As some of you know I am 3 weeks into my new job as a UI Designer at Fossil Group. I wanted to follow up with you guys to let you know all about my new job- the good, the bad and the ugly (just kidding- it’s not ugly). So I am going to answer some questions I’ve gotten about it.
What do you do?
I manage 4 different brands’ mobile application designs. Two of these brands have apps already published and simply need updating such as adding images of the latest devices to the assets folders or changing icons, and adding screens that follow the design patterns already set. Recently I solved a UX problem in one of the apps by creating a user story and a flow that the user takes to follow that story to its conclusion. I used Keynote to achieve this, by simply importing the screens, highlighting what the user taps and indicating the progression from one screen to another based on the path the user takes. One of the brands has preliminary designs already established but is not fully executed, and another brand I am designing the app completely from scratch. For this I am creating a couple of different “explorations” or collections of highly branded screens that highlight different alternatives that will ultimately help the brand to determine which design solutions will work best for them.
Do you code?
A lot of people mistakenly think this is a “coding” job. The answer is no, I don’t code, though knowledge of what goes in to developing a mobile app is very important in this position. For instance, It’s imperative that you make the right assets exportable. Because the copy is translated into 22 different languages, you cannot group your assets with the copy included. It’s also important that you organize the assets so the developers can find them easily, and so that different assets that will be used in the same place within the app are the exact same size and orientation and spacing. If this isn’t done correctly and there is a change in the user interface where an asset changes, the image may appear to “jump”. Another major issue is naming the assets correctly. There is no use in making all the assets the correct format if they are not named correctly and accurately. Understanding that these asset names will actually be used in the code helps you to be very careful in the way you name them. One of my projects I’m working on is coming up with a universal naming convention so that the developers can simply add the assets from a particular project and they will execute in the code perfectly (I am a long way off from completing this task!). Another issue is that when you are designing user interfaces you need to understand the limitations as well as the possibilities of what can be done in code. I am the only UI designer on my team that has mobile development experience, and I find that I am often able to give valuable insights to design problems.
What’s your day like?
I go into the office Monday-Friday from about 7-4pm, (because I’m a contractor I must work 40 hours a week, but it is a bit flexible, as long as I attend meetings). I have my own cubicle with a company laptop, monitor and phone. I use Trello to keep track of what tasks I need to accomplish that day. All the projects are designed in Sketch. The UI/UX team has a quick stand up meeting every morning to get updates and report on the progress of our current tasks. There might be a few other meetings in the morning or afternoon with either the entire Connected Devices team, or with a specific brand manager and brand team. Our team uses google hangouts to quickly communicate as well as inVision synced with google drive to stay on the same page with the developers in Vietnam.
How do you like it?
Fossil is a cool environment with a Starbucks and cafeteria and lots of other seasonal events going on, but because I am hourly I try to only take a half an hour lunch break so often don’t have time to enjoy the amenities. Everyone is very friendly and it is exciting to be around creative types from the fashion side of the house as well as developers from the tech side of the house. I like to think that I’m somewhere in between! I work closely with my supervisor who is the main UX designer as well as the 2 other UI designers on the team. Sometimes we give each other feedback or explain something to one another. When coming up with designs there is a long process of creating the initial design, getting supervisor approval, brand approval, and development approval. If one level of the approval process doesn’t go through you pretty much have to start over! This can be a tricky situation as deadlines approach as often the process can be held up when waiting for feedback. This is when you have to multitask and quickly shift to a different task that you can get done. Sometimes when dealing with managing a multitude of projects, files, screens and assets the work can seem to be of a more administrative than design nature. It’s kind of like how when a rockstar isn’t on stage they’re riding in their tour bus from point A to point B (it’s just a less glamorous part of the job!)
That pretty much sums up my new job for now! If you have any questions for me feel free to ask!