Ever wondered what a typical workday looks like for a Tori Product Designer at Schibsted Finland? Join us as we dive into the fascinating world of a day in the life of one of our designers, Iida-Sofia Peltonen. Take a look at our interview with her below to find out her daily tasks, how she prioritizes them, and what she is passionate about in her job!
Can you tell me about your job and what you’re responsible for?
I’m a product designer and I am responsible for the user experience in Tori mobile applications. I’m responsible for the user experience, so it’s not only that I’m designing the user interface, but seeing the bigger picture as well.
So in practice, I try to figure out what kind of problems we have in our app and which are more important than the others, helping the team to decide which problems we should start solving and how to solve them. I’m also responsible for understanding what’s happening in other parts of Tori by having a tight collaboration with other Tori designers to make sure that we are developing coherent products instead of doing differently for apps and web.
Can you walk me through like a typical workday in your work?
I usually come to the office before 9, have breakfast and drink coffee that our barista made meanwhile. Then I read through all the Slack messages and emails, and check the calendar. I have to spend some time reading all the messages and replying, so I try to reserve time for it. It depends on what kind of situation we have at work. Sometimes I have those weeks when I have very UI-heavy design work. But mostly I do user research, which is very different from what people usually think the design work is. I also get ad hoc questions from my teams’ developers. For example, if they are developing something that is affecting the user experience in the app, I have to be ready to answer their questions; and if they have developed something that I have designed, I will comment on their development work and we’ll try to tweak it together to make a good design.
Then I usually have quite a lot of meetings during the day, recurring meetings with the Tori team where we stay in touch and understand what everyone is doing. I also have meetings with different design teams, as we try to work tightly together so that we can make this holistic Tori experience together. Then we also have this Nordic design community where we meet and have design critiques together, or just show what everyone is working with. If someone is facing the same problems, those are the moments where we can get feedback or ideas from other people.
At the end of my day, I try to plan my next day to decide which meetings I actually have to attend. Sometimes I just have to skip some meetings to get more focused time for myself. You really have to plan it well and try to decide which things are more important than the others.
How do you usually prioritize your tasks?
Well, it’s hard. I’m still trying to figure out how to do it, but I write a lot of to-do lists and change the priorities. Sometimes even every week, the priorities change. Then I also tried to mark to my calendar some focus time for each subject and tasks that I have to do. In this job, you have to be quite self-driven. Nobody’s telling you what to do, so you have to be able to prioritize your work by yourself. But sometimes I have situations when I really can’t decide what I should be focusing on. Then I would talk with other people, for example, our project manager or other Tori designers. I usually try to talk with people a lot, so it makes my job easier to prioritize.
Are there any other challenges? If they are, then how do you usually overcome them?
Tori has three designers, so we have quite a lot on our plates as there are lots of design points of view needed in different places. It’s sometimes hard to prioritize and I have to decide to put tasks on hold and not help someone at the time.
And I would say being a product designer, user experience is always a bit of a struggle. There are difficult moments coming all the time, because as a product designer you have to balance the usability, business and tech side of things. Usability and user experience are the most important things for me, but there are other needs, so I have to be making compromises almost all the time. I’m a big talker, so I try to communicate with people a lot instead of trying to solve things by myself. I’m not there alone trying to solve a big problem, sometimes other people are new to the problem and they can see it clearly and in a more objective point of view.
What is the strength that you feel is important for someone to be in your role?
I would say that empathy is quite important in many ways. When we’re doing a product for users, I really have to care about their opinions, how they are experiencing things and the problems that they are facing. Empathy is also quite handy in collaboration and communication with the other team members and other stakeholders. For example, even though I don’t understand the tech side of things that well, having empathy helps to understand developers’ struggles a bit more and compromises.
And being a designer, in theory, you have to have visual skills. Sometimes product designers don’t need to be that good at visual things, but here in Tori you have to know how to make things look good. Then maybe some kind of curiosity too. Usually if we notice that there’s some problem in our product, we have to start being curious about that problem and dig deeper. You should really be curious and just ask why all the time.
Does your team have any routines or rituals that you enjoy participating in?
We have these retro sessions. We work in a two-week sprint cycle, so every two weeks we plan the following two weeks about what we’re going to do as a team. After those two weeks, this retro session is where we think about what went well, what went bad and what we should do better. I really like those sessions and it makes our teams communicate and have much better teamwork. With the Tori design team, we also have weekly meetings where we catch up on what’s happening at everyone’s work desks, and we help each other out. It’s really good to understand what’s going on in other teams and get help from other designers, so those are really fruitful meetings. Sometimes with our Tori apps team, we just have some team days when we go to jacuzzi and sauna together and do some BBQ.
And that was the end of our interview. Stepping into the shoes of Iida-Sofia has provided a glimpse into the dynamic and fulfilling nature of her workday. The collaborative sessions and supportive discussions that she mentioned are highlights of our working culture here at Schibsted Finland. We believe that teamwork and collaboration are the foundation of success and innovation, and we take pride in our working environment that values communication, where ideas are shared, diverse perspectives are embraced and support is offered.
Stay tuned for more stories about our life at Schibsted!
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