What’s been your role at Auto Trader, and how did you get there?
I’m the outgoing Design Director at Auto Trader UK, and I’ve had the pleasure of leading product design across the company for close to a decade. My focus has primarily been on designing products and services for consumer and retail customers. I started out as one of the first in-house UX designers and I’ve been lucky enough to have opportunities to progress my career which led me to a leadership role.
Sounds like an impressive rise through the ranks. So, what kind of work do you and your team make day to day?
The product design teams at Auto Trader are involved in discovering, delivering and optimising products and services for consumers and retail customers. This can be research tasks, journey mapping, user testing, building design systems or writing copy. There’s a broad variety of skills, with Product Designers, User Researchers and Content Strategists working in multiple cross-functional product teams.
What do you not have in terms of skill set? How do you know when you need to bring a partner in?
Even though our teams have a broad range of specialisms there are some disciplines we just don’t need all the time. As an example, we don’t have a team dedicated to brand design work. There’s no role for a classic Creative Director, as there just isn’t enough ongoing work to keep that person occupied.
We have a solid team of visual designers translating our brand design and direction into our products. They’re focused on not only injecting the brand design into our site, apps and design systems, but also making sure the design direction is usable, colours are accessible and that, as we evolve, our brand execution in the product experience is improving. And they’re always keeping an eye on key metrics we’re measured by as a business.
So when we recognise we need to bring in a skill we don’t hold in the core team, we’ll go to one of our trusted partners.