Avinode Group / Schedaero / The Node

Raelyn Thompson – Ensuring our features flow just the way customers need them to

30 Nov 2020

There are certain characteristics that every member of the Avinode Group family possess, such as a commitment to innovation and excellence, and a belief in putting the customer first. Schedaero’s very own UX/UI designer, Raelyn Thompson, perfectly embodies these traits. We caught up with her to find out more about her role and discover that, although fairly new to the aviation industry, she has flying in her blood.

Hi Raelyn. Tell us what your role as UX/UI designer at Schedaero entails.

I work with the developers to create new features, find ways of improving existing features and update our old UI. I also talk to customers a lot, looking for new features to implement and researching aspects of the workflow that they need help with.

I’m based in Portland, Oregon, but I work closely with the UX team in Gothenburg. We’re like a little guild of UX designers who work on our own products but come together to review designs and talk. This means we have a real close collaboration portfolio-wide.

And you’ve come from an agency background.

That’s right, I spent five or six years worked in agencies. There, the focus is very much on a specific project and coming up with ideas to justify the retainer and keep the client happy. 

At Schedaero and Avinode Group, it’s all about what the customer wants, which is how it should be. When we have a new idea, we show it to operators or pilots first to get that buy-in from the customer before we proceed. We don’t want to put something out that’s of no use to them.

How else does life at Avinode Group compare to agency life?

In an agency, your fingers are in so many different pies you can’t really give anything the time it deserves. Here, we’re allowed the freedom to fully flesh out ideas. It’s much more about perfecting the feature or functionality rather than trying to get it out into the world as fast as possible.

Of course, there are still time pressures, but everything is much more focused on providing quality content for our operators and customers.

It must be great for you to have that customer contact.

I really enjoy having that relationship with customers where you can talk through ideas and hear their thoughts on what they need. As with any product design, it can take several rounds of feedback with customers and other stakeholders, but that constant back and forth is great because you actually come out with a product that’s fully formed.

What are you working on at the moment?

Right now we’re working on new features based on customer feedback. There’s a document storage project and a few different dashboards that are customizable so users can do the reporting they need for compliance.

Alongside designing things and talking with customers I’m also reviewing tester environments to make sure the UI matches what was designed and the flow makes sense. Then there’s dealing with the questions that developers throw up, which is all part of the process.

Oh, and the crew scheduling functionality is pretty close to completion also. My role in that has very much been reviewing the UI and making sure it gets over the finish line.

You’re pretty busy then?

For sure. I’m the only UX/UI designer with Schedaero and I’m also a perfectionist. So right now, the biggest challenge is making the time to do everything to the standard it deserves.

How have you found working remotely during these difficult times?

It’s been good, mainly because the communication between teams is something I’ve never seen before. Even though we have the Gothenburg office and the Miami office we’re all constantly talking. There are two customer support colleagues in Miami and I speak with them all the time to see what customers are asking for. It’s such a collaborative environment.

Outside of work, do you make the most of what Portland has to offer?

Absolutely. A lot of my time is spent outdoors. I love hiking and backpacking, but it’s a little harder to do a lot of that stuff now because of the weather, especially around the mountains. I also go wild mushroom hunting – basically traipsing through the woods looking for chanterelle and lobster mushrooms. That’s a lot of fun.

And I believe a love of aviation runs in the family too.

Yeah, I’ve got my granddad to thank for that. When I was younger, he used to build small custom airplanes, known as experimental planes. He’d roll down the cornfield, take off and fly around the neighbourhood. I used to love it and I’ve had an interest in planes and aviation ever since.

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