Hi, I’m MJ Parnell. I love solving wicked hard design problems.

UX designer and researcher currently based in London Shanghai Sydney.

Itinerant British designer, working on incident management and DevOps at Atlassian.

Over the years I’ve designed experiences that have touched the lives of millions and have run research across five continents. For me, good design isn’t about fancy deliverables, arcane processes or esoteric jargon. The best design needs a few simple ingredients – thoughtful observation followed by collaborative problem-solving, astute decision making and tireless attention to details.

I’ve had a few different lives in my time in product design. I began as a dedicated UX researcher, running user tests and contextual inquiries all over the world. Wanting a little more ownership over the experiences my work covered, I made the leap to design at SapientNitro. Working at a fast-paced digital agency gives you a good sense of how to deliver great work promptly, but I still missed a sense of ownership.

My next jump was thus client side, helping a large education company improve its digital English teaching products, and managing a team of designers in Shanghai. Being able to follow products, improving upon them and seeing the impact you’re having in the analytics, was much more satisfying.


Running a design thinking exercise for the Atlassian Foundation.


At Atlassian, I manage an internationally distributed team of designers focused on incident management and DevOps products. These include Opsgenie and Statuspage. My time at Atlassian has also seen me work on Jira mobile, Jira software and Jira Ops. Needless to say, this has given me a few good insights into how developers work, as have my years working with them in agile teams.

My work at Atlassian has been a reflection of what I’ve learned from my previous roles. I’ve planned multi-phase research projects for Jira’s mobile apps, helping to direct product strategy for them. I identified, tested and delivered iterative improvements to Jira’s navigation. I led the design of a new Jira product, Jira Ops. This involved running research into what was a novel domain for Atlassian (incident management) as well as helping to define its feature set, core user journeys and interaction design to a tight deadline. It was a busy few months.

Research has been at the core of everything I’ve done. I’m always running quick, iterative user tests –  early and often. There’s nothing more important, though, in regular customer exposure time. I’ve always tried to make research a team activity to this end, roping in Devs, PMs and a whole cast of characters in my customer interviews and user tests. Makes it so much easy to later explain your design decisions to the team.

When I’m not sketching (or Sketch-ing) I spend an inordinate amount of time taking photos and learning about dinosaur paleobiology (hence my Twitter handle).

You can also find me around the web






MJ ParnellHome