A new chapter at Lotus’s
I joined Lotus’s (Thailand’s leading hypermarket chain) as UX/UI Manager in the midst of the transformation. We’re transforming the tech and rebranding from Tesco Lotus to a more modern-looking Lotus’s. Moving from a startup environment to a corporate, this huge opportunity to make an impact comes with great challenges. Stay tuned for new work and projects which should be launching soon.
My great time at LINE MAN Wongnai coming to a close
Four years is a long tenure for a first jobber. I never thought that I would miss out on anything if I spend my entire career at Wongnai (now LINE MAN Wongnai) but I believe this move will strengthen me to once again go out of my comfort zone, and grow to become a more mature designer, leader, and coach. I am grateful for the opportunity and a jumpstart to the career the company has given me.
I am grateful to everyone at LINE MAN Wongnai who sees my potential and puts the effort to bring out the best of me.
Behind every single one of my successes, there are coaches who empowered and paved the way for me, there are bosses who trust me and puts me in the position to be successful. I am thankful for everyone that I ever have the privilege of leading both my design team and my cross-functional team members. I would not be where I am without you.
Launching Internal Insight Database
We run A/B tests, user researches from time to time. It would be a shame to let all the insight be lost. So I took the initiative to create an insight database. We can write the insight and the learning down. New joiners can read through previous learnings on their own instead of having to track down the people who previously worked on that particular product.
We use Confluence Wiki to document this. It’s ok for now but I feel that the tagging, categorizing system is not that robust. In my experience, I enjoy Asana’s concept. In Asana, one task can have multiple tags – can be shown in multiple boards and projects. This concept reflects the reality of product development where we have the product-squad aspect, platform aspect, etc. The company has since migrated to the Atlassian environment, if anyone has a good robust solution do let me know.
Releasing Thai system font workaround for designers
Many apps with large global penetration use system font Many apps with large global penetration use system font because creating a new font that supports all languages is not simple. For iOS, the system font is “SF Pro” but for Thai characters, the system falls back to “Thonburi”(since SF Pro doesn’t contain Thai characters). Design tools such as Figma, Adobe XD doesn’t support such fallback hence making it difficult to create a UI mockup with the look and feel of the system font.
I created a workaround by merging the “SF Pro” font with “Thonburi” naming it “SF Thonburi”. We can use the “SF Thonburi” font in Figma to create the UI mockup using system fonts. There are many benefits of using system font read about it here.
Launching LINE MAN Wongnai Dribbble
Every designer draws inspiration from Dribbble. Despite many shots not being feasible in a real-world context, Dribbble is still useful for visual design inspiration. We want to be the reference as well instead of just looking for a reference. So we launched our Dribbble page : https://dribbble.com/linemanwongnai
Launching Wongnai Voice and Tone
My talented UX Writer took charge of the voice and tone. I support and supervise the creation of the dictionary and voice and tone document. With this, we have more confidence in our style and consistency.
Launching Understand Web and App Technology Without Coding Course
With my background as a designer who codes and product manager, I created this course to help non-technical people understand developers and engineers better. Going through the basic backend, frontend, mobile setup. There’s no denying that the technical aspect hugely affects UX and product.
Launching Wongnai’s new design system
Redesigning Wongnai design system from the ground up. Supporting dark mode, theme switching for easily expanding to new domain with a distinct brand accent color.
Recruiting the first UX Writer
Every time we add a new role is a major step in expanding and improving our capability especially when it comes to specialized roles such as UX Writer.
Launching Wongnai Brand Architecture
Wongnai has expanded beyond the restaurant search and review platforms. We have many products each with its own value-proposition ie. Wongnai Cooking, Wongnai Deal, Wongnai Travel. When launching a new product or campaign business lead wants to have some kind of logo to represent the new product. This can cause problems with the branding because without brand architecture new brands and logos under Wongnai will pop up everywhere.
I came up with a set of criteria regarding which product should be a sub-brands, endorsed brands, and add-ons brand.
Intern program in full swing
This year I expanded our intern program from 2 interns last year to 7. With 3 interns concurrently. The aim is to give back to the community and foster relationships with students paving the way to recruit great talents. I tried to have as many as we can. To give everyone a great experience, I pair the intern with my full-time designers one on one. The interns will join the cross-functional product squads. They receive and deliver on real live projects.
This also provides coaching experience for my junior and senior designers. Setting up a design culture of coaching, giving constructive actionable feedbacks that scales.
Launching Measure and Improve With Data course
Using my experience from Wongnai’s growth squad I created a course to help designers and anyone who works on digital products use quantitative data to improve their design and product.
Switching to DB Heavent font
In 2017, we moved from system font to Kanit(Google Font). Now we want another upgrade for a cleaner look. So we explored multiple commercial fonts and ended up using DB Heavent.
There was a dev club 90:10 activity where every Friday afternoon we can spend 10% of the time at work doing new things, experimenting with new projects and technologies. With my interest in quantitative data, I formed the Wongnai Analytics Club.
Wongnai used third-party tools such as Facebook Analytics and Google Analytics. When running A/B tests data aren’t really reliable so we want to transition to our own internal analytics. We had set up tracking and data pipeline but we didn’t have many tools to process the data or UI tool to visualize them. My analytics club aimed to create some basic tools such as funnel, retention, event breakdowns.
We had some proof of concept but after one quarter the activity was shut down. Nevertheless, it was a good initiative and attempt on my part.
Transitioning to full time people manager
The engagement squad(in charge of building – revamping review feature and community in Wongnai) will be transitioning to work on the O2O product. This is a trend for review platforms. We need to transitions to features O2O to offer more value to our users.
Doubling Down on Growth and Engagement
With the goal of increasing our active users, the Growth squad faces difficulty in splitting our effort between search/discovery features and review/community features. We need reviews data for our platform to be useful thus retaining acquired users but we also need to improve our search functions for users to be able to find interesting places.
The management transitioned another squad to work on reviews naming it Engagement squad. I had the opportunity and the privilege to lead the Growth Squad and the Engagement squads as a product manager and UX/UI designer at the same time. Leading around 20 engineers, QA, marketing. I work on the roadmap, design, and executions.
With multiple events as a speaker both internal and external under my belt, I took the stage as a more experienced speaker. The anxiety doesn’t go away but I was definitely not the same as when I was just starting my career.
My first time as a speaker I focused on having perfect delivery memorizing every word of the speech down to the letter. With time and experience, I realized that the delivery isn’t as important as the message. I painted a story instead of a fact. A story has a struggle instead of simply picking the best accomplishments to show off.
Townhall is a show. My job as a speaker was to inspire not report facts or show my own accomplishment. I delivered my keynote with emotion, struggle showing my failure, and showing the way forward.
Speaker at UX Thailand 2019 Speaker
I talked about making “super app”. Having multiple apps each with its own theme within one app. This was the largest UX conference in Thailand to date. I shared the stage with leading figures in the industry from all over the world.
I am thankful for the organizing team. Liam Hutchinson, P.Bank Apirak, and P.Pete made this happen and voting me as speaker.
Expanding Wongnai Brand Guideline
Wongnai’s brand guideline is quite limited. I led the effort to expand the brand guideline by working with graphic designers. New content added includes brand strategy, personality, value, voice, logo usage on different backgrounds, etc.
Promoted to UX/UI Team Lead
I’ve been leading, recruiting, and building the team for a while now. I think it was never about the title but this makes it official.
Wongnai Connect 2018
This was the company’s press conference event. We invited over 300 reporters, partners, and guests. We showed off our products and roadmap. I joined the stage to demo the new version of the Wongnai app.
Promoted to Senior UX/UI Designer
Starting from Q3 2017, as the first UX Designer, I was entrusted to recruit and scale the team-up. This was a great opportunity for me and the company to grow together.
Leading the growth squad
In 2017, I had the privilege of working directly with P.Yod, Wongnai’s CEO who personally led the growth squad. I learned a lot from him. In 2018, senior management phased away from the growth squad as I was stepping up handling both UX/UI Design and product management for the squad.
In 2018, I took charge of the squad. I keep P.Yod and management in touch by weekly report/meeting and quarterly roadmap update.
Moving from Sketch to Figma
As the team was expanding from two designers to four, I learned about how we should work together to keep the design consistent and scale the team easily. How should we set up a shared library? I took a shot at setting up shared Google Drive which syncs automatically between each designer. I also considered using Git or Dropbox. I found that these solutions are a hassle. Google Drive’s Mac app was not very stable and we could run in a situation where we save the library file on top of each other.
I had found out about Figma in 2017. Figma is a real-time collaborative design tool, Google Doc for design. This would eliminate the headache of setting up a shared drive environment for every designer who joins. I gave it a try back then but still feel off.
In early 2018, I gave Figma another shot. I started by using Figma in a live project from design to developer handoff. There wasn’t an issue. I rolled it out to one designer first. Once we’re sure that there isn’t any serious issue or drawback we migrated away from Sketch and Zeplin.
I believe we were early adopters of Figma in Thailand. This bet really paid off in 2021 Figma is now beating Sketch and had a valuation of 10$ billion. With many teams both in Thailand and all over the world transitioning to Figma. Many had the painful experience of dealing with Abstract, Git, shared drive setup.
UX Thailand 2017
I joined UX Thailand 2017 as a speaker. My one-hour session focus on a case study. I walk through some of my projects and process with Wongnai’s Growth Squad from getting insights, creating the design to solve the issue found to measuring the success post-launch.
My First Recruit
With my success, management wants to expand our UX/UI design capability. As the new UX/UI Designer joined, this marks my first recruitment. I worked on the onboarding process to make sure we have a successful path forward.
I wrote an article sharing my case studies. To share knowledge with the community and create notoriety and reputation to help with recruiting and building the team.
Just a few months in, my first time speaking at a town hall. I was so excited. I walked through the Growth team’s project.
Wongnai Growth Squad
P’Yod Wongnai CEO formed the cross-functional Growth Squad featuring engineers, marketings, UX/UI designers. The team has the goal of increasing our active users. We started by setting up analytics. Diving down into user retention. Gathering insights and nailing down our personas.
I joined Wongnai as UX/UI Designer, Frontend Developer to be exact. As the first UX Designer in the company. It wasn’t clear what UX does and what value do they bring. So just in case, there isn’t much work in the UX area or there’s a backlog of work on the developer side I can be a frontend developer as well.
I ended up writing just a few lines of React code. Then I transition fully to UX/UI. I set up the way of working. With the value and the impact that I made we were able to start expanding the UX/UI Design team sometime soon after.