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Where design and research meet at Uber Freight

June 3, 2021 / Global

At Uber Freight, Product Designers, Content Designers, and Researchers create experiences that simplify the movement of goods to help communities thrive. We know that making our platform easy to use expands access to opportunities, which is why we put design at the center of everything that we do. No one knows this better than Suzanne Ginsburg, Uber Freight’s Director of Design and Research. Read on to meet Suzanne and learn how she empowers her team to build extraordinary things.

Tell us about your role as Uber Freight’s Director of Design and Research. 

“My phenomenal team is made up of Product Designers, User Experience Researchers, and Content Designers. We create experiences for all of Uber Freight’s key users—Shippers, Carriers, and Operators—and work in close collaboration with our Product, Engineering and Data Science partners. My job is to ensure that my team creates high-quality experiences for our users, which all starts with upfront research to understand their needs. Another way is through weekly team critiques where we share our work and get honest peer feedback (plus it’s a great time to bond with the team!). 

What are the most interesting challenges you need to solve?

“There is no shortage of interesting challenges to solve at Uber Freight and it’s one of the main reasons why I was excited to join the team. Two we are tackling at the moment center around system design and managing complexity. System design refers to the seamless connection and orchestration of our experiences. My team makes sure we think end-to-end across our ecosystem and take into account all of our key personas and their tasks. Managing complexity in the user experience is another challenge we face daily. Last year we launched Dedicated Lanes, which is a form of contract enabling Carriers to learn about new loads on their lanes, refine their lane preferences, and track their progress towards commitments. These are complex concepts that require continuous iteration to arrive at the best user experience possible.”  

What’s the culture like at Uber Freight?

“Uber Freight’s culture is open, supportive, and collaborative. Even though most people on the team have many years of experience behind them, they continue to exhibit a growth mindset and show an eagerness to learn and improve from each other. We also have an expansive learning and development program that provides industry-leading training for new hires and a wide range of training topics for existing team members. Beyond professional growth, there’s also a commitment to getting together for wellness and team bonding. We’re lucky to have weekly yoga and meditation sessions led by our very own professionally certified colleagues. Each team also has a morale budget which groups have used for cooking, crafts, murder mysteries and other creative activities.”

How does Uber Freight drive Diversity and Inclusion?

“Uber Freight is truly committed to Diversity and Inclusion, and it’s embedded in our decisions, activities, and people––including myself. This year I’m taking my contribution to a deeper level – I recently joined Women at Uber Freight as the executive sponsor and I’m really looking forward to supporting and collaborating with this amazing group of women and allies. Beyond channels and events, Uber Freight is committed to increasing its diversity through hiring, internal growth, and partnerships within our communities. On the community front, Uber Freight recently banded together on a very successful drive to contribute to Black Girls Code. The enthusiasm to donate was like I’ve nothing I’ve ever seen. Members of my team––most notably the amazing Alana Washington––have also made connections with the Where Are the Black Designers (WATBD) community and will be part of an upcoming ask me anything session and fireside chat. Moving forward, I want to support additional commitments to underrepresented groups such as our UberStar internship program.” 

What’s it like being a working mom and what lessons have you learned?

“When I first went back full-time after my child was born––before my role at Uber––I didn’t want to get special treatment as a parent. When meetings were scheduled in the evening, I moved things around at home since I didn’t want to disrupt the team’s flow. Within a few months, however, another person joined who had a child and I saw how evening meetings weren’t ideal for them either. Finally, I spoke up and asked that we change our meeting schedule to be more inclusive. Making the change was easy and my colleagues were very supportive. That experience made me realize that it’s important to speak up even if you think you are the only one (you probably are not!) who is negatively impacted by the status quo. 

At Uber Freight, I’ve found that everyone is mindful and respectful of parents’ needs. It’s very common to see parents blocking out time on their calendars for child drop-offs and pickups. We recently shared family work-from-home pandemic photos in a team Slack channel and it was awe-inspiring to see how everyone has managed to keep things together during these tough times.”