we're the GitLab User Experience (UX) Department. We hope you find what you are looking for here. If you don't, please open an issue and give us feedback.
Our mission is to support designing and building software that solves important problems, is easy to use, enables everyone to contribute, and is built for a diverse, global community. We want GitLab to become the easiest and most delightful product in its class.
We partner closely with product management and engineering.
We work with the wider GitLab community to understand our customers and users.
We support the business of GitLab by becoming experts in our stage group, educating ourselves about the entire product, and staying engaged with business goals shared with us through the executive team and business partners in sales, marketing, and support.
Our direction for fiscal year 2021 is to offer a best-in-class user experience for all of the DevOps categories in which we compete.
It's important to note that, even though we're internally organized into teams that compete with specific industry segments, we can't design in silos. Because we're a single application for the DevOps lifecycle, we must strive to create experiences that flow seamlessly across the entire product. Instead of thinking about individual features, we must always consider the end-to-end job that a user wants to get done.
We measure the quality of our user experience in a variety of ways. A few examples are our quarterly System Usability Scale survey, UX Scorecards, and Category Maturity Scorecards. We're actively working to improve our SUS score (which was flat during FY20) by emphasizing solution validation and resolving UX debt. We're continuing to evaluate current experiences within the product with UX Scorecards, and we're also validating Category Maturity Scorecards to ensure that the wider GitLab community has input to our category maturity ratings.
Our UX and Product Management departments both understand that creating a great user experience is only possible when we actively solicit feedback from users. That's why we have a robust UX Research program that is guided by our research team. They help our product managers and designers conduct extensive research, including (but not limited to) problem and solution validation.
Based on experience, we know that having a robust Design System that offers single-source-of-truth components is a great way to increase productivity, drive UI consistency, and improve our visual design. Accordingly, we're working hard to make Pajamas a robust system that's customized to our unique needs. During FY21, we're adding a dedicated UX Foundation team to guide this work, making sure our UI components are beautiful, scalable, and accessible. While we'll have a small dedicated team, it's still imperative for every product designer to contribute to Pajamas.
In FY21, we're adding additional leadership to our rapidly growing department to maintain appropriate manager/direct report ratios that ensure everyone has the support they need. Research and Technical Writing will both have a Senior Manager and multiple team managers, and Product Design will also add two senior leaders to help guide the strategy led by the UX Managers of our product sections.
When we hire UXers, we look for practioners who have existing experience in the subject matter areas they will support. Because GitLab is a complex product, our goal is to set new UXers up for success, and existing domain knowledge makes that process easier.
Additionally, we hire UX generalists who are experienced in multiple areas. For example, our Product Designers are strong UI and visual designers, they can conduct their own research, they're experienced in defining and communicating UX strategy, and they sometimes have front-end development expertise. Similarly, our Technical Writers create great documentation, but they also know how to write compelling UI text and manage docs as code.
UXers are assigned to stage groups as stable counterparts. We have three different roles on our team.
Product Design teams are organized by stage group. Product Designers learn everything they can about their product stage and they are great at designing easy-to-use, beautiful workflows and experiences. They also contribute to our design system, Pajamas.
Information about and strategic direction for these teams can be found here:
The UX Research team is great at finding answers to questions we have about our customers and how they use and think about our product. They generate valuable customer and user insights via quantitative and qualitative research methods, and then they share those insights with the rest of the company. UX Researchers are assigned to multiple stage groups, and they spend much of their time helping Product Managers and Product Designers conduct their own research.
The Technical Writing team is great at taking complex, technical concepts and flows and presenting them to GitLab users in a simple way, so they can get the most out of GitLab. This team owns our world-class user documentation site and can also write clear and concise UI copy. Technical Writers are assigned to multiple stage groups.
You can reach us in issues and MRs by mentioning the different UX teams and roles shown on our UX Group page.
We believe that GitLab software should be unintimidating and accessible for a beginner, without oversimplifying important features for advanced users. We stay with users every step of the way to help them learn fast as a beginner and then become an expert over time.
We're highly focused on ensuring that no matter how big our product gets, the entire experience stays cohesive, consistent, and interconnected.
Everyone is a designer; everyone can contribute. We are not egotistical, moody experts who alone hold the keys to user delight. We encourage Product Managers, Engineers, and the wider GitLab community to contribute to creating an exceptional user experience.
Sometimes the simplest, most boring solution is what is needed to make users successful. We want our UI to stay out of the user’s way. We work iteratively to make modest but valuable changes that make users more productive, faster, and better at accomplishing their tasks.
NOTE: When we find problems that are simple to fix - for example, a minor change to our web site or microcopy in the product - we are empowered to make those changes ourselves. A heuristic: If the change will take you less than 15 minutes to make, then start with an MR instead of an issue. By making the change yourself, you are taking immediate action to improve our product, and you might learn a new skill, too! If it seems simple, but you have questions, remember that there are people who can help you with code changes both in the UX department and across the company. (Even Sid is willing to help, if you need it.)
We’re human, and we design for humans, so we strive for understanding, self-awareness, and connection. We are quirky, and we introduce our quirks into designs when appropriate.
The more we can check off each item in this list the more successful we will be:
The culture of the design department is characterized by the following:
Existing personas are documented within the handbook.
New personas or updates to existing personas can be added at any time.
Personas should be:
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!
Are you interested in joining our team or hearing about new roles that open up within our department? Fill in this short form to join our talent community.