DEPT® LIFE: Senior UX Designer
Meet Lizzie, Senior UX Designer at DEPT®.
Here she shares her career journey to date and her DEPT® LIFE, delving into what it’s really like working in UX for a global digital agency.
Name: Lizzie Astles
Role: Senior UX Designer
Time at DEPT®: Five months
Years in the industry: 10
About me: I love a good holiday and I travelled to 30 countries before I turned 30!
A brief history of me
I studied Graphic Design at the University of Salford and after completing a few internships, I was convinced I was going to end up in advertising.
After graduating, I worked at a couple of small agencies as a graphic designer and then got a job at a digital agency where I had the opportunity to move into UX, working on some amazing projects for clients such as the NHS, Chelsea FC and Domino’s Pizza.
My background is mostly in designing for mobile but since being at DEPT®, I’ve been immersing myself in all things web, getting to grips with different technologies and how they work. Luckily, users are still users no matter what device they’re using, so it’s been an easy adjustment!
My career has taken a totally different path than what I expected when I was first starting out, but I love all things UX and digital and I’m excited about this next chapter at DEPT®!
My DEPT® LIFE
User experience is such a broad field and there are so many different activities we undertake as part of our role. As UX-ers, we’re heavily involved in the discovery phase for new projects, helping to shape the scope and roadmaps of digital products.
We facilitate workshops and design sprints to help us understand both the businesses and the end users that we’re designing for. We gather data through website analytics and conduct user research to inform the decisions we make. Then we move into the definition phase, producing wireframes that form the basis of the final designs to be built.
It’s a really collaborative role, we work with colleagues from across the business. We also interact a lot with our clients and even our client’s customers when we’re doing user research.
No two days are the same
Each day at DEPT® is different although there are a few constants throughout the week, I have project stand-ups every day where we all give updates on what we’re working on and make sure we’re all aligned as a team.
I also have other regular catch-ups with my line manager, the UX team and the wider UXD (user experience design) team throughout the week to discuss our projects, any upcoming work and to share any ideas or interesting things we’ve learned.
With the rest of my time, I could be doing anything from running a workshop with a client and capturing our insights in Miro to conducting some usability testing and writing up a report on our findings or putting together some estimates for upcoming work. I love the variety of my job. I could be working on a few projects at the same time, that are all at different stages, which means there’s always lots going on and to get stuck into!
Working locally and globally
The thing that initially attracted me to DEPT® was the scale of the company. It’s really exciting to be a part of a big, international agency that has amazing clients and is at the forefront of the industry, pushing the boundaries of design and technology.
I joined the company during the pandemic, so completed my onboarding largely remotely, which I’ll admit did make me nervous. I’d been at my previous job for six years so I was practically part of the furniture and I was worried that it would be tricky to get a feel for a new company without being in the office full time. But it’s been great. The onboarding experience helped me get a feel for how both the Manchester office and the wider business works, and it helps that everyone’s really welcoming. There have also been plenty of opportunities to get to know the team through the various events – DEPT® Fest was definitely a highlight!
DEPT® has everything that you’d expect from a top digital agency, beautiful city centre offices (with the best sunset views!), a well-stocked beer fridge that gets plenty of use, lots of fun events, the foosball and pool tables… but most importantly, the thing that DEPT® has, which is quite rare, is how highly the company values and prioritises ‘Happy Depsters’.
It’s not just about ensuring that the clients are happy and the projects are profitable and running smoothly, there’s a real emphasis on staff happiness and making sure we’re all supported to deliver our best work.
It’s refreshing how much DEPT® truly lives and breathes its ‘big enough to cope, small enough to care’ culture.
The Depster effect
It’s hard to just pick one thing that I love about working at DEPT®, but I’d probably say the people. I’m surrounded by lovely people who are all smashing it in their fields. They are all incredibly talented and everyone is so keen to share what they’re learning. I can’t quite believe how much I’ve learned in such a short time since being at DEPT®.
Oh, and pizza Friday of course!
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