Meet The Team - Design & Research.
We spoke with Marlene Schufferth, Product Design Lead, and she told us all about expansion within the Product & Design team, recent learnings and how they live our core values everyday.
Last year I went on a talent hunt around the world to hire members for our growing Design & Research team at GetYourGuide. After months of reviewing tons of inspiring portfolios and countless hours of interviews, I am happy and proud to welcome the design team’s newest additions:
- Mallika, Product Designer from Thailand
- Paul, Product Designer from the Netherlands
- Tamara, User Researcher from Argentina
This makes us a multi-culti team of 4 for now:
As a Designer at GetYourGuide, you are just as much a member of your cross-functional mission team, as you are a member of the Design team. Mallika, Paul and Tamara all work within dedicated mission teams to launch features and improvements that help turn our customers’ trips into amazing experiences.
The Mission Team
Working along side them towards the same mission are a Product Manager, Engineers, a Researcher, an Analysts and a Copywriter. This diverse mix of backgrounds ensures that all important disciplines are involved in feature discussions right from the beginning. Everyone contributes their part of the problem understanding as well as their solution. Yet, we aim for our teams to be small enough to be fed by 2 pizzas (thank you Jeff Bezos for this rule). This way, they can all fit on 1 aisle, look at each others screen and discuss things directly without much overhead.
We currently have 4 mission teams at GetYourGuide, all focusing on different parts of the customer journey: from serving you relevant and personalised content when you land, to helping you make the right decision, to ultimately guiding you to your activity. Although each team looks at different metrics to evaluate the success of the work they launch, their work is united by 2 key success indicators: did the customer find what was relevant and booked? Was the customer happy with the experience and returned?
The Design Team
All Designers meet on a weekly basis for show and tells. During these sessions we share learnings from the features we work on as well as align on component designs and style guide changes. Besides these formal meetings, we love to collaborate as much as possible across the teams. If you are working through a hard concept or are simply stuck, there is always a design peer you can call over for a quick collaboration or a second opinion.
Collaboration is not just a nice perk, it is essential in improving yourself as a Designer or member of a product team. The more often and comfortable we are in walking peers through our thinking, the more we ensure, that we are not getting too hung up on 1 solution as well as that the hypothesis behind the solution is really solid.
A day in the life
A typical day of a Product Designer at GetYourGuide is very diverse. It can consist of research, brainstormings, user testing or the visual design of new features. All of which will be ultimately launched as an a/b test. During this lifecycle of a feature, we constantly align, share insights and agree on the next steps as a team. As a designer you might also help writing hypothesis, fleshing out tickets or analyzing tests.
Above all, each day should bear some learning for you. Either from quantitative data through tests or some qualitative feedback from users. At GetYourGuide we know that our gut feeling and opinion is not necessarily that of the customer. Testing your assumptions helps you to constantly readjust your customer understanding and check your ego at the door. One of our principles is to embrace failure as much as success as both hold great learnings. Therefore we encourage teams to be bold and constantly challenge their assumptions and solutions.
As our only Researcher at the moment, Tamara is jumping between the different mission teams, enabling them to answer their burning questions with real user feedback. This includes figuring out the best test method to get the right answer, e.g. card sorting, 5 second testing or in-house usability testing. Sometimes it might also just include mapping out the customer journey together with the team, so they can identify gaps or big turn-off points, as well as judge the feature they work on in the context of the whole experience.
If you have visited our career page or followed our blog for a while, you might be familiar with our company’s core values
It might not come as a surprise that we cherish the same values inside the Design team. Here is how we live them on a daily basis:
One of the most important values across the whole company is learning. We know that we can only grow as Designers and Product thinkers if we learn from every feature we launch. We learn through customer feedback or data. This helps us readjust our understanding and points us towards where to go next. Embracing the fact that your opinion is just a starting point, but not the source of truth makes for a very humble and curious Designer. It avoids clinging on to 1 solution but has us follow where the customers’ voices lead us.
Coming from an agency environment myself, this was the biggest challenge and reward working inside a product company.
In addition to constantly learning and readjusting our course, there are also times when we want to commit and pursue a bigger vision or the things we strongly believe in as a team.
This means e.g. not giving up when the first test fails but iterating until you get the desired result or insight. It can also mean sequencing a list of small improvements in order to get to that bigger picture or just taking that big leap of faith of a complete redesign or new feature. As long as the whole team is committed to making it work or learning from it, it will always be worth the investment.
Clarity for Design starts with asking lots of "W" questions. Why is this a customer problem? Who is affected by it? How is this solution going to create value? How can we measure this? What questions can we ask customers to validate our assumption?
All these questions lead into formulating a strong hypothesis that is the fundament to align everyone in the team. This happens on feature level and translates all the way up to the quarterly mission level. Why are we focusing on this, this quarter? What value will we create for our customers? How much will this affect the business growth?
Having clarity around all of these questions will help you as a Designer to make informed decisions as well as question a direction or solution if needed.
I strongly believe if what you do every day isn’t bringing you joy, you won’t be able to do a good job. Part of that joy is influenced by your work environment and conditions, part of it is up to you as a person. At GetYourGuide, we believe you choose your attitude when you enter the office. Choosing positivity for us means, not giving up or getting discouraged if things are not the way you planned. It means getting up after a failure quickly and simply learning from it. It means pointing out problems but thinking of solutions at the same time. It means giving praise as much as critique. It also means stepping back once in a while and appreciating that what we do it pretty awesome because we are touching a customer's life during a very special time, their vacation.
The great thing about our product is that pretty much every GetYourGuide employee can relate to it, as we all love to travel. Being united through this shared passion, creates a community of very diverse yet like-minded people. At the same time we also share this passion with our customers, which makes us very empathetic towards what they are going through and the struggles they have. Solutions we create as Designers impact and improve the lives of a million travellers. As we launch tests almost daily, you have almost immediate feedback whether or not your Design worked. If this doesn’t get you fired up every morning, I don’t know what would. :)
At GetYourGuide we are united in the mission to help travellers create memories that last a lifetime. We all value experiences over possessions. This is not just a mindset inside our company but a global trend. Recent reports show that people spent more on travel and eating out than they do on property or furniture.
Who travels together, stays together
Speaking about the wonder of travel and walking in our customers’ shoes, one of the biggest perks of working at GetYourGuide is definitely that we get to travel to our top destinations and experience our activities first hand. Sharing these experiences helps us understand how the part we might be working on at the moment ties into the whole customer journey as well as the context that our customers are in. Do they suffer from bad connection, a lack of signage or simply the language barrier?
On our most recent trip with the Design team, we went to Rome for 24h to experience our 2 top activities, Colosseum and Vatican City, first hand. Besides enjoying great views, rich history and delicious pasta, we collected a lot of valuable observations. Back in the office we translated them into a customer journey map and helped the teams get a more complete picture of the customer high and low points during the journey.
Join the party
We are constantly growing the Design team, so if you can identify with how we work and how we think, check out our open positions.
We are looking for Designers who are curious, humble and pro-active, with great visual and interaction design skills as well as a hunger to learn from data and people.