UX Snapshot: An Interview With Jessica Enders

UX Snapshot: An Interview With Jessica Enders

Jessica Enders
Summary:

In the next of our series of interviews with UX Designers who we admire and respect, Luke chats to Jessica Enders from Formulate Information Design.

In this excerpt, Jessica opens up about daily routines, managing deadlines, and the challenges in maintaining a work/life balance.

We’ve been interviewing a range of UX Designers who we admire and respect, to gain insights into how they do what they do. 

We’ll be publishing all of these interviews in an upcoming ebook that showcases the personalities of the user experience field.

Here’s an excerpt from our chat with Jessica Enders, from Formulate Information Design in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is Principal and Founder of Formulate Information Design.

Can you sketch out what a typical day looks like for you, from the time you wake up, maybe to the time you go to bed at night?

Well I definitely get up and I run about 10 kilometres, and then I … I’m just kidding, haha! A typical day for me would be, unfortunately, waking up tired—and I don’t have any children or anything to blame on! I don’t know why that is. I’m one of those people who needs 10 hours of sleep a night.

I’m generally raring to go in the mornings though—I get up, have breakfast, potter around and do a few things, then come in to work.

I usually check Twitter on my phone on the train on the way in, and read my email. I’m trying to get out of the habit of checking my email before I even get out of bed! I think it’s important to separate work and home life, or else you’re never going to get any serious downtime. I’ll usually have a major task in mind that I need to get done—whether it’s do those wireframes, or write that review or prepare that presentation—but I’ll check my emails just to make sure that nothing needs dealing with urgently, and to try to keep the inbox low if I can.

Then it’s getting on with that major task, and working backwards from deadlines to when I need to do things.

A sampling of artefacts from around Jessica’s workspace

I usually try and tweet something relevant about form design in the afternoon. That way, it catches the people in Europe as well as people here. I’ll give a few retweets from over there and our Australian friends as well.

I basically get absorbed in one task and I will just solidly do that. I do have this piece of software that’s free called Time Out Free on my Mac that reminds me to take a break and stretch every hour, because I have kind of big problems with tension in my shoulders, neck and computer using stuff, so I would always stand up in the middle of the open hub, and “aeroplane” with my arms, and stretch my neck. No-one’s gotten up to join me yet, but I’m hoping they will eventually.

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I usually grab lunch with some of the folks here in the office, or do some reading over lunch while I eat.

In the evenings I do a few different things—I’m learning Argentinean tango. I have a penchant for unusual dance styles, so I’ve done a couple of years of Egyptian, which is kind of like belly dancing, but a bit less cabaret/showgirl, and a bit more culturally aware. I did a few years of South Indian classical dancing, as well, haha. But my knees weren’t good enough for that, so now I’m into my third favourite which is Tango, which I love.

I’m also trying to learn French—I’m using some online software for that. Cooking dinner, doing chores, that sort of thing. I do jog, as well, occasionally, and probably watch an hour or two of TV before going to bed.

I always read fiction just before I got to sleep. I read so much non-fiction during the day that it’s nice to get taken away to somewhere different just before you fall asleep.

And I am at the moment trying to do meditation every day! So the plan is, when I get home from work, to do that. It helps me divide the working day and the evening.

My work is often in large chunks. When I’m working on a presentation or a design for a couple of days, that’s pretty much all I do. Then I deliver it to the client, and while they’re reviewing it, I catch up on some of my reading and doing some small things and just the business stuff—insurance or what have you. So it’s very much dictated by client projects and where they are and what they need.

You can follow Jessica on Twitter at @formulate.

The full transcript of this interview is available in our ebook, “Everyday UX”.
Let us know what you think of this interview. Are there any UXers you’d like us to interview in this series? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

Written by
Luke Chambers
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