A day in the life of a Zego UX Designer: Nick Gill
Written by Millie Paine
At Zego, we love putting the spotlight on the people who make our product amazing. This week, we chatted to UX Designer Nick Gill about his (conventionally) unconventional career history and the joy of figuring out what makes our users tick.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role here at Zego?
I’m Nick, and I’m a UX Designer at Zego. I’m currently the first and only UX specialist, but we’re in the process of recruiting and growing the design team right now.
My job is made up of two main areas: user research and experience design. The research side of things involves both user interviews and quantitative data to better understand our customers, identifying any gaps where our products aren’t delivering, validating/invalidating hypotheses, and finding where we can add value to our existing products. The design aspect is then taking these learnings and creating experiences which solve a problem.
I come from a pretty varied background - I studied Politics at university and throughout my career I’ve been a copywriter, account manager and a recruitment consultant before moving into UX. It sounds a bit strange, but the career change into UX seems fairly common from designers I’ve met.
Starting from when you get into the office each morning, what does a typical day look like for you?
First things first, coffee. We have an amazing kitchen at Zego, great coffee (and unlimited cereal) to keep you going. Once I’m properly caffeinated, I’ll run through the team’s board and catch any updates to tickets, check in on news from our Product Managers across the business, then join the tech standup for the team I’m working with right now.
After that, right now there’s a focus planning or conducting research, designing prototypes for functional updates and testing them out. Work is pretty fast paced to try and meet user needs as quickly and efficiently as possible. I also spend quite a bit of time trying to build my knowledge of wider operational problems across the business to find solutions in design.
I’ve recently been working on optimising the quoting form on our website, figuring out how we can make the process as easy as possible for our users, while still getting the information we need to provide the right product.
What’s your favourite part of the day?
Whenever I get to learn new things from collaborating with different people - I really love that side of my job. It’s interesting to get involved with teams that aren’t directly related to what I’m working on right now, and learning something that gives me a different perspective or helps to frame what we’re making.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I really enjoy interviewing customers and talking to our users. Sometimes it’s like there's a layer of mystery around what they think and how they’d behave in a certain situation, and I always want to understand that better and remove any room for speculation on important questions. I also find it fascinating in general - people always manage to surprise you!
What would you say is the biggest challenge you face in your day-to-day work? How do you resolve it?
Sometimes the biggest challenge is uncovering knowledge that’s within the business but is hidden in the heads of different people. We’re a really fast-growing company and there’s a lot of expertise in our teams, so it’s important to understand who originally worked on what and the decisions behind it before you throw changes in.
The main way to combat this is through communication - being a start-up, we embrace change (because it happens a lot) and find new ways to spread knowledge across teams.
I think it’s vital to keep visibility on what I’m working on, or planning to explore, so that you can get access to the spontaneous input of others. It’s also important to spread yourself around the company and not be too limited in who you talk to - there’s always something useful to learn by getting away from your desk.
What opportunities for learning and development do you have at Zego?
Most of the learning opportunities I get come from day-to-day challenges - we have a lot of interesting problems to solve. You’re in the deep end in an environment where things move at a fast pace, and that really pushes you to keep up and get ahead of what we need. Alongside that, you’re surrounded by very smart people who are always willing to share what they know and give you some of their time.
The company will treat you like you’re an expert - your opinion is always taken seriously, and you’ll get pulled into more and more projects because people value what you do. It’s great knowing you won’t just get pigeon-holed, and there are lots of opportunities to expand your skill-set and knowledge here.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m pretty nerdy. There’s the usual stuff like gaming, but I’m also really into 3D printing in my free time. I have a couple of 3D printers at home, I quite like it as a learning challenge - when something goes wrong, you have to try and pinpoint the exact variable that caused it. I find it really fascinating.
What’s the social side of Zego like?
The team’s great - everyone’s happy to grab a beer, and we have a nice mix of scheduled and spontaneous events. There’s always something interesting going on here; I managed to win an award for decorating a cupcake badly in my second week, which was pretty weird at the time but now it’s just part of life at Zego.
Finally, what’s your favourite thing about working here, and why?
Definitely the culture. It’s amazing for a business that has grown this fast, and it’s something that I think is always hard for a company to get right. Zego really pays attention to its culture, and has managed to grow a company and scale the culture alongside it.
People here thrive on challenge and grow with change. Everyone is working towards the same outcome, it’s genuinely a really satisfying and rewarding place to work.