Meet Cody, UX lead at Rexlabs

Chelsea Tang
Meet the Designers of Brisbane
6 min readSep 4, 2019


Knowing Cody was a total coincidence :). At a meetup I attended a while ago, Attract’s co-founder — Ben introduced the product they’re working on, I was impressed by the clean and compelling design at that time. Yes, Cody was exactly the designer behind Attract, so I spied on his website and reached out to him on Linkedin. He is currently working as a UX lead at Rexlabs.

Check more of his work here

How did you get into design and what’s your background?

I studied architectural design at university and graphic design was a hobby on the side. At that time, I was really interested in desktop customisation — making skins for applications and that sort of thing. I ended up building a few iPhone themes which reached reasonable popularity in the jailbreak community.

By the time I graduated, unfortunately, there were pretty low job prospects. After failing to land an internship in architecture, I decided to instead focus on developing my iPhone themes and learning to code. I took some online courses — mostly web development, but also some basic design principles and a bit of Objective C (which I promptly forgot).

After about six months I thought I’d try to see if I could pursue a career in design. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for — something like web design; I liked the design side as well as the coding side. I took an internship at an agency before moving to product work at a startup. I’ve been working in product ever since.

What does Rexlabs do and what’s your responsibility as a product designer at Rexlabs?

Rexlabs is a product house focusing on real estate and financial tech. We have about five different products at the moment. I’m the UX lead for our main product, Rex, a real estate CRM. Rex is our first and largest product and has a pretty astounding depth of functionality.

Product designers in the Rex team take customer problems and deliver a solution that fits into the Rex product. This can take the form of a new feature, or improvements to existing features. In my role, I also work with a team to help maintain good UX practices in our product, as well as internal projects like our new design system and improving our processes.

How do you collaborate with other disciplines at Rexlabs when serving for an entire product cycle?

We have a range of teams at Rexlabs — design, dev, support, sales, operations etc. Every team has a different cross over with our products and customers and so during our design process we often seek out insights from these other teams. Developers can help us understand technical requirements or limitations, support has a deep understanding of the pain points of our customers, sales knows what our customers want. We involve other teams in our research process just as we involve our customers.

How does Rexlabs engage user research into the design process? Does Rexlabs have user researcher?

Product designers conduct their own user research at Rexlabs. Which methods we use really depends on the project — the size and scope etc. We can go internally and talk to our support or sales teams, or we can go to the customers themselves. We often do calls with our customers, or we will head out and do a site visit. Depending on the project we will also engage different customer types — for real estate that could be principles, financial officers, sales agents, or admin staff — because they all use different segments of our product.

Which project inspired you most or taught you most in your past design career?

Earlier on, one of my first enriching experiences was when developing my iPhone themes. The community is really passionate and involved, so I learned a lot around managing customers, collecting and fixing bugs or other issues, and user testing as well as user contributed content. Publishing directly to the customer means there isn’t much of a barrier between them and yourself — so user insights can be easily accessed.

Here’s a screenshot of Cody’s website. Check more of his work here

I also picked up a lot of hard skills from my first internship. Working alongside other designers can really help you pick up keyboard shortcuts.

What’s your biggest frustration at your early stage of design career?

It can be difficult working as a designer in an environment that isn’t design led. This can really make it difficult to follow good process — for example where time is not allocated for user research or proper problem definition.

What’s your biggest frustration as a designer at the moment if there’s any?

Right now I’m frustrated with design tooling. I feel like we are very close to a better design, prototyping, and testing tool set — something better integrated with the development environment. There are some tools out there that are close (like Framer X and using React components) but nothing has nailed it just yet.

What we want at Rexlabs is to have shared components between designers and developers. Currently designers are working with components in Sketch libraries, and developers have components they have built in React. They’re completely separate. Ideally, we could converge these together and have a shared component set and a single source of truth.

Would you recommend designers to code?

I think it’s a valuable skill to have as a designer — even if you aren’t coding day-to-day. Particularly for web, it can give you a deeper understanding of the platform you are designing for. You’ll better understand behaviours, limitations, or accessibility standards. You’ll also shortcut a lot of back-and-forth when handing over to dev. Otherwise it can be easy to design something (animations and transitions in particular) that just won’t work well on the web, or may take too long to build. Plus coding is fun, give it a go.

How do you make sure design is developed properly?

A good design system can help with that. Reusable components and patterns that both design and development can follow. These really help reduce pixel pushing and miscommunications around functionality.

We use a component library for the current version of Rex, and we make sure to build new features using existing patterns. Not only does this mean faster development times, it also means consistent interactions for our user base.

Are there any design tricks you would like to share with aspiring designers?

Don’t get too attached to your work — design should be iterative and sometimes that means taking on feedback or learnings and revisiting your approach.

🔥 🔥 🔥Wanna share your design stories or interested in the “Meeting the Designers at Brisbane”? Don’t be shy and drop me a line on Linkedin.

👩🏻 👩🏻 👩🏻 Who’s behind “Meeting the Designers at Brisbane”?

Hey, My name is Chelsea. The person behind “Meeting the designer at Brisbane”. I came to Australia one and a half year ago. I landed at Canberra first and stayed there for about 5 months. Later on, I got a UI/UX design gig from NetEngine at Brisbane. Hooray!

While I’m staying at Brisbane, I’m always as keen as mustard to attend different design meetups and chat with other like-minded people in the community. I also want to dive into the cool design stories behind different industries. Within the limited networking time, I found it’s tricky to systemically know more about those amazing designers.

So that’s sort of why I came to start reaching out to some great and nice designers with different disciplines across the various industries at Brisbane.