This ‘Day in the life of’ series gives you an insight into what a typical day looks like for our women in Tech at ASOS (hint: there isn’t one) and how they started their careers. Hopefully, you take something inspirational away from it.
This one’s about Jenni M who’s a Senior UX / UI Designer.
My alarm clock goes off…
at 7.10am — I snooze it once, so I get out of bed at 7.19am. My mornings are generally very similar. I’ll shower, get breakfast and go. I’m out the door between 8–8.03am. It’s all very precise.
My commute to work…
I cycle to Camden, so depending on the weather it can be very different. It’s about 8km, which is great if it’s not raining or sub-zero temperatures.
I’m responsible for…
Well, our team is responsible for designing how the website and apps work. We talk to customers and make sure we can make the experience of shopping on ASOS as efficient, easy to use and functional as possible, so our customers can make informed choices.
I work on a project-to-project basis. It depends what stage of the project I join at, but normally I’ll conduct research with customers around what they might want from a feature point of view or problems they have using the website or app. I’ll then come up with solutions to make that problem disappear.
I got the job…
I did a really broad multimedia degree at university. I always liked computers, TV, film and media. My first foray into UX / UI / graphic design was when I wanted to learn how to make Myspace backgrounds using HTML. That’s why I went into a media degree and specialised in web design in my last year of uni. I kind of fell into digital product from there. My first job was as a Junior Product Manager in New York. I wasn’t a very organised 22-year-old, so it wasn’t my strong suit. I failed to win the visa lottery so I came to London.
I took parts of product management I liked — the UX side of things — and then did some self-teaching online, applied for a bunch of jobs and got one for a small advertising agency in London. Following that, I got hired at ASOS!
I’d actually applied to ASOS when I was leaving New York but was initially unsuccessful. A year and a half later, a recruiter got in touch and mentioned a role for an ecommerce giant — it turned out to be ASOS. I tried to play it cool and then got the job. It just goes to show you can try again and succeed.
My typical day looks like…
One of the best parts of my job is there are so many things we do, so there isn’t a typical day. No two weeks are the same, which is great.
Depending on the project needs, I could be doing anything from conducting workshops to user testing off-site with customers.
UX and UI are all based around solving customer problems, so we’re aware of things our customers find difficult to do. There are lots of pain-points you’re trying to alleviate. A workshop might involve teams getting together in one room, bringing their respective research and coming up with the best way to solve the problem.
Then we’ll create things like user personas — putting a face to our customer to delve into their needs and problems. We’ll do some sketching around potential problems, like web, iOS and android designs. As a team we’ll decide on a solution with Tech, Retail or whichever stakeholders are involved to get early buy-in. We’ll then take it away and polish it up, test it with users and make sure it works with the rest of the site as well.
Following the workshops, we’ll create a prototype that doesn’t involve any code or tech. You can make prototypes that feel like built apps these days. This allows us to take things to customers without having to get dev teams involved and get their feedback on it.
We work closely with Tech, so even though we don’t write any code, we’ll bring our proposed solutions to them to find out whether they’re technically feasible. Often, we’ll start small and break them into even smaller pieces so they’re manageable and achievable — the minimum viable product (MVP). We can come up with an MVP that Tech can deliver quickly and add and iterate on that until we hit the final experience that we had envisioned. There’s lots of back and forth with Tech on a daily basis. It’s educational for both of us and helps us work towards a common goal.
Tell us what you get up to in the evenings…
I‘ll either be illustrating or eating peanut butter from the jar. I make greetings card on the side and have a small peanut butter side kick called Two Baldies.
My most memorable moment at ASOS…
Two months after I started was the first strategy day — ASOS Assembles. We went to the Odeon in Leicester Square and I thought to myself , ‘You’re not in Kansas anymore Toto’. There were so many people and it was such a good vibe. I’m from the West of Ireland where there’s as many people who work at ASOS as from my hometown.
The second was one of the summer Fridays, me and my team went to our local pub and had a blast. We were laughing so hard and I remember thinking I’ve found a good tribe.
The best part of my job…
I get to talk to so many different teams and so many different people at ASOS that you can really learn from and who have great insights. We really don’t work in isolation. We get to talk to so many people, which is great. I wouldn’t say there isn’t a team that we’re not in touch with in some way.
My one piece of advice for aspiring women in Tech…
Don’t underestimate yourself. When I was younger, I would always second-guess myself. I would be seeking the approval of others before I’d say or send things. Women should be their own champions and believe in themselves. Remember your voice is just as valuable as anyone else’s.
Jenni Murtagh is a Senior UX/UI Designer at ASOS. She’s smiley, Irish and made of 90% peanut butter. She wants to pet your dog.