Working to develop the best user experience on a software platform can be tough sledding at times… Thankfully, our brilliant and witty Lead UX, Sophie Roberts, has the inquisitive nature and tenacity to craft the magical from the mundane. Her driven outlook ensures she is always pushing to knock down barriers for our users before knocking out a few laps in the pool! Keep reading below to find out more about what makes Soph tick.
Tell us a bit about yourself (personal and work life)
I started at EP just over a year ago, in the product team as a UX Lead. Before EP I spent 7 years working at a digital product and services company that worked a lot like an agency or consultancy. Working in tech wasn’t quite what I set out to do though! I actually studied Communications and International Studies at university, and originally planned on getting into book editing or publishing.
I live in Sydney, and in my spare time I like to read (mostly fiction), swim in the ocean (I live 2 minutes from the beach), cook, eat out in restaurants, perfect my negroni and martini making skills, and I also make a podcast with a good friend of mine.
Why become an EPeep?
I knew I wanted to work at a company that made a difference in people’s lives! Working at EP has been great, especially in the current pandemic situation, as I can have a real impact on the day to day experience of teachers and students. And I get to work with really smart, great people!
What are you most excited about?
I haven’t been out of Sydney since lockdown started, but I’ve got a couple of weddings happening in regional NSW and I’m as excited about those weekends as I used to get about overseas holidays!
What book(s) have been a big influence on you?
This is a hard one because I read A LOT, and narrowing down my favourites is like choosing between my (hypothetical) children.
Some recent standouts are Middlemarch by George Elliot (surprisingly it’s laugh out loud funny!), An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler (the perfect pandemic read to get you back into cooking if you’re over it) and Yellow Notebook: Diaries Volume 1 by Helen Garner (because Helen Garner is a sly genius).
What is your secret talent?
I can knit! This always surprises people for some reason. A lot of my friends are having babies in the next few months so I’ve been churning out tiny knitted hats.
What are your goals for the next 3 months? (personal and work life)
We’ve got a lot of exciting ideas for the future of the EP platform, so in the next couple of months I’m really aiming to get some good research done and start building a strong, compelling vision for the ideas we have floating around.
In my personal life I’m trying to get into running, and have actually started a writing project which I am very nervous about but want to keep plugging away at.
What is your favourite feature of the EP platform?
Honestly I’m blown away by the depth and breadth of amazing lesson content we have in our library. It’s incredible! There’s so much variety and the creativity of our instructional designers impresses me every day.
What’s a day in the life of Sophie Roberts like? (How you start your day, prioritise your workload, relax/switch off from work at the end of the day).
I like to get up and grab a coffee from the cafe on my street and take it with me for a morning walk along the coast. Then I’ll usually spend the first half of the day jumping between zoom meetings and writing a never ending to do list for the day in the breaks. One thing I’m pretty good at is having clear boundaries between my work life and my personal life. I always try to take a proper lunch break (including a sneaky swim if I’m WFH and the weather is good), and once I’m finished for the day my slack notifications turn off and I get away from the computer.
I am an AVID Google Calendar user – all my exercise classes and social activities get logged in there so I don’t forget anything! And on a normal week night I might go to a Pilates class, cook something for dinner or catch up with friends. If it’s winter, I’ll probably jump in the bathtub with a book before I head to bed.
What’s one thing that surprised you when you began working at EP?
The first time I came to the Dunedin office I couldn’t believe how big the team was! I’d been working with the much smaller Sydney team so it was awesome to realise just how many great people I’d get to learn from.
What advice would you pass on to a younger version of yourself?
Control is an illusion, you’ve just got to ride with what life throws you the best you can. Also, you should wear sunscreen every day you idiot.