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Being a UX Designer at Salesforce

Sophie de Reus

May 14, 2024

Meet Hannah Pak, a Salesforce Product Designer on the Experience Builder team. In 2021, Hannah was a Futureforce summer intern in the San Francisco office. After graduating, Hannah returned to Salesforce and now works with the same team she interned with.

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What does a typical day look like for you?


During a typical day, I have a variety of meetings across different teams. I will meet with my scrum team, project managers and engineers, as well as UX designers on Platform, where we can share designs and get feedback. Other days, I’m in back-to-back user interviews with random participants for UX research. I also like to go to UX-wide events like Product Spotlights and Know & Grows, which help me stay informed, grow as a designer, and make connections. When I’m not in meetings, I work on designs in Figma, building wireframes and mockups.

 

How did you come to the realization that UX design would be something you would want to do for a career, especially right out of college?

When I was in college I switched my major four or five times. I felt very lost because I knew I was artistic but I did not enjoy my architecture classes, or find fine arts enjoyable as a full time career. I grew to dislike graphic design, which I’d been doing actively in college. I knew I wanted to be creative while solving problems and working with people, both of which were not a part of my work within graphic design. Additionally, I was pursuing a cognitive science major and was mainly taking psychology and neuroscience courses, so the only real exposure I had to UX design was from taking one UX research course.

I decided to try out an internship in UX design after it was recommended to me. At the end of my internship at Salesforce, the summer before senior year, I confirmed, yes this is the space for me.

“I love working with other creatives, I love contributing to the creation of better experiences for humans and I love designing with user flows in mind. Not art for the sake of art, but art for the sake of helping people.”

What are some valuable lessons you learned during your internship?

 

How to follow brand guidelines.

 

Prior to my internship at Salesforce, I interned at a startup where I had a lot of creative freedom. At big companies, there are a lot brand guidelines that you need to work within. Attention to detail and consistency are very important. This was one of the biggest lessons I learned during my internship at Salesforce, as it was something I had no experience with before.

 

How to work in B2B.

 

Additionally, I learned about the difference between B2B, (Business to Business), and B2C, (Business to Consumer), this was a confusing shift at first but very interesting to learn. Originally, I only knew about B2C, for example if I were a designer building Netflix’s interface, I’m building for an end user. Working in B2B widened my perspective and accelerated my design thinking because I had to learn how to build an interface for another builder to create an interface for an end user.

 

Think through all the steps from all perspectives.

 

Lastly, during my internship, I learned I really had to think through all the steps, both from a business perspective and a usability perspective. I got better at justifying my designs and explaining certain decisions. This helped me present my work and convince others.

 

As a full-time UX designer now, what aspects of your internship experience did you find most helpful in your day-to-day work?
Mentors want to help you grow! My mentors helped me learn how to work with engineers and project managers to bring a product to life. Learning to manage bandwidth that a team has, to communicate with engineers, and to redesign or scope down ideas when your ideas aren’t achievable, are important skills. Additionally, the presentation tactics I learned were a huge benefit and set me up for success once I started full time.

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Collaboration is often crucial in UX design. How do you work with other team members, such as developers or product managers, to ensure a cohesive and user-centric design?
Firstly, when working with Product Managers and Engineers, it's vital to understand and communicate in their language and prioritize their goals. Engineers aim to deliver technically feasible solutions, while product managers focus on timely delivery. Designers, on the other hand, prioritize the user experience. Effective communication is crucial, especially when what can be delivered within a certain timeframe may not align perfectly with user satisfaction. Flexibility is key; designers should be prepared to adjust their designs based on technical constraints or time limitations communicated by the engineering team. In addition to communicating throughout the project early on, it is also crucial to create a sense of ownership shared among the engineers, pms and UX. This allows everyone to feel like our goal for product success is shared.

Secondly, collaboration across product teams is essential to ensure consistency and prevent gaps in design. Regular meetings should be set up across different product teams to share potential impacts and insights. For instance, I often collaborate with teams in Commerce and Marketing Cloud especially if I know what I’m doing could impact their work, a lot of the time its safe to assume it could.

Lastly, designers should actively seek feedback from other designers to refine their work and foster a collaborative design community. This can be achieved through UX work-shares, which are meetings designated for sharing work and receiving informal feedback, or through one-on-one sessions to dive deeper into specific design issues. Such interactions allow for open sharing of ideas and contribute to the continuous improvement of the design process.

 

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in a UX design internship at Salesforce?

 

    • Go into your work with intention. Be passionate!
    • Learn the foundational skills: Figma, user flows and personas and do at least 1-2 UX projects for interviews. Interviewers want to know how you think!
    • Build a portfolio with personal projects with key terms.
    • Work hard. Salesforce is a very trusting community. They trust you to do your work and manage your time - handle it responsibly!
    • Don’t be afraid to ask questions - ask a lot of them.

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