JOANNA

Senior UX Researcher
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2016

Former Groupon Design intern Joanna takes us on her intern-to-employee journey and talks about the connection between data points and human stories.

Tell us about your job! What do you do? What do you love about it?

As a UX researcher, I am part of Groupon’s Design Union team. I get to work with many cross-functional teams around the globe and run research studies with our customers, merchants, and employees. Even just this year, I was lucky to work with some amazing people in product and engineering, business ops, merchant support and development, business development, marketing, content strategy, legal—you name it!

I love bringing the user perspective to conversations that are often very data-driven. As UX researchers, we strongly believe every data point has a human story. I’m glad we are here to tell them via quotes, videos, and insights that ultimately help create products that are desirable, feasible, and viable.

What was your first role at Groupon? How did you get to where you are now?

I was recruited by Groupon during grad school and worked as a User Experience Intern during the summer of 2015. My then director extended a full-time UX researcher offer to me while I was finishing my last semester at school. I was promoted to a senior researcher role a year later.

What was your first impression of Groupon as a workplace?

The “Groupon people” seemed really friendly. I remember walking around the office the day of my interview thinking the atmosphere was so vibrant and happy. Also, everyone was running around trying to find their conference room. Each floor was a labyrinth of desks, conference rooms with funny names, and strange break areas—the enchanted forest and the tiki bar come to mind. It felt like a start-up.

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve worked on here?

A couple of months ago I interviewed a study participant in Warsaw in Polish while referencing a questionnaire and taking notes in English. It was quite a brain workout, but also really fun.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

I work on customer and merchant research studies around “voucher-less” products such as BeautyNow and Groupon+ that connect directly to our mission of building the daily habit.

What’s unique about Design at Groupon?

Design is more than making things look pretty. Designers and UX researchers at Groupon spend a lot of time solving problems that deliver value, both for our users and our business. We hardly ever work alone, but we collaborate with others, often on many different teams.

What are some of your design influences?

In my previous career, I was mostly influenced by great designers such as Paul Rand, Saul Bass, Massimo Vignelli. As a UX researcher I am always impressed with the work of my peers and mentors, such as Steve Portigal, and also my former grad school instructors Brianna Sylver and Ben Jacobson. I listen to a few podcasts, such as Mixed Methods, Dollars to Donuts, UX Podcast, and attend industry conferences and meet-ups.

What’s something about working at Groupon that might be surprising to people who don’t work here?

Most people don’t realize Groupon has such an amazing, smart, and thriving Design team we refer to as “Design Union.” The team includes product designers, visual designers, UX writers (content strategists), and of course, UX researchers. I am humbled how much I learn from my teammates as well as our customers and merchants every day.

What’s your favorite conference room?

What were you up to before joining Groupon?

I was a graduate student working towards my Masters of Design Methods degree. Prior to that, I spent over ten years working at a Communication Planning and Branding studio in Chicago as art director and project director.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

One of my merchant UX research interviews took place at a massage therapist office in Chicago. Two product managers attended the session along with me—one flew in from Seattle and another from Berlin, Germany. The room was so tiny they had to sit on the floor. I ended up conducting the entire one-hour long interview seated on top of the massage table. It was very memorable and definitely helped build user empathy among the entire team.

What do your parents think you do?

My mom thinks I help design Groupon ‘coupons.’

What keeps you fulfilled outside of work?

Yoga. Biking. Traveling with my family.

=