Things I learned during my summer as a UX Research Intern in a Design Agency
I spent the past 3 months of summer interning with the UX Research and Design group at GoKart Labs. GoKart Labs is a digital product studio, consultancy, and ventures lab that works alongside clients to invent, design and build experiences. This is my story about the impact of GoKart’s supportive work culture, gaining creative confidence, along with lots and lots of post-it notes 🗒.
Going into my first day at GoKart Labs, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had never heard of GoKart Labs before I started my internship search to find all the companies I could apply at. In fact, I had never seen the GoKart Labs office before until the very first day of my internship (and what a beautiful office it is 🏢). I was in a new city that I’d never been to (Minneapolis ❤). I got myself an apartment and even a bike 🚴🏻♂️ to get to work (have to do my part in saving the environment).
Despite a lot of variables and hesitance, I feel so privileged that I got the chance to work at GoKart Labs. Their supportive culture allowed me to be myself and do my best work. From day one, I was never treated as a measly intern but always treated like a valuable employee. People talked to me via their authentic self, not a corporate version of their personality which made me feel all the more comfortable. The culture of the organization was very welcoming and amiable, making it much harder to say goodbye to everyone when the time finally came at the end of my internship.
This supportive, authentic culture helped me develop a unique perspective on working with different teams. Before my internship, I had done many group projects. After each project, I could always pinpoint how my ideas impacted the final outcome. I always cared more about MY role as an individual within a team. I felt different while working with the teams at GoKart Labs. I never thought about just my individual contributions. It didn’t matter whether I came up with an idea or my coworker did. Our teams were focused on building a great product TOGETHER. That was all that mattered. With the trust and support of my coworkers, I didn’t feel the constant need to prove myself.
Gained Creative Confidence
In a period of 10 weeks, I participated in many different creative sessions and was a part of the design sprints and brainstorming sessions. Sketching scenarios and personas, working on wireframes and prototypes, conducting user research and loads of user testing — that’s what my days looked like. I could clearly see the impact of our research and designs on real users. Thus, I started to trust the creative process. I made a perception that if I give myself all in and dive deep into the creative process with zero hesitation, I will get the desired results. If results don’t come right away, there’s always a next time!
Gokart Labs has different teams (with some awesome-sauce names 🎨) working with different clients. Each team has a different process but each team keeps the user at the forefront and center. I worked with different teams at Gokart Labs and I got the opportunity to be able to take ownership of my work and drive changes for the client that I was working with. My coworkers supported me as I explored new ideas and performed crazy experiments that I might not have had the chance to participate in back at university. They even encouraged me to fail as often (and quickly) as possible in order to improve 💪🏼and become better over time.
User Centered Design
While working with different teams, I did a lot of user testing and research with different clients in healthcare vertical and each interview and usability test gave our teams valuable insights.
I always thought my idea of how people interact with interfaces was pretty advanced. I thought sketching out an idea for ages before creating a prototype would ensure that a user wouldn’t miss it. Guess what? I was wrong.
Watching users walk through your design is nerve-wracking and eye-opening. You will spot glaring errors in your design in moments and, before you know it, post-its containing user insights will cover every wall. I’ve seen users misunderstand propositions entirely, miss huge calls to action, and ignore clear basic microscopy. People tell stories which we can never accurately predict.
My 10 weeks at GoKart not only allowed me to grow personally, but also helped me to gain new skills in user research and customer relationships — an experience that I did not previously have. I feel like GoKart Labs was the perfect first step in my UX career path. With the support of my team and this newfound confidence to explore, I was able to experiment and grow my skills across a number of different projects. With this internship experience, I took part in understanding and contributing to how user experience design is implemented in the world today.