Developing Stages: Part 12 — Until Next Time

Chronicles of an interaction design student turned UI engineering intern.

Week 12, Day 1: Looking Back (and Ahead)

The final week dawns but that doesn’t mean work is slowing. Cross browser testing begins in earnest, rooting out the inconsistencies and figuring out how to work around the troublesome spots in everyone’s favourite Internet Explorer.

Today also marks the final project meeting (at least for myself), which gave us an opportunity to show off the launch version for the first time and talk about what the future may look like.

Observations:

  • When it comes to presentations: distill, distill, distill.
  • Think ahead. Don’t concentrate so much on the MVP that you forget to consider future iterations, what could be improved, added, refined, etc.

Week 12, Day 2: 12 Weeks in 15 Minutes

Today is the day! Nothing like last minute refinements and indulging in a spot of visual design as we prep for the presentation this afternoon. But it’s not all work; after the exit interview it was time for lunch for which my manager and another had organised pizza in the conference room for all the interns on the floor and their teams.

Then it was time to settle in for the team offsite (complete with tray bakes. A very good day indeed!). After the introduction, Sean and I showcased our project to the whole department for the first time. Preparation paid off in the presentation and after that we were able to relax and enjoy the rest of the talks and a design thinking exercise.

Observations:

  • Always, ALWAYS, check which slack channel you’re in before you send anything.
  • Ask. Unfamiliar with that agile method? Better to ask and learn than pretend you know. It might even lead to an interesting session, as in this case when the product design manager kindly took time out to explain her scoping sessions methods to me.
  • Brian’s Sage Advice(tm): do not add anything to your project on the day of the presentation
  • User Interviews should be more organic, find out who users are and what they want. Testing needs to be systematic and ask same questions to quantify results.

Week 12, Day 3: The End Draws Nigh

Work doesn’t stop when you fill out your final timesheet. Polishing up the extras, reviewing new content, plotting out where we go from here and of course, the joys of testing in Internet Explorer.

Observations:

  • Projects don’t necessarily begin and end with your involvement. Be prepared. Format the assets, organise the files, and make sure the project is ready to go no matter what.

Week 12, Day 4: The Things We Do For Free Food (and Even Better Company)

And so it ends. Final exit admin tasks consume the morning but I can’t resist tackling the cross browser bugs one last time before I go. We drafted up a list of the problems and priorities (what’s most pressing and which fix multiple browsers), tackled the animation issues, and researched a few potential solutions for the positioning problem.

I made one last commit to the repository only to discover I no longer had access to the system. Guess that means my time here is up. But not before lunch, a GPS challenge with the interns from both offices, and complimentary dinner. All in all, not a bad finale.

Observations:

  • If you go on a GPS challenge in Ireland, it is going to rain. It’s a law of nature.
  • Coworkers who gift you drumsticks are the best kind of coworkers.

Week 12: Over and Onwards

Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. What an opportunity to experience a project from conception all the way to execution, learning new industry skills as well as practical work experience like managing your own project and interfacing with stakeholders.

Special thanks to Brian, Nicholas, James, and all the UI Engineers who were a joy to work with and without whom I couldn’t have survived React. Also the product design team: Laura, Ryan, Claire, Joe, and Melissa, who put up with my many questions and made design critiques a highlight of the week. And of course thanks to Sean, partner in crime for these three months, who somehow survived sharing a desk with me all these weeks.

The internship may be over but design never stops. Time to enjoy my week of summer and then it’s back to class!