I am in charge of the user experience and, well, fit for purpose of a web service that helps mobile game developers create and operate their game. The service covers things like analytics, in-game advertising, segmentation of users etc.
Part of my time is spent talking to users, looking to understand what they need to work better. This includes testing with prototypes and gathering feedback. Because the gaming field is moving quickly, I also try to understand future needs, and meet with people in different roles in the industry.
I do a lot of flow and interaction design, both on the whiteboard and in digital tools. I help our designers and developers explore alternatives, and find solutions that are in line with long term goals. We work hard with product owners and data scientists to deliver the best possible tools for our users. Part of the job is to help others do theirs, so I'm also watching out for potential improvements in our ways of working. User-centered soft skills come in handy here.
I work pretty regular hours, and come to office at 8 or so. I usually browse emails in the morning, answering only the quick ones and leaving most of it for later. But I do allow myself time to read up on industry news.
I meet with users and the development teams pretty much every day. Sometimes we'll have heated discussions with the designers around a whiteboard, building on each other's ideas. Other times we'll review wireframes with the product owners and developers, looking to find gaps in our thinking. If I'm working on a complex part of the service, I may clear the calendar for a day and focus on my sketches and prototypes.
I often leave the office a little early, and finish the day later at home. I'll clear up emails, so that I don't have to attend to them in the morning.
Whatever I'm designing, it almost always helping someone do their job better, or enjoy something more. Isn't that pretty great already? I love to solve the big and small problems along the way. In a senior role, it's also fantastic to see younger designers and developers progress in their careers.
Sometimes we're not able to implement some features the way I would like to. Although unavoidable, it's frustrating to know that some users will have to spend extra time to work around it, or may not be able to do some things at all.
I've had sleepless nights thinking about difficult compromises in our designs, to be sure. But in the long run, the effort has had a positive outcome.
Sketching with a pen and paper is as important as any digital tool. It's also much quicker to explore alternatives without committing too much work. Then, sure digital tools make prototyping and high fidelity designs easier.
Meet with, and learning from as many designers as possible. Everybody has a different point of view to the craft, and it's humbling to see what others are doing. Read outside of your own profession.