A day in the life of a UX Designer

Hi there 👋, my name is Gonçalo, and this article will take you through a day in the life of a UX Designer at Pixelmatters.

I'm working from my home office in Lisbon, since we have a "Remote as default" work approach here at Pixelmatters, and I can't emphasize enough how much I don't miss the stressful mornings in Lisbon’s traffic. 🚘😴 However, it is great to have Pixelmatters’ office in Aliados. This allows us to come together as a team whenever we need to collaborate during my visits to Porto.

Coffee ready ☕️, computer opened. Let's start the day! 😎

Macbook, blue notebook and pencil on top of a glass table.

9:35 AM

I usually start my day by checking Slack, email, and my calendar to see what the day has in store for me. Today seems like a promising one:

A UX Designer has the opportunity to work on a wide range of project types, with tasks that can vary from day to day. These tasks may include preparing a UX Research Plan, designing wireframes, conducting usability testing sessions or even moderating user interviews.

This is one of my favorite aspects of working as a UX Designer — no two days are the same. 🙌

We are involved in various stages of product creation and we strive to bridge the gap between businesses and their users. Being the intermediary can be challenging at times, but there is nothing more rewarding than directly hearing that your product’s design is perfect according to its users needs.

10:00 AM

It's time to join Around for our morning daily with the team. 👥 During this meeting, we usually gather to update each other on our tasks for the day and discuss any blocking topics that may have arisen.

Today, we will also be addressing some feedback left by the client on Basecamp regarding our last presentation. We’ve been working on a UX Research Plan 🔍 and we’re currently finalizing the script for the upcoming User Interviews. The client has proposed some minor adjustments to be made and that’s what’s in for the day.

One important learning: I always begin any UX Research Plan by defining the Research Goals. By being aware of your goals from the start, as well as aligning them with the client, you are more likely to choose the appropriate methodology and, in this case, ask the right questions to users.

When preparing UX research methodologies/exercises, I consult as many resources as possible to determine the specific needs of my project. While previous experience plays a significant role in the process, I also refer to Medium articles, YouTube videos, specific books, and frameworks to help me identify the best approach for my research goals.

Another important learning: It is important to have some scripted questions at hand when conducting user interviews. However, if the conversation with the user is flowing, don't be afraid to deviate from the script and ask additional questions. Scripts should not be seen as a constraint.

1:12 PM

I don’t know about you, but I'm already hungry. 🙋‍♂️🍝 I guess it's time for my lunch break while I watch an episode of my current favorite series.

The usual lunch time is between 1 PM and 2 PM, but I have the flexibility to adjust it according to the schedule of the day.

2:30 PM

The weekly meeting with the client is about to start. Since my client is based in the US 🇺🇸, we typically schedule our meetings right after lunchtime in Portugal 🇵🇹, to make the most of our overlapping working hours.

It's great to have the whole team together, discussing what we're working on and planning for the upcoming week. We took some time to discuss the changes to the User Interviews’ Script, and the client seems pleased with our suggestions. We're all set and ready to proceed!

These meetings vary in length, but they are very important to ensure that the client has an active voice in our work. Despite being in different countries and time zones, the distance is not a negative factor in our projects. 🗣

three people on a videocall looking at the camera.
Gathering for the weekly client meeting.

We finished right on schedule, and I have another meeting starting. But before that, let's take a quick stretch 🤸 and water break 💧.

3:00 PM

It's 3 PM and the UX Designers of the team gather for the monthly UX Talk! During this time, we share our victories and struggles in our individual projects, exchange useful resources, offer mutual support by sharing feedback on topics we are currently working on and discuss the current state of UX in the industry and within the team.

This collaborative effort allows us to continuously improve our processes, stay informed about our peers' projects, and together contribute to the growth of the department/company in the UX area.

We also have time for a couple of jokes and to talk about how we are feeling. 🙌

Apart from UX Talks, which are a more informal gathering, rituals are a significant part of Pixelmatters' culture. Within the Design team, we have some essential ones:

Screenshot of a FigJam board on Figma showing several album covers.
Design Jam where we discussed our favorite album covers (and what draws us to them design-wise) and reflected on their evolution over the years. A team with a 🔥 music taste.

It’s not just about work, rituals are essential in creating bonds between peers and getting to know everyone better.

The UX Talk session was great, providing many insights and identifying some missing resources from the department’s internal documentation. I believe I can help with this later. Now, I'll grab a snack 🍪 and take a break. See you in a bit!

4:10 PM

It's time to focus 🧘🏼‍♂️ on making final adjustments to the User Interviews' Script.I have rewritten some of the questions and added new ones based on our research goals. Like other design tasks, preparing UX Research exercises is an iterative process, and adjustments are an important part of the process. After making the finishing touches on the script, it is time to prepare the sessions and review everything. Tomorrow is the big day when we will start interviewing our users and I can’t wait.

Two digital mockups of user interviews.

5:00 PM

The day is almost over, but there is still time for my last task of the day — updating our UX Design documentation. I created a template for a UX Research Plan as well as a User Interviews’ Script and will update our UX Design Resources. 📁 This not only helps reduce the time-consuming task of creating new documents every time, but also serves as a knowledge base for others to see what was important in our project process.

Part of being a team at Pixelmatters means sharing knowledge (just like this blog post, right?). This is very important because it helps us support each other and creates resources that our colleagues can use in their own projects.

Last important learning, I promise: by creating a shared document/resource hub within the team, we can improve efficiency and make better informed decisions in our projects. Sharing knowledge and collaborating will always result in better quality.

After a day full of work, it’s time to unwind and prepare for tomorrow. We’ll start our remote user interviewing process and I can’t wait to see what the users have in store for us! 🎉

5:53 PM

Day is over and it’s swimming time! 🏊🏻‍♂️

See you tomorrow!

Gonçalo Silva, UX Designer @ Pixelmatters

Gonçalo Silva
UX Designer