around the world.

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Joanna Grygierczyk, Senior UX & UI Designer

Joanna Grygierczyk is a Senior UX & UI Designer at Bilue, a mobile and emerging technology company, based in Sydney and Melbourne.

As a product designer my role is split between User Experience (UX) and User interface Design (UI). A project is usually run in a two week sprint cycle where you have set tasks to complete.

No two days are the same. Some days I’ll find myself wireframing, recruiting users for testing and on the street asking customers for insights, creating design systems and transposing that into visual design or prototyping interactions.

The work is always produced within a team and we bounce ideas when ever we feel blocked. We have talented developers who are always helping to push the boundaries in technology which makes the role so exciting and cutting edge.

A typical day for me starts at 5.45am when I wake to the alarm signalling time roll out of bed and into the gym. I rarely miss a day as I find it gives me energy and a positive start.

I follow up with a nourishing Instagramable green smoothie. Once at work I’ll have a look at any outstanding task I might have on Jira and prioritise what I need to focus on for the day.

11am is our daily stand-up and we go through updates from the day before and discus any blockers which might sometimes change priorities, but that’s the beauty of an agile workflow. It keeps things interesting.

Throughout the day I’ll collaborate with the art director, fellow user experience designers, developers and with the stakeholders whether it be workshops, or just a tap on the shoulder to ask for someone else’s thoughts.

On Fridays we have breakfast provided alongside a showcase where a team member will share knowledge on a project – this can be insightful and helpful in learning ways others approach and resolve problems.

Sam Perryman, UX, UI & Product Designer

Sam Perryman is a UX, UI and Product Designer, currently working as a UX/UI Designer Consultant at Hypothesis, a digital company focused on designing, delivering and entrenching human-centric technology solutions and agile environments.

I’m a morning person so I’m usually up by about 5:30 am and will make my way to CrossFit (yes, I do CrossFit).

I prefer to go first thing in the morning because it sets me up well for the day and I feel like I’ve already accomplished something before I get to work. Then I jump back home and get out of the door as quickly as I can.

I usually try to grab a coffee on the way into the office and spend a few minutes just sitting with the coffee and being still or reading for a bit. I love when there’s not many in the office and it’s quiet. I’ll try work on some client work or if I have nothing on I’ll try learn something – right now I’m learning to code.

As the team filter in I’ll switch over to work for Hypothesis. Every day is a little different. Sometimes it’ll be travelling as our client is interstate, sometimes running workshops with our stakeholders, though at the moment it’s a lot of UI work and user testing because we’re in delivery at the moment.

Post-work unless I’ve got client work, I’ll try relax and defrag from the day do some cooking and meal prep for the next day. But there’s also a lot of Netflix.

Kristy Donaldson, Product UX Designer at Binge

Kristy Donaldson is a freelance product designer, currently working as a product UX designer for Australian streaming services, Binge.

Typically, I will do some form of exercise be it, surfing, yoga or a morning run and then take a long commute from the Northern Beaches to the office for an 8:30-9:00 am start. With COVID hitting, however, I have more time on my hands. 

This has allowed me to get my exercise in at the same time and start work a little earlier due to a long list of jobs to be done in the lead up to launching Binge.

Throughout my day working remotely, I constantly engage with my peers through Slack and Zoom as well as have all Android, iOS, TVOS and Roku TV devices at the ready to check all the work that developers have been doing.

Lunch calls and I always try and take a break from the screen as my eyes cannot handle looking at devices all day long. Being present at lunch is super important for my mental health as well as for my focus in the afternoons.

My workday typically ends around 6 for family time and my time. As I often rise pretty early, I am in bed early as well. Sleep and repeat.

Nick Doherty, Senior Designer at Atlassian

Nick Doherty is a Senior Designer at enterprise collaboration software company, Atlassian, where he works on the Growth team.

I’ve had three career phases. After uni I worked in the music industry for 10 years, then I moved to Australia and worked in TV with public sector broadcasters and a startup. I’ve now been in Tech for around 6 years.

I started out as a journo but moved progressively more into online and digital, learning harder skills all the time including the basics of full stack coding. I’m now a software designer (UI/UX) for Atlassian’s Growth team which is an amazing job utilising pretty much all I’ve learned and demanding new skill acquisition constantly.

When it comes to my routine, I’m always in a peak or a trough with how well I’m going. I don’t know why, but that’s how it is. When I’m on top of stuff I’ll exercise before work, see my kids and partner briefly, then get an early commute.

I protect my calendar like crazy and ensure any meetings are condensed into a block of at most a few hours so I get a decent run of uninterrupted design time. In that time I might be doing customer research, or working with our analyst to understand opportunity data, or documenting a design approach for stakeholders – and if I’m lucky I might get to open Sketch and do some UI.

I leave the office at 5pm to get home for 6pm and do the kids’ bath and stories, then we’ll typically have dinner and watch a show to unwind.

Nadia Udalova, UX Team Leader at XebiaLabs

Nadia Udalova is the UX Team Leader at XebiaLabs, an enterprise-scale Continuous Delivery & DevOps software provider, where she is currently leading a team of UX professionals.

Usually it’s a busy day. I wake up at 6 AM, and my day starts with healthy breakfast and a walk with my dog (best way to wake up!).

I arrive to office by 8:00-8:30 AM (I need to travel around 35 km from my home to office by train). I start my office day by having a cup of rooibos tea while checking email and design community chats, searching for interesting news and inspiring articles!

Starting from 9AM my team arrives to the office and we spend some time catching up on some personal news – I find that very important, as it helps keeping great connections at work.

Time from there and till 5 PM passes by very fast and is filled with stand-ups with Development teams, meetings with Product Managers or POs, talking and working with designers on my team, management and other folks.

I take a break of 30 minutes for lunch (never eat behind my computer) and sometimes trying to do a quick walk after.

My journey back home starts at 5PM, where I first walk my dog (last thing I do before leaving home and first thing I do upon arrival). Those who want to get a dog – think twice!

After the dog is walked and happy – I have a dinner/snack and go to gym. On day when there is no gym – I am getting busy with work for design communities or just having rest. I am in bed by 23:00 to be ready to get up at 6 AM again.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.