Meet Rannie — Coupang UX Design leader
Over the years, Coupang has released apps and services at a massive pace and practiced creative and innovative ways to wow the customer.
Coupang’s designers, researchers, and content strategists have been improving customer experience to respond swiftly to the ever-changing customer needs.
We met with UX Design leader Rannie, who is at the forefront of improving customer experience, to learn about the UX org and its visions.
Nice to meet you, Rannie. Would you please introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m Rannie. I’m a UX Design Director for the Emerging Business and Design Foundations UX org at Coupang. I’ve been in Coupang and Korea for about a year now. Prior to moving here, I worked at some major tech companies and startups in Silicon Valley.
Before joining Coupang, I led the design and research teams at a two-sided local services marketplace and before that, I led the search and internationalization research teams at a large social networking company. I like to say that Coupang is where my two passions in online marketplaces and global markets mix and combine.
Whenever I think about my career path, I try to be guided by two values: Learning and Adventure. I chose Coupang because I saw it as an opportunity to not only grow in my career, but to push beyond my immediate comfort zone. It’s one thing to build products in a familiar market, but if you want to really accelerate and test your expertise and leadership skills, try it in another culture and language. I’ve already learned so much from our teams and user base about Korean culture and the East Asian market and we’ve only gotten started. I moved to Korea having never visited the country before, and I’m so glad I did.
I am glad to hear that you learned so much from teams and new experiences. Can you also introduce your work? What does it entail?
In general, the goal of UX is to solve problems that customers face in their everyday lives. For our teams, this means we take a close look at their pain points and build solutions and tools to address those pain points. For example, for Coupang Eats, we think deeply about how we can make food delivery a WOW customer, driver, and merchant experience. This doesn’t just mean a simple app for customers to order from, but we consider all the ways to provide the best quality of restaurant selection, exceed expectations for fast, accurate, and safe delivery times, and partner with merchants to provide the best deals. Our goal is to take a customer-centered approach to serve our communities. This means we design experiences that help bridge both online and offline interactions.
You mentioned you are leading the Emerging Business and Design Foundations UX org at Coupang. Can you elaborate a bit more on these teams?
I currently lead the Emerging Business and Design Foundations UX teams at Coupang. Within the Emerging Business teams, we design the end-to-end product experiences for the company’s “big bets” or investment opportunities, such as Coupang Eats and Merchant Solutions. In Design Foundations, our Design Systems team builds the components and assets that help scale and power our products and our Brand Experience teams ensure we carry out our brand values and identity.
Since the UX organization is solving problems that customer face, we believe you faced many challenges yet achieved successes. What is the most memorable success for you?
One of the early, successful initiatives in our UX team was the transition away from a centralized “agency” model to a more decentralized embedded model. Rather than assign designers here and there as requests came in, we worked with our product and engineering partners to fully dedicate designers to key taskforces. This structure provided more stability and predictability for the whole organization, while also allowing designers to continuously develop their expertise and lead key customer experiences end-to-end.
Our teams have now been operating more effectively and efficiently ever since. Since there was continuity in the iterations and the knowledge base of the team, this ultimately led to improved product outcomes as well.
What makes Coupang so special to make these successes?
One characteristic of Coupang and our teams here is that we’re incredibly resilient. We face challenges head-on and always adapt. In fact, one of our key leadership principles is “Aim High and Find a Way” and this means that we set a high bar for our goals but also work hard to deliver results. You can see this resiliency in our dawn delivery, global expansion efforts, and Cheetah deliveries.
For your next great achievement, as a leader, what’s your vision for Coupang Design?
I’ll try to keep this simple. Our vision for the team is to (1) continue to invest in our people, their careers, and their skillsets, (2) build products that solve real customer needs, and (3) pursue these goals in a way that’s scalable and something we’re proud of. The bottom line is we’re building world-class products with world-class people.
For successful design, where do you look for creative inspiration? Is there any part of Coupang that inspires you?
For creative inspiration, I wander. I like visiting new areas and just walk around without a particular destination in mind. I love accidentally discovering new restaurants, parks, local shops, or acquaintances. Then I’ll usually journal about my observations or experiences. Having this unstructured time and space allows my mind to embrace novelty and think more creatively.
One of my favorite meetings at Coupang is our “UX Jam,” where anyone on the team can bring a topic to brainstorm or a problem to tackle. It’s a collaborative time for the team to offer feedback, ask questions, and learn from each other. I find these moments of curiosity and problem solving as a unified team to be inspiring and fulfilling as a leader.
It must be important to build a talented team. How do you identify and train young design talent?
I look at three fundamental areas when thinking about talent.
(1) Craft: How is their design skill? What tradeoffs are they considering? How are they defining the problem? Does the solution match?
(2) Collaboration and Communication: How are they as a team member? Can they provide quality feedback? How do they receive feedback? Are they able to persuade others? It’s one thing to create elegant designs, but can they collaborate with others to bring the solution to life?
(3) Grit: How resilient is this person? How do they face difficult challenges? Do they demonstrate an indomitable spirit to “Aim High and Find a Way”?
I find that individuals who spike in these areas are inevitable rising stars. We train them by providing hands-on coaching, a range of experiences to apply their skills in different contexts, and overall give them a challenging, yet supportive environment to learn and thrive.
What would you like to say to prospective applicants who want to join the journey at Coupang?
We can chat anytime. From career growth to innovative problems, to international markets, to collaborative teams, if any of this excites you, please reach out. Our UX team is rapidly growing and we’re hiring designers, researchers, content strategists, and design ops.
Coupang Design is powered by world-class creative talents and there are many opportunities to create experiences wowing our customers across the globe. If you are ready to embrace the challenge and growth, please come and join our journey.