From Neopets to hypothesis-driven development, the challenges of working with data to the power of humor – Sonja talks about her work as a UX designer with SpareBank 1.
3 min read
By Sonja Sarah Porter
December 8, 2022
If you were a middle-school girl in the midwest United States during the marvelous 2000s there was only one thing that really mattered: Neopets. With each of these digital pets you got a ✨webpage✨ that you could customize with HTML, CSS and the illustrations you mashed together in Gimp (or a bootleg version of Photoshop if you were lucky). Hour after hour of customizing these pixel-perfect masterpieces finally convinced my mother that I would not, in fact, go into actuarial science – but instead pursue my true calling: DESIGN.
A decade or so plus five years of university later, I dropped the CSS and instead focused on understanding users, defining functionality and continuously developing digital products and services as a UX Designer.
This past year and a half I have been working with SpareBank 1, most recently on a team that aims to create a better digital onboarding experience for new banking customers.
I almost don’t dare to say it, but this is one of the best teams I’ve been on... and I’ve done some thinking recently as to why. First and foremost: we have a very clear mission and mandate. Our team was created specifically to address one of the main points of the organization's strategy – meaning we don’t have to fight for time to focus on that goal. Our core outcomes are already a priority in the organization making it very thankful work. In addition we have two product-minded UX designers plus a dedicated Product Owner on the team, giving us enough capacity and community to have the important conversations about what our goals are, what that means for our team’s backlog, and the real, time consuming work that is weaving that goal and identity into our team’s culture.
Another thing that makes this team a joy to work on is the whole team's enthusiasm for hypothesis/learning driven product development. There is a real drive to measure and document our progress, which is very motivating.
Not to say that we don’t have our challenges. SpareBank 1 is a large organization with many passionate and talented people which, while mostly positive, also demands that many hours of the day go towards synchronizing our efforts and getting people on board. In addition, though many product teams at SpareBank 1 love to measure their progress, many of the key results we need to see weekly are not continuously available to us. Yet 😉. Also, working with data and quantitative measurements is hard. While we are having fun and doing our best setting up measurements and analyzing the results, we could definitely use a person closer to the team who could run larger analyses and spot a statistical significance when they saw it…
Sometimes, humor can be the key to addressing conflict and actually push to change behavior without escalating the situation. See the miming traffic cops of Bogota.
"Design tip of the day" (🇳🇴: Dagens designtips) is a series of articles where designers from Bekk talk about the work they do, challenges they meet at work and maybe a tip or two.