In our series of ‘meet the team’ interviews, we chat with Lauren Anning, Senior UX/UI Designer.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am Devon girl, born and bred with a love of the great outdoors, sports and anything creative, especially baking. (Scones are an obvious speciality!) I grew up in the beautiful South Hams, spending most of my childhood running around creating havoc outdoors or being arty and creating mayhem indoors!
Having enjoyed Art, Maths and PE at school, I chose to study Sports Technology at Loughborough University. The course covered a broad range of subjects, from Engineering Mathematics to Marketing, Product Design to Sports Biomechanics. In short, I was allowed to rip apart trainers, try to break golf clubs and play with 3D printers!
I was also lucky enough to take a placement year, working at PUMA's headquarters in Germany as a Footwear Development intern. I loved living in Germany. I really admired the Germans’ approach to life. Taking time off work was serious business; not even the traffic lights outside my flat worked on a Sunday! And having a proper German beer straight after hockey training – pitch-side in the sunshine – was bliss!
After graduating, I joined a small though highly innovative sports product company called Rugged Interactive in Cornwall (as a Devon girl, blasphemy I know!) I played a part in pretty much all business ventures, including product development, production logistics and digital marketing. It was also where I first dabbled in UI/UX design. (Check out my 15 minutes of fame when we appeared on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den!)
After a few years of surviving a long-distance relationship with my other half, I moved to Hampshire to be with him in 2017. I joined Jobsite as a Print and Digital Designer, where I honed my graphic design skills. But looking for a greater challenge, I started exploring the world of UI and UX design.
What attracted you to join Alliants?
Alliants were looking to grow their UX team around the time I was looking for that “greater challenge”. You could just tell that they were ambitious in their future business plans but still retained a very personal hands on approach to staff wellbeing. Every person I spoke to was so friendly, easy going and open to just having a chat. There was a sense that there would be room for growth and freedom to dabble in lots of different business areas, whilst still having a corporate structure. The culture at Alliants is everything I stand for: if you want it, go and get it!
What are some of your passions?
You guessed it – sports! I captain Trojans Hockey Club in the National League and can often be found exploring the local area, either running or cycling. I also love a bit of baking, gardening, upcycling and DIY.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
My Mum! Allowing me to get my creative juices going at an early age, always encouraging me to problem solve and providing all the materials needed, actual and emotional, to create. And always inspiring me to just do what I enjoyed.
What is a great day off for you?
Waking up early with the sun beaming. Getting out in the fresh air. Exploring somewhere new. Lots of good food and drinks and being with my friends and family.
What’s been your best travel experience?
That’s so hard to say! As a kid, I was incredibly lucky to spend most summer holidays camping in the South of France. We also visited Sharm El-Sheikh and Florida with some really special memories; including snorkeling in the Red Sea, and seeing a manatee in the wild in Sarasota. Though travelling around Portugal with a couple of girlfriends after leaving school – at the time – felt like the biggest adventure!
And finally… Your best travel tip?
Pack light! There isn’t always somewhere safe to store your luggage, and there’s nothing worse than carrying a hefty bag around with you when visiting somewhere new. Packing a small, light bag gives you so much more freedom to explore and be spontaneous!