Chloe Wood, Senior Product Designer
To showcase our band members, every now and then we put a Spotifier in the limelight. Today's headliner is Chloe Wood, Senior Product Designer for Freemium in London. Put on your headphones, hit play, and read along!
Questions & Answers
Why are you a designer?
When I first realised I wanted to work in the creative industries, I had limited knowledge about what the role actually involved and initially thought that it was about making things look pretty. 🙈
As I started to deepen my knowledge I quickly understood that design was so much more than just moving pixels on a page. Today, I see it as a power that can be used in a multitude of ways to create impact, whether it’s by helping to motivate audiences, making lives simpler, providing sources of entertainment, sharing knowledge or raising thought-provoking questions that challenge us to rethink our views.
Describe your job at Spotify without using the words "design" or "designer."
My goal’s to understand what customers need and what they find difficult when using Spotify. Next, I take these insights and work with other talented team members to come up with ideas as to how we could improve the experience.
After launching an improvement, we review the data and check back in with customers to understand whether we’ve resolved the issue. If not, we repeat the process and make further improvements.
Show us a picture of your desk, and explain why it looks how it does.
MacBook Pro, keyboard and mouse So I made an error when setting up my home office, I thought I could get away with designing with just my laptop screen, turns out I was VERY wrong and a second screen would have been handy. I also have a wireless keyboard and mac mouse.
Ikea office chair You may sense a theme here but when I first started working from home I tried to make do with items I already had and worked from my kitchen table. I got SUCH bad backache from doing this! After getting this Ikea chair all my back woes have gone, it’s super comfy and super supportive.
Plants!! 🙏 I’ve become a little obsessed with plants since I started working from home. Last year, I think I had about 10 and now I have well over 30. I had to pop one on my desk as I’m running out of places to put them.
Felt fabric makeshift mousepad I bought an offcut of thick felt which makes the perfect mouse pad. It’s large, so my mouse doesn’t constantly fall off the edge of the mat.
Post-it notes I’m a massive fan of a to-do list, it really helps me center my thoughts on outstanding jobs I have left to do. I tend to arrange them into a backlog each morning so that I have my day planned out.
Disco light Required for that Friday feeling. 💃
Tell us about a time you beat an intimidating design challenge.
I’ve faced so many interesting challenges during my career, however the one I commonly see crop up is misalignment. If I could go back and give myself one tip, it’s to make sure everyone’s aligned at the start as it saves so much time in the long run.
One project that suffered from misalignment was the time I worked on an integration with a partner based in Japan. Not only was it difficult having an 8 hour time difference but culturally the way that we worked was VERY different.
Instead of aligning on the problem on day 1, the UK team took the lead and presented back our solution which was an extension of the European website. Understandably this received heavy criticism as the website design was non-typical for the Japanese market. Japanese websites tend to be extremely text-heavy, detailing the specifics of a service as opposed to western websites which tend to feature much less text.
From then on, we learned to lean on our partners and their expertise. We would check in regularly to get their thoughts and send back quick mocks to check to see if we understood their suggestion correctly. By switching to a highly collaborative way of working we were able to iron out our misalignments and increase our velocity.
Name three non-designers you feel inspired by when designing.
I found Simon Sinek’s talk “How great leaders inspire action” super useful for the work that I do. He talks about the idea of defining your “why” so that you can understand your purpose, your belief and most importantly why customers would care about the service you provide. When I’m struggling with a project or understanding where I want to be with my career I ask the question “why” so that I can get back on track.
I got to see Tim Walker’s photography exhibition Wonderful Things at the V&A a few years back and was completely inspired by his larger than life works. Instead of taking standard portraits, Walker builds an underlying narrative to help audiences connect and identify with the sitter. “When you’re taking a portrait of someone you’re dabbling with their identity — it’s not like a fantasy — and I think that’s a very tender, vulnerable thing.”
I get a lot of inspiration from everyday objects around me such as paintings, trinkets, old book covers etc. There are so many beautiful objects out there that can ignite our imaginations and help us to create something completely new.
What would your self-portrait look like?
Any final shout-outs or things you'd like to share?
Massive thank you to all the lovely individuals that have given me support and guidance over the years! I wouldn’t be doing what I do today without you all. 💕
Also, If anyone’s interested, feel free to check out my sewing and photography Instagram accounts where I share things I’ve made in my spare time. Also, check out my amazingly talented husband who taught me how to take photos.
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