Our Hive team is a multidisciplinary group of UX Designers, Prototypers, Illustrators and Animators who operate as a rapid response unit of user experience. Meet the team
When Bat-El Sebbag was tasked with building a new multidisciplinary UX group at Wix in 2017, she didn’t have to think too much before she came up with its name – the Hive. “Our name isn’t accidental. The group is made of strong professionals who go out to work at different parts of Wix and then return to the Hive at the end of the day. Just like busy bees”, Bat-El smiles.
The Hive is an 18-employee team located at the core of the UX group at Wix. “We have people from four different professions – UX designers, illustrators, animators, and prototypers. They all work closely with anyone needing UX services, and that gives us a unique perspective of knowing everything that goes on at Wix”, Bat-El explains.
Hive team members join groups and teams across Wix and help them with specific UX challenges that might come up during the products’ development process. As professionals in their fields and as those who also have a broad perspective of Wix, their time in a group or a team can significantly shorten development times and align processes.
What unites all Hive team members regardless of their professional affiliation, is the basic challenge of rapidly switching between different products, people and teams. “We’re looking for people who thrive when they’re being challenged, and who are dynamic in their nature”, Bat-El says. “You’ll work for six months on products in a certain company and then you’ll need to say goodbye and move on to your next project. It means that you’re always creating relationships with teams and then having to jump to the next thing, so it can be tough”.
The other side of this coin is that the Hive’s team members gain a deep understanding of all of Wix – products, work methods, people. “After a few years with us, every person on the team has a much richer resume than the one they’ve started with. We do very diverse things here. We’re a dynamic and professional unit, but we’re not mercenaries who take any project. We’re there to supply value”, Bat-El states.
UX Designers: diversity and dynamic pace
Or Bellash is leading a team of 5 UX designers within the Hive. UX designers determine the overall user experience of any product – how it functions and looks, how it’s being interacted with, and how it makes people think and feel when they use it.
He says that what sets the Hive’s UX designers from their counterparts elsewhere at Wix is the diversity of projects they’re involved with and the dynamic pace in which they operate. “We're brought into different groups and we’re able to produce high-quality results in relatively short time. Our people need to have the ability to learn quickly, communicate well, build trust and give great value to whichever team they join.
“In addition, we have our own ‘home base’. Working in a multidisciplinary environment allows us to exchange ideas and knowledge not only with fellow UX designers, but also with professionals from other UX-related fields. This makes our work very interesting”.
What do you like best about what you do?
“I like the fact that our work is diverse, dynamic and one that has great influence. Each project and team we work with are different, which holds new and exciting opportunities every time. When we leave a group and carry on to the next project, we leave great work behind us - something that we brought to the group and stays with them. It’s very rewarding”.
UX Prototypers: understanding the experience
Shahar Mor heads a two-person prototyping team at the Hive. Prototypers are UX-oriented developers who are tasked with building models of products on the design stage. “These models, which we call prototypes, help the product team to make better decisions before going into production”, Shahar explains.
Code-based prototypes allow the team members to play around with the design of the product and feel its behavior. “Using a prototype in the process allows us to have a concrete debate over the product’s vision, present our ideas to different stakeholders, and test our design with real users”, Shahar says.
In addition, prototypes allow the team to change and improve decisions in the early stage of the process, and save time and effort. “For example, recently we tested a new product with real users using prototypes. This helped us to resolve 66 UX issues in the product before it was sent to production. Think about the back and forth we saved between the developers and the designers”, she explains.
Although prototypes can help the team in creating better products and features, we don’t use code-based prototypes for every project and not every Wix product needs an in-house prototyper. “This is where the Hive comes in. We get requests for prototypes from different groups at Wix, and we help them to better understand the experience and feel of their designs and flows. The cool thing is that our prototypers can do a project for Wix Stores, then move to Wix Bookings or the Editor, and in the process gain lots of sharable knowledge and perspective. That makes us involved in many Wix products, their users, needs and challenges. It’s very interesting, and in order to do that, on top of coding abilities, prototypers need to have a passion for the UX world, strong communication skills, and be problem solving driven”.
Illustrators and animators: aligned visual messages
Shay Zucker, the Hive’s UX Illustrators team leader, says that illustrations in the UX world are visual messages meant to accompany and guide the users on their journey, and to make tasks and decision making faster and easier for them. “Having an illustration appear next to a complex message, can ease the users' experience; hitting a dead end and receiving a ‘no search results’ message can become a lot less frustrating with a charming illustration next to it. In the same way - adding an engaging and meaningful animated loader that hints at what the system will do for you while it loads, makes the wait much more pleasant and even fun. That’s the idea”.
“Being a horizontal team means that we get to work with over 170 UX Designers from all over Wix, and for that, we need to have a broad perspective”, Shay explains. “The solutions we make need to be aligned with the fact that Wix is an international company and the illustrations and animations need to be clear for everyone regardless of their location or culture, while also being used in many different products and platforms. On top of that, we work with many stakeholders from all over Wix to create cross-platform solutions so that our ever-evolving illustration system and language remain consistent and efficient.
“Illustrators and animators - who are creative people – find the combination of creativity and product building very appealing, and those are the people we’re looking for. Wix in general is not a ‘square’ tech company, our core product is very creative by itself. There are lots of people to learn from here. I think that people understand that, but when we interview candidates and we explain what they’ll be doing here as illustrators or animators, I really notice the spark in their eyes”.
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