A coffee and catch up with… Zee, UX/UI Designer
Hi Zee! Can you explain your role at Street Group?
Hi! I’m Zee and I’m a user experience and user interface (UX/UI) designer at Street Group. I have been primarily working on our new CRM system, Street.co.uk, as well as being a significant contributor in the other areas of design, such as branding, marketing, website and mobile app designs. When I joined Street Group just over 2 years ago, Street was in its infancy but now it’s a fully-fledged system with all the bells and whistles.
How did you get into UX/UI?
My earliest foray into the world of UI/UX design was when I got my first iPod Touch when it was newly released. I would download any new and interesting apps to see the layout design, the user interfaces and the experiences of the apps. Though the design was all very skeuomorphic back then (where the design mimics their real-world counterparts like the calculator app looking like a calculator), I found it really fascinating. I then went on to study graphic design, but my interests always lied in designing digital interfaces and apps. I eventually built up enough experience through design agency jobs, reading books and learning online to become a full-time UX / UI designer.
What do your day to day look like?
As a designer, a regular and predictable week is rare. Being involved in many different teams allows me to work on something different any given week, but all contributing towards the overall Street.co.uk product. Generally, the day starts at 9:00 with a team standup, after which I go off and work on the project(s) I am assigned to deliver for the rest of the day. This is all sandwiched in between meetings with either the team, the product owner, our clients, and other designers within the company. I have a personal ‘no meetings on Wednesday’ rule. As we’re still working from home, I also try to get into the office on Wednesdays and just focus on design. This serves as a nice midweek break from the day to day routine of working from home.
What do you love about working for Street Group?
Having been at the company for more than 2 years, I have watched Street.co.uk grow from what was an idea into what it is now. I generally feel quite proud of what I have helped build.
The thing I love most about working at Street Group is the importance that is given to the design and the user, which is still a relatively uncommon attribute in tech companies. At Street, it’s all about understanding what the user wants, empathising with them, and using that to design the most intuitive and user-friendly experiences.
And it all pays off. The first thing people say about using Street is that it is so intuitive to use. One particular user even said: “Street is embarrassingly easy to use”
The feedback we receive validates our process, our philosophy, and also my skills as a designer.
What was your favourite project to work on and how did you help to deliver it?
One of the most user-focused projects I have helped deliver is a feature called Sales Progression. This is the stage between an offer being accepted to a property being completed and exchanged.
When we first approached this project, it seemed like an overwhelmingly big task. I thought this could be the perfect opportunity to use a Design Sprint. This is a process used by top tech companies such as Google, Twitter and even Medium aiming to solve big problems in an intensive workshop over a period of 5 days. I used the framework to condense a sprint into a single day.
To summarise how this went, we put together a band of ex-agents, the decision-makers i.e. Street founders, and myself as the designer but also the facilitator of the process. We first tackled the problems in a series of ‘how might we’ statements. So an example of this is ‘how might we provide updates to the buyer and seller’ or ‘how might we allow users to save time using Street’.
We categorised these statements into groups. Each person was then allowed to use only 3 votes on what they thought was the most important problem to solve. The limitation on votes allows the biggest problems to come to the forefront.
In the afternoon, we started to sketch ideas to solve these problems. Each person got a piece of paper and pen, and was asked to draw what they thought would be the best solution. By the end of this stage, we were presented with numerous ideas and sketches that are then voted on again.
I then took these ideas and solutions and used my experience and knowledge to design wireframes to test with the team at a later date. After some tweaking, we delivered the final design that is still in Street today.
I feel like this was one of the most successful projects in terms of the process and final design, and this has been validated by our users, who have given excellent feedback.
What are your biggest achievements?
There are many achievements that I feel proud to have been involved in, but these are some of the highlights.
Launching Street — Street was set to go out into the wild in November 2020 after secretly working on Street behind closed doors for more than a year. This was an exciting milestone for myself and the rest of the Street team. I was also lucky to be an involved member of the marketing team that helped prepare the launch event for Street. Due to Covid, we filmed a launch video presentation which would have otherwise been a live event. I also helped with the design on the new Street.co.uk website to go with the launch, as well as all the other assets such as social media posts and marketing collateral. It was an anxious moment, but the launch was a great success.
Launching my first mobile app — After many years of being fascinated with mobile apps and app design, I was finally able to deliver my first real mobile app — an app that I had designed and was built by the brains and keyboards of our resident maverick dev duo, Shaundre.
Building the Street Design System — As the Street product became bigger and bigger, we identified the need for a more efficient way to design. I then took it upon myself to design the first version of the Street Design System, a collection of commonly used components used in the system. This was a huge undertaking at the time, but the efficiency in design that it delivered after that was drastic. We recently took all the learnings from the first version to build Street Design System V.2, which is bigger, better and more robust.
What makes Street Group standout?
What stands out for me is the culture. Everybody at the company has an open and collaborative attitude and the willingness to help each other is unparalleled. The founders are also transparent and are always available and approachable, and that trickles down to all employees too. The people are what makes Street Group tick, and it’s what has enabled the company to be so successful thus far.
From a professional perspective, I have thoroughly enjoyed using the company’s learning and development fund to purchase countless books to help aid in growing as a designer in the time I have been here.
I also love the social events and company gifts that were periodically sent to everybody during lockdown. This ranged from a movie-style snack package for the Street launch event, to wine and gin tasting events. But the thing that really shows the care and consideration of the company is that as a non-drinker, I always receive a non-alcoholic version or another alternative for these events to ensure I can still be involved. And that, for me, says everything you need to know about Street Group.