Aug 7, 2022
Meet Annu-Maaria, Principal Designer at Wolt
At Wolt, design is at the heart of everything we ship. 💙 It’s in our DNA to craft delightful, finessed experiences for our customers. Our designers are problem-solvers. They truly shine in simplifying complex systems into thoughtful, polished user experiences that are grounded in real-world use problems and business needs.
We had a chat with Annu-Maaria, one of our Principal Designers at Wolt. Let’s hear more from her.
Hello 👋 Tell us a little bit about yourself and what do you do at Wolt?
I’m a Principal Designer in our consumer team. I’ve been at Wolt for five years, and have worked with a variety of products from operational tools to our courier and merchant apps. For the last three years, I’ve worked mainly with Wolt’s consumer app. I’m a UX designer, so my work varies from getting involved early in the conceptual phase, to understanding requirements and gathering user needs, to developing initial concepts, to validating concepts with end-users, and working together with product and motion designers to make the product usable for the end-users.
Why did you decide to join Wolt?
I knew one of the founders, Elias, already beforehand, and I’d been following Wolt's interesting journey from a distance since the beginning. When Laura, our recruiter, contacted me, I got really excited about the idea of joining a start-up phase company. There were some signs of the great potential in the food delivery business already in the air at that time, and I had a feeling this could be something interesting to be part of. To be honest, I also had the feeling that I didn’t know for sure where this path would take me – but it sure looked like an exciting adventure to join. And how right I was about that. 😁
How has the experience been working with so many teams? Are they significantly different?
Yes, they’re very different! On the operational side our end users are Wolt employees — people working in our support and operations teams. As a UX designer, I was able to just walk into the room where the end-users sat and show my initial concepts or sketches for getting direct feedback. Plus our end-users were always excited to see what we were cooking on the product side because they will be working with the tool on the daily basis. It was really exciting!
On the merchant side, to get close to the end-users, we visited totally different environments — restaurants and cafes. It was a really eye-opening experience to talk with the restaurant owners and staff to understand their world better.
Now with our consumer app, it’s again a new context — with millions of users to serve and a world-class competition for the business. In addition to getting that qualitative feedback, there’s now more and more need to combine that with a quantitative approach. So it’s not only about talking to users anymore, it’s about following the data and seeing what consumers actually do once we’ve released a new feature. It has become a central part of understanding if we’ve reached the goal we’ve set for the feature beforehand.
Among all the projects, what are the most interesting challenges you’ve worked on?
There are so many, it’s a really tough question! I love logical problem-solving, and almost everything we do is about solving very challenging design problems. But maybe I could mention, working on our merchant app, which is the Wolt app that our restaurant and retail partners use. The challenge was that venues were getting more and more orders all the time, and they started having challenges in handling them with the previous merchant app version. We needed to redesign the app to enable the venues to handle the increasing number of Wolt orders while they were busy preparing food for the hungry customers. We visited many restaurants in many different countries. The fun thing was that while interviewing and observing the restaurant staff using our new prototypes, we also got to taste great food! 🤩 Being a Wolt employee usually also means that you’re enthusiastic about new food experiences.
At the moment, one of the most interesting projects that I’m working on together with designers and product leads from different teams is exploring the shift of Wolt from food delivery to the delivery of everything. We’re brainstorming how to transform the Wolt app into an app that’s part of people’s everyday life for ordering anything they may need. One of the most creative parts of being a designer in a product company is to envision the future of a product or service regarding how it should look and feel like in a year, or even five years from now.
What do you consider as the nicest piece of customer feedback you or your team has received?
For a UX designer, all feedback is welcome, as it’s part of our job to collect and listen to it — no matter if constructive or appraising. Nevertheless, when we’re working with new features, I think the nicest feedback we can get is to see people commenting on social media that they love Wolt 💙. To give a specific example, for a very long time our consumers had been asking for filtering and sorting tools for our restaurant lists, and once we finally were able to release them, there were a lot of people commenting how they love those new filtering tools. That felt very rewarding!
In three words how would you describe the design/design team at Wolt?
Multi-talented, ambitious, and detail-oriented. I’d also add ‘friendly’ and ‘awesome’, if we can extend the number of words. 😊
What makes you motivated to come to work everyday?
I’m working with some of the best people — talented designers, product leads, developers in Europe, if not in the world. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone saying at Wolt that “we can’t do it because we don’t know how to, or we don’t have the skills to do it”. It’s always “let’s do it the best way we can.” This kind of an attitude motivates me a lot.
Any tips to recharge yourself after work?
Sports have always been very important to me, and being in nature gives me a lot of energy. So I do lots of walking and running in the forest. During the pandemic, I’ve also increased the number of my indoor plants — to create a nicer working from home environment. 😉 🪴