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UX Department

Introduction

We make a software product that is easy to use, enables everyone to contribute, and is built for a diverse, global community. To achieve this vision, the UX department actively works with the wider GitLab community to understand user behaviors, needs, and motivations. And as a skilled team of UX practitioners, we go far beyond the basics of UI design (that's only a part of what we do), proactively helping to shape the product experience through generative user research, strategic UX initiatives, and useful technical documentation.

To meet our goals, the UX Department works cross functionally with internal teams and community contributors. We believe in iterative, valuable, and proactive improvements. When we get things wrong, we quickly work to make them right. We're passionate about the GitLab product, and we strive to become subject-matter experts both in our specific stage groups and across the whole product.

More reading about UX

UX vision

Our goal is to make GitLab the most usable DevOps tool on the market, so that teams of all kinds can build better products, faster.

We don't support just a single user type—whether that's across roles, industries, or company size. Instead, we actively solicit feedback from the wider GitLab community to understand:

To achieve a shared vision, we partner with Product Management on product discovery, proactively identify opportunities for UX improvements, measure our success through KPIs, and continuously optimize how we work—both within our department and with cross-functional partners.

Holistic UX

Though we structure our work around individual stages of the product (Plan, Manage, Create, etc.), we can't separate look, feel and process from what a user is trying to accomplish. We must maintain a focus on what the user needs to get done and how to deliver that in the most effective manner possible, including how users flow from one stage of the product to another. Maintaining a holistic overview of the path a user may take allows us to see the possible twists and turns along the way. With this knowledge, we can optimize the user experience.

It is the responsibility of each Product Designer and UX Researcher to understand how users may flow in and out of their assigned stage group(s). This means that everyone must understand the broader product, how stage groups relate, and the work that is planned and in process outside of their own focus area(s).

Easy UX

GitLab solves complex problems, but that doesn't mean our product experience needs to be complicated. We always strive to design solutions that are easy to use, but without oversimplifying the product.

We acknowledge we're building a product that must support skilled power users, while still making it easy for less experienced users and non-developers to learn. Within each stage group, the learning curve must be at least comparable to our best-in-class competitors, with clear, cohesive workflows, a highly usable interface, and comprehensive documentation.

Stage group UX vision

We're working to create a user experience that is seamless throughout the product. But, our organizational model is defined by stage groups that work as cross-functional teams. That means we must be intentional about outside-in thinking, so that we deliberately (and effectively) connect the related workflows built by functional teams.

For each stage group, the UX department is creating a UX strategy based on industry best practices and customer research. You can see the in-process strategy work here:

UX principles

Our principles are that GitLab should be productive, minimal, and human. We want to design the most complete, uncomplicated, and adaptable DevOps tool on the market, enabling our users to spend more time adding business value in their own jobs.

Productive

Yielding favorable or useful results; constructive: a productive suggestion.

User Experience is part of everything we do.

Everyone at the company understands the role of UX and everyone contributes to the user experience.

Our solutions make users feel confident and efficient.

Minimal

Simplicity driving maximum effect.

Design is about iteration, so we continuously iterate on our processes, too.

Minimize distractions and clutter so users can focus.

Human

Self-aware. Emotional, yet rational. Understandable and helpful.

Be Ambitious

Be Helpful

Design culture

The culture of the design department is characterized by the following:

Personas

Existing personas are documented within the handbook.

New personas or updates to existing personas can be added at any time.

Personas should be:

UX on social media

We encourage UXers to share UX designs and research insights on social media platforms such as Twitter and Dribbble.

Twitter

You can contribute design-related posts to our @GitLab Twitter account by adding your tweet to our UX Design Twitter spreadsheet.

  1. Add a new row with your tweet message, a relevant link, and an optional photo.
  2. Ensure that your tweet is no more than 280 characters. If you’re including a link, ensure you have enough characters, and consider using a link shortening service.
  3. The UX Lead will check the spreadsheet at the beginning of each week and schedule any tweets on Tweetdeck.
  4. Once a tweet is scheduled, the tweet will be moved to the "Scheduled" tab of the spreadsheet.

Dribbble

GitLab has a Dribbble team account where you can add work in progress, coming soon, and recently released work.

About our team

This section is inspired by the recent trend of Engineering Manager READMEs. e.g., Hackernoon: 12 Manager READMEs (from some of the best cultures in tech). Get to know more about the people on our team!