Photo by Jose Silva from Burst.

How to think about your career path as a UXer at Shopify

Near the end of 2018, Shopify introduced a formal job levels framework that set forth two parallel growth tracks: the individual contributor (IC) track, also known as the staff track, and the manager track. Prior to that point, Shopify did have a loosely defined “technical” track to complement the better-established manager track, but there had always been questions around what that role entailed and what a long-term career trajectory in that direction might look like. For example, could someone on the technical track one day become a director? …

Photo by Rachel on Unsplash.

A comprehensive playbook on how to review user research plans, sessions, and reports (including your own)

Over the past few years, I’ve spent quite a bit of my time giving other researchers feedback on their work. In fact, if you were to ask my lead, he’d tell you I’ve spent entirely too much time reviewing other people’s studies. Every once in awhile though, he’d nudge me to think of offloading some of that work onto others on my team. To pass the torch in a way, by teaching someone else those skills and moving on to new challenges myself.

Though I heard (and agreed) with what he said, I didn’t act on his suggestion. True enough…

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For those still wondering whether taking all that time to chat is really worth it

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the people who once told me that they’ve never had recurring 1:1s, and didn’t understand why they needed them. I’ve been thinking about the people I know who only ever have the occasional 1:1, and struggle with a general lack of support at work. I’ve been thinking about those who do have regular 1:1s, but hate them. I’ve been reading about how some people don’t understand the purpose of 1:1s, in an age where tools like Slack keep us in constant communication with one another. And I’ve been meeting people who are shocked to learn…

And what that means for UX researchers

I think about privilege a lot. I’m guessing it’s safe to say that many of us do: the expression to “check one’s privilege” has shaped a lot of public discourse over the past few years, and not without controversy.

I often find myself going back to a story a friend of mine told me several years ago. We were chatting about privilege (at a bachelorette party, no less), when she mentioned that it had come up during a university class she was teaching. A student raised his hand to make the case that…

Like it was our job. (Literally.)

During Shopify’s quarterly Hack Days, employees get the chance to work on whatever they want, even if that means wandering around the neighborhood and eating all the food.

Or how to respond when someone says: “Oh you’re a UX researcher! Wait, so what do you do exactly?”

A little while ago, a fellow user researcher on my team received some pretty intriguing feedback from a participant who was tired of feeling like part of a ‘crowd sourced’ software solution:

“I realize people are happier if they have the perception of choice, but I don’t like to feel I’m part of a psychological experiment.”

Later, the participant further revealed that:

“I just don’t believe any company actually wants to make my life better so much as they want me to think that they do. What they really want is to make sure I keep writing the cheques.”


Dalia El-Shimy

Senior UX Research Lead@Shopify, human woman, <insert random quirky fact here>.

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