Happy Sunday world 🌍
It’s been a busy few weeks at home and work — lot’s to catch you up on!
I usually spend my Friday mornings reflecting and writing these weeknotes, but I skipped it last week as I was screaming my head off at Alton Towers so I’ve decided to make this one a fortnight update.
Here are my ten top stories from the last few weeks:
Planning research interviews.
Last week, I planned out some research interviews with other public sector bodies as part of the re-design project were doing with Homes England. Some examples of OPSBs are local authorities, housing associations and schools. We discussed everything from their current experience with the existing sign-up process, pain points, opportunities and motivations around selecting Homes England over other organisations. I get such a buzz when speaking to users, especially when we learn new things way beyond our initial assumptions.
We also welcomed a new research lead to dxw, Aoife, who has joined this project — excited to collaborate 🥳
Setting a diversity and inclusion vision.
The lovely Leanne Coker, our service design lead, kicked off a very thought provoking workshop to get the people of dxw to come up with a D&I vision statement for the business. We first went through what a vision statement is, why we need one, followed by some inspiration setting and thinking activities.
Some of the inspiration I bought to the session were from brands like Nike who state that ‘If you have a body, you are an athlete’. I just admire how they use language and their brand to really drill down on diversity and inclusion, making it extremely relatable. The BBC also have another take on it and think of diversity and inclusion as a celebration. I really valued being part of the conversations when this was being built, and in particular love the abstract element and representation of shape and colour in this video.
Personally, I feel diversity and inclusion goes beyond a statement or something we only talk about. It should be at the forefront of everything we do, say, feel, taste and experience. This is a fantastic starting point for us and I cannot wait to see how this progresses.
Sharing our Monday motives.
Six weeks ago, me and my buddy Beth Dixon introduced a new work ritual for us called Monday Motive; a way to bond, share goals and get to know each other beyond project purposes. Every Monday around 3pm, we upload a picture from the weekend, our one main goal for the week and something were fearing or looking forward to. We then have around one minute each to share over zoom or async for those who cannot be there. Talking about these small moments of joy that we would once have over a coffee in the canteen or a cocktail in the local, make all the difference to the week.
This week, I opened up the invite to other designers outside of us interaction designers getting us even closer to the design discipline as a whole. If anyone fancies adapting this to their team, I’d love to hear out it goes!
Also a big thank you to my previous team in BBC iPlayer who inspired me to adapt this ritual here at dxw.
Its been nearly three years since I started mentoring with One Million Mentors and what an incredibly rewarding experience it’s been! Watching young talents learn, thrive and be inspired by me is amazing to watch. I definitely had a few panicky moments growing up, not knowing what direction I was going in life — I wish I had a mentor back then!
I had a session with my two mentees this week who have just finished their final year of university — one has landed a graduate design role whilst the other is about to embark on a round the world trip!
I feel like I have grown loads through mentoring, particularly developing my leadership and listening skills. All the great stuff that can be transferred into work and beyond.
Coffee with Jake.
You all know that I love a good old coffee with a past colleague or new connection once a week, and this week I caught up with the brill Jake Cohen, UX Designer at the Co-op.
I remember when me and Jake use to work together at the BBC, and we’d always make them awkward zoom conversations ten times worse, by sending each other silly jokes over slack, or photoshopping each others faces into goblin-like creatures, all to see who would laugh first on the call. I bet you’re thinking omg, these lot are so childish. But, we needed to laugh especially as the world was turning upside down.
We had a great little chinwag on all things life, design and career. I also inspired Jake to write his first ever set of weeknotes, love love love 💛
Being a kid for the day.
So last Friday, I spent the day in Alton Towers with my mum and sister and walked a whopping 16,000 steps! There was a particular memory that I will never forget…
We were on the Runaway Mine Train, and bear in mind my sister hates rides, but in the end we convinced her to give it a go. In the middle of the experience, my *NINE* year old sister screamed ‘Please can I swear!?’. We were like ‘Absolutely not!’. She replied ‘Please, I want to swear!’. Then suddenly she screamed ‘B***H’. Me and mum looked at each other like, what the hell was that. A sweet, shy, innocent, young girl like my sister who is well-behaved (most of the time) coming out with that type of lingo?!
I was half fuming and half laughing my arse off. I literally did not know how to react. We ended up laughing it off but it just made me realise, these kids won’t stay kids forever and I may have to prepare for the odd occasion of her doing something out of the ordinary, but hopefully not too often! Anyway, moving swiftly on… 😂
Celebrating small wins.
My life coach recently added me to a ‘small win’ whatsapp group where a load of us celebrate the small things we do on a daily basis.
I feel like sometimes the internet has inflated people’s expectations on what success looks like, and until we have our first house, a brand new range rover, or got a business, then we ain’t progressing. In actual fact, by shifting our perspective to appreciate the everyday human things and celebrating them with like-minded people, is even more satisfying in my opinion!
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.” — Robert Brault
Falling in love with the gym.
My small win of the week is that I have been to the gym five times this week! Some days were more relaxed than others but I got there which is massive for me, especially as someone who hates the gym. I actually look forward to drip with sweat now. I never thought I would say that — definitely a new woman haha!
The challenge for me now is to continue this habit and not back out if I don’t see quick results. I would never have been able to kick-start this process if I didn’t have my personal trainer, Jazz, to encourage me and teach me about all the different types of workouts and muscle groups. Also my bestie, Tej, checks up on me constantly to see what I am eating and encourages me to get into the gym even if I cba. This type of energy is much needed.
I got a text!
Okay so for those who worked with me at the BBC, know that I am a big fan of Love Island. Back in the days, when I was a UXD Trainee, I initiated a research piece on looking at the strategy of Love Island and how the BBC could positively adopt some of their tactics. Short story, I presented it to one team then ending up touring the BBC for 6 months which disrupted people’s mindset and inspired some of the future strategy! I’ll share more on this soon.
The seventh series kicked-off this week and although it is so far from my reality, I love learning about people not only from the show itself, but how the public engage with it off-screen.
Love Island has become the most-watched digital channel programme of the year for people aged between 16–34 reaching a peak of 3.3 million viewers. If you design for this user group, watch Love Island. You’ll be amazed on what user needs you’ll unpack.
New trainer alert.
Remember the time when we could actually work in an office? Can’t even believe I am saying that, but anyway… you’d very rarely see me wear the same pair of trainers two days in a row. Obsessed is not the word.
Currently, I have 52 pairs of trainers and just added a new pair to my collection. The Air Max Plus 3s in Claystone Red. LOVE.
Finally, this week celebrates my second month at dxw and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience — an amazing bunch of people, proper chunky design challenges and the ability to have a real impact on the public. What more could I ask for?
Hope you enjoyed these stories and enjoy the rest of your weekend ⭐️