published on
May 3, 2023

A chat with Zahra Siddiquia, Lead Product Designer

Ella Moody
posted on
Life at Florence
A chat with Zahra Siddiquia, Lead Product Designer

This week on Behind the Scenes we're talking to Zahra, our Lead Product Designer..  

Zahra joined us just over a month ago and is loving everyone's passion so far. Read on to find out more about being a product designer at Florence.

Who are you and what do you do at Florence? 

I’m Zahra, and as of a month ago I’ve joined as Lead Product Designer at Florence. I come from a background in design but the design industry has changed quite drastically in the last decade or so. 

When I first started out, it was like “you build a website, logos, graphics and brand identity” which I loved doing, but it was very much about aesthetics and visuals and how flashy a website could look. 

I was very reluctant to deliver things that wouldn’t increase conversion or drive response rates i.e. nobody wants to go to a website and see a splash page before you can actually enter the website! I felt like that quite early on, and slowly as the industry started to shape up in different ways, there came an understanding of actually how important user experience is and how important data-driven design actually is, and empathising with your users and personas. 

For the most recent part of my career, I’ve been working with SaaS applications. My previous role was very data centric, it was around communicating pharmaceutical commercial insights. So when I interviewed for Florence, one of the things I was really keen to do was to take complexities and make them effortless, i.e. make things for our workers' day-to-day lives that little bit less challenging. 

Our workers already have roles that are quite intense, they’re unsung heroes. The aim is to come and take away some of the complexity in their day-to-day lives, when they’re trying to manage their shifts and get paid. Likewise for care homes as well, trying to make that admin side of things easier and where we can, bring in user delight too. 

What made you want to join Florence? 

There are quite a few things; firstly, designing something that will go into the hands of people doing work that really matters. They’re out here doing work that is incredibly meaningful and purposeful, so I find that really rewarding. 

Also, the stage that the company is at at the moment is incredibly exciting, because there’s so much potential for growth. Already, a month in, I can see so much promise and everyone is really excited and there’s this mutual sense of ‘we’re a team and we’re going places and we share a vision and an understanding’. 

That brings me onto the other thing that made me want to join; at interview stage, everyone that I spoke to was really passionate about their role within Florence and it seemed like everyone felt quite fulfilled and heard in the role that they were in. My interviews at Florence were like conversations, they didn’t really feel like interviews, it just felt really chilled out which made me feel like ‘everyone has a really cool understanding of each other and a great culture’. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? 

There’s quite a lot of good advice out there! 

I don't have a specific quote but it would be something about “always taking opportunities that you feel in your gut you could benefit from and/or contribute to”. A lot of people I talk to, such as my friends, they’ll be in a profession that they’re not enjoying and perhaps they want to try out something different or a new skill. 

Quite often, there’s a sense of imposter syndrome or the fear of ‘if I take a risk, will I regret it’? It’s very rare that you’ll regret trying something out. 

Try it, adapt to it, be open-minded and see what lessons you can learn from it. 

Most of the time you’ll come out of that experience richer. Even reflecting back on being a designer, there’s so many different things that I’ve tried and taken massive calculated risks and it’s always been rewarding; I’ve always gone ‘I’m really glad I did that, if I didn’t try it I wouldn’t have got XYZ out of it’. So be ambitious! 

What’s your favourite thing about working at Florence? 

So far it’s the passion. Everyone I speak to is really passionate and takes ownership of the work they’re doing, and is very open to collaboration. 

I’ve been here for a month now and I've had conversations with various departments, and no one is negatively gatekeeping what they’re doing, everyone is just like “How can we make it better? How can we merge forces and make this even stronger, and what directions can we drive this in?”

Also, what I really love about Florence is there’s this culture of ‘I want to learn and develop my skills further’ and everyone I speak to usually has something they’re looking into and wants to sharpen their skills in. 

I love that, I think that’s really important in any organisation and is really promising. 

What’s the biggest challenge that Florence is facing at the moment? 

I think the biggest challenge will be growth, because it naturally comes with growing pains. As we start to launch internationally, we’ll see a lot of unprecedented requirements that can’t always be seen beforehand until we’ve gone into the environment and started to adapt. 

That actually really excites me from a product designer standpoint, as it makes me reflect on gaining an even deeper understanding about our users, and opens up a whole world of opportunity where we can really establish ourselves as a company. 

What’s a fun fact about you that might surprise us? 

I’m always keen to learn new things, and at the moment I’m really focused on learning Arabic. I find it really fulfilling and I do it purely for the joy it gives me. 

It’s such an interesting language, there’s seven different dialects! The one I’m learning covers the Levantine area which is Syria, Jordan etc. It’s got a poetic vibe to it and I love that. 

What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking about joining Florence?

Buckle up for the ride! It’s going to be a good one. 

Have ideas and be open minded, take in an understanding of the company and embrace the culture. 

Where do you see Florence in five years’ time? 

I think Florence will have established itself as the go-to platform for shift management in healthcare. We’ll be able to cater to a whole range of roles and use cases and probably with some interesting sub-offerings too, especially as we expand our reach globally.

If you want to join the Florence adventure, we’re hiring! Check out our open roles here.

Keep reading