I started Booking.com in 2012 as a UX Designer, mainly focusing on optimising the core ecommerce funnel to make it as easy as possible for travelers to find the right place to stay.
Fast forward 6 and a half years and I'm a Senior Designer who has worked on almost all aspects of the business from the core customer funnel, customer engagement and retention, internal tooling, and partner facing products.
The core part of my role.
My last role in Booking was working on User Generated Content, making sure that our potential travellers have the ability to get a truthful and unbiased view on any property to help them decide if it's the right place for them.
I worked in a small team with different disciplines (product manager, developers, quality specialists, copywriters, research, and data scientists). It was my job to understand our user's needs and what opportunities we have to make their lives easier, work with my team to see what's possible, visualise ideas and validate them with qualitative feedback.
When we know what we are building I'd design the interface, make sure it's aligned with our design system and iterate based on any feedback from colleagues and our users.
I may hand off some of the more complex design work to developers in the team, but I'll also happily jump into writing production level HTML/CSS and setting up A/B testing in Bookings templates.
Once we tested our solution to gather quantitative data, I'd analyse the experiment and share what we've learned with the team. Next up was deciding to roll this out to all our customers or stop it for now and iterate or go back to the exploration part of the process with our new insights.
How I approached the 'senior' part
At Booking.com, it's expected that a Senior Designer has an impact beyond their immediate team. I break this impact down into three key areas that I can focus on and try to split my time among them.
First, my department. I make sure I sit down with the department leadership every few weeks to understand what is keeping them up at night and how I may be able to help, as well as share the point of view of the designers working in this area so we are all on the same page and heading in the right direction. If there are new insights or opportunities that I'd want to explore or think we should focus on, this is where I'd kick those ideas off.
My last large project in UGC, I've been working with track leadership to come up with some product visions that helped to form our roadmap, product strategy and inspire the teams.
Second, the design team and their craft. Another role of a Senior Designer is to help improve the design team and to make the workplace the best place for designers to do their best work.
One thing I take ownership of here is the yearly retrospective for the Senior Design team and make sure we coordinate all the projects that we work on for the year and there is accountability for us to be improving the way we work. I also do this in the form of coaching and mentoring other designers.
Third, the overall business. We are all part of the company and it's everyone's job to make sure we're pushing it forward, for me this was introducing a product design and development process with a small task force of people to have a single resource that can help guide product teams in making the right decisions and building better products.
This could also be writing business cases for new opportunities, spotting areas where we can improve or streamline processes and proposing better ways of working, or helping internal teams who don't have a design resource to design and develop the right tooling. An example of this was writing a business case for Booking.com to do more in the sports resort space (I'm a big golf fan and found that users had to use so many other tools to book a golf trip), the projects itself never got kicked off but it was folded into a larger push for resorts (starting with Ski instead).