1st of March marks my first 3 months as a Senior Manager User Experience at Vorwerk International. I jumped into this new role for the company that has been delivering top-notch devices for more than 130 years, and in the last 60 years, the best-in-class kitchen robots and vacuum cleaners. In 3 months, I have started to figure out how to deliver successful experiences related to two of the key tasks for many of us: feeding our beloved ones with delicious and healthy food and making the environment where we live healthy and clean.
As a Senior Manager User Experience at Vorwerk International, my main focus is on delivering Vorwerk’s customer’s and advisors’ successful experiences. Besides this key task, I spent my time observing, understanding and empathising with the business environment and here’s the list of the three main things I learned along the way:
How an incumbent such as Vorwerk International tries to adapt to the change
COVID-19 was an unplanned and disruptive event. I learned that this type of event could be an exciting opportunity for a company such as Vorwerk International. The new challenges and opportunities come from the change in people’s habits due to the restrictions and new ways of solving the same problems. Considering the door-to-door as the key sales strategy, the Organization quickly adapted to the changing user needs and concerns. The execution of a strategy driven by digital transformation suddenly becomes not more an option or a long-run plan, but a priority. The design practice could take an important role in this process. The way the Company measures its product’s impact on the market will also focus on design-driven KPIs, such as consistent cohabitation of interaction patterns. The whole Vorwerk experience will be shaped according to a more human-centred strategy that keeps the advisor at its heart.
How Vorwerk International looks like an organisation that understands the “People first” approach
I learned that if an organisation focuses on people, then the processes will work smoothly no matter the external environment’s complexity. Vorwerk International, according to my own experience, is one of these companies. Even with the constraints of the restrictions, my onboarding experience was smooth, fun and effective. I joined the company in the middle of the second wave of COVID-19, and I felt very welcomed by the design team and the rest of the folks since day one. I started being hands-on after a few days, thanks to the support and help of all the people around me. At the moment, I am experiencing a completely remote working experience. Even so, I feel like being part of a team and an organisation with a plan to execute. Of course, most of the credit goes to the people I have met so far and their will and curiosity to engage and work with new colleagues. At the same time, though, I have experienced an organisation’s vibes that invest in human talent, knowing that this is the secret weapon to face market challenges.
How to treat Design OPs differently. A new tool(s) to learn and work with
I have learned how counterproductive could be not to be a “tool agnostic” designer. For the first time after many years, I left my beloved SKETCH for the mysterious (to me) FIGMA. I forced myself to start the learning process from scratch and avoid any biases from my past experiences with other design tools. I left my comfort zone where I was super responsive in setting up projects, delivering design assets and sharing flagship screens and prototypes. I have to be honest; so far, it has been a tough exercise. I started interacting with FIGMA looking for the best practices for each specific step of the design process. I asked my colleagues about their workflow and approach to unleash the tool’s full potential.
After 3 months, I can provide visuals with an acceptable level of quality. I can also run prototypes to pick the brain of my stakeholders. I am still wondering how, in the future, as a team, we could rely on FIGMA to build a risk-safe environment to test and validate our ideas and assumptions. Compared to my previous toolkit done by SKETCH and INVISION, I see some friction when creating an inclusive environment where to onboard teammates without any design skills.
One of the main open points is how FIGMA can be considered the silver bullet for fulfilling the need for a diverse audience focused on the same task, delivering successful experiences.
I am so thrilled by this new chapter of my career arch. Within this gig, I will contribute to building experiences that could impact millions of people’s lives. Does this sound like the main reason why designers wake up every morning? It does very much, and that’s why I look at this new chapter of my career arc with a generous amount of optimism. The pandemic teaches how much business needs design-driven thinking because of the pace of human life evolution on this planet.