Developing Stages: Part 2 — Going Donuts for Animation

Chronicles of an interaction design student turned UI engineering intern.

Week 2, Day 1: For the Love of Research

Week 2 begins with an assignment: a new website design. Other than the manager’s initial thoughts nothing has been decided so it’s off to gather research to pin down a style and flesh out feature ideas.

Observations:

  • Think research is a university thing that can be avoided once you get out in the ‘real world’? Think again. It’s better to get into the habit early and enjoy it (I found so many interesting websites that have zero to do with brief but are going on my personal web designs of awesomeness list).
  • When trying to pin down a style, a range of research is much more helpful than only choosing what you think the client wants.

Week 2, Day 2: The Quest for Free Donuts

It’s the 4th of July! The American side of the company may be away but we’re still here. As a concession to the holiday, the canteen is festooned with star spangled paraphernalia and free donuts (jammy, no less!) are floating around so that solves the morning tea break conundrum after compiling yesterday’s research on GitHub.

Then it’s time to review the research with the manager and other UI Engineers to determine what direction to go from here. What remains of the day is dedicated to my next assignment: designing the logo.

Observations:

  • Hearing the UI team critique interfaces and rant about hamburger menus is both entertaining and insightful during your research presentation (note to self: no hamburgers).
  • Get ideas down visually at an early stage, no matter how rough and messy.

Week 2 Day 3: Sketching the Day Away

The few idea sprints from yesterday crammed with hasty notes and roughly sketched symbols payoff in a casual morning chat about the logo with the manager. Presenting a range of ideas, it’s plain they want to go in the more technical direction so I focus on that while sketching new ideas and further iterations.

After another research presentation and looking at different UI trends in the industry, it’s back to the sketchbook. By the end of the day, I’m able to receive input on the further iterations of several logo designs and continue developing the best of the bunch.

Observations:

  • There are so many things to consider when designing a logo it can melt your brain.
  • Don’t expect to be told everything, sometimes you have to figure out what they want through a process of reviews, ideas, and input.

Week 2, Day 4: The Little Things

Another all day research session, this time focusing on the specifics of micro-interactions and animation. Between compiling those links and notes and developing the logo, the day is over before I even realise.

Observations:

  • It’s both challenging and exhilarating to craft a style for the site via micro-interactions. Normally I wouldn’t do this until I had a better idea of the overall website design so it’s an interesting change.
  • SVG animation would be so much simpler if IE worked.

Week 2, Day 5: Meet the Managers

Friday morning and a visit to the market for the weekly check-in with the manager. I know where I’m going from now on for Friday lunches.

Then it’s back to the desk to explore the magic of Greensock and attempt the most basic of SVG animations (hey, it may not look amazing but at least the shapes moved independently). By the end of the day it’s finally time for our official introduction to some of the American managers via video chat. And because it’s a Friday, the day ends early for us and it’s off to meet up with other interns and friends for ice cream.

Observations:

  • SVG animations are amazing. I must work out how to conquer Greensock.
  • Why have a Friday without ice cream?