The key differences between feedback at Monzo and other places I have worked?
I have been very lucky to work at some great places, where design feedback has been intergraded into the core product workflow. This is true of Monzo. Monzo openly encourages you give and receive feedback on a daily basis. When feedback is common place, its becomes less scary. The more you do something the easier it becomes. When giving feedback we have a structure. First you explain the problem you are trying to solve. Then the type of feedback you want and on what part of the design. This way you don’t get feedback on your pixel placement on a 5 second mock up you did to illustrate a user flow.
We also make sure that everyone understands how feedback should be received. Feedback should not be taken personally. Discussing improvements that could be made on a design is not the same as, nor should be taken as, talking about how bad of a designer you are. I think Monzo does a great job of helping people understand this, and consequentially, creating an open, honest and friendly environment.
Where I think Monzo differs from places I worked previously is scale. We have 19 people in our design team now. This is the biggest design team i have ever worked in. Each designer works as a part of a product squad. You can read more about is here —> (https://monzo.com/blog/2018/06/27/engineering-management-at-monzo). Because of this, its hard to have an understanding of all the problems people are trying to solve at one time. One thing I’m personally trying to improve when asking for and giving feedback is understanding the context in which the designs are being made. This can be anything from the specific user problem to the time scale of the project. When you understand this then you can give much more useful feedback.
Will Monzo ever expand to other countries?
Before Monzo moves to other countries it is vital that we understand how people use money in different cultures. Monzo works well here in the UK as we have done a lot of research around how people use and want to use their money. We cannot automatically think the same principles apply to people in America, Asia, Australia or even other European countries.
What is the biggest learnings you’ve made as a designer over the last few years?
I think one of my biggest learnings from the last few years, feels obvious when you say it out loud, but as a lowly design student in North Wales, wasn’t initially obvious to me.
“Good ideas can come from anyone and everyone”
If, as a designer, you get given a problem and then you go away and lock your self in a room while trying to figure it out, it is very rare that you will come up with the best solution. Not only this, it’s even more rare that you will come up with a solution that is inclusive and that will work for a wide range of people. Its more likely that you will come up with a solution that works for you and people like you.
More so that this, accepting feedback (see above question) from a range of people, even if you don’t agree and implement changes is a great way to learn and improve as a designer. This can be from designers, developers, product managers or even your Mum.
Don’t be precious about your work, don’t fall in love with the solution. Fall in love with the problem and get much help as you can from as many people as you can when trying to solve it.
What’s the most recent thing you’ve worked on that’s been released in the app, and if you were given the chance how would you do it differently?
Recently we have release the new golden tickets feature in Monzo. These differ from the old golden tickets as they have a monetary value attached to them. You share a golden ticket with a friend and when your friend signs up and uses Monzo, you both get £5. The only thing I would have changed about the project was to get it in the app faster. It’s hard to know if you are making the right design decisions until it’s out in the world in the hands of your users. You can spend weeks trying to make the perfect design (or what you think is the perfect design), only for it to flop when it reaches new users.
So, with that in mind. I wouldn’t change anything we did in the past. But we will be making lots of exciting changes in the future in order to make this the best user experience possible. (Does that make sense, or was that a really bad answer? Sorry)