My Internship Experience at Visier
Moving from a startup to a bigger company
I was fortunate enough to land a full-time job after graduation as a junior designer at a startup focusing on website design. A mere six months into my time, I came across Visier’s UX Design internship and I decided to give applying a shot. The thought of leaving my full-time job for an internship seemed terrifying, even a little crazy, but I was intent on furthering my growth in UX. With some luck, I got the offer - and accepted it. 🙆♀️
To be honest, I never had to test my resilience as a designer before working at Visier. Previously at a startup, I faced fewer obstacles to execution and was able to see the direct impact of my work, keeping me motivated and productive. The experience at Visier was much more mixed. I often had doubts about the impact of my work and my morale suffered in the early months of my internship. Over time I realized I had to keep in mind this was both an internship and a mid-sized company and adjust my expectations accordingly. After all, the main purpose of an internship is to learn from the environment, not produce as much as possible.
Visier’s products focus on using data analytics to improve human resourcing. I was part of the UX Analysis team, focusing on designing for the Analysis platform experience. I started out working on smaller projects, such as redesigning visuals and component interactions and progressed to designing feature-based end-to-end flows. I was lucky enough to work alongside multiple senior designers and learned something from each of them.
Here are the highlights of what I learned during my internship: 🌟
Getting feedback strategically — avoid the big reveal
With a 9 person design team, we often had meetings that run long when it comes to sharing complex design work, mainly due to the different opinions and levels of background knowledge in the product. I learned quickly long meetings were not the place to get feedback. Instead, I found that team members were much more constructive in their comments and receptive to my rationale when I aligned with them in smaller meetings beforehand. Doing so made big team meetings more efficient and productive since everyone were both already familiar with the content and onboard with the direction.
In addition, working in a big team taught me to be diplomatic. I learned the importance of genuinely hear out opinions, explore ideas, and balance my expectations with others’ needs rather than jumping to defend my design choices. It helped me improve my design work as well as maintain respect in professional relationships.
Applying mental models 💭
One of the most interesting projects I got to work along with my senior designer was redefining the navigation experience of the Analysis platform. It was challenging because navigation involves many dependencies and changing the structure could affect users’ perception of our platform. When we started working on this feature, I had no idea where to begin. It was difficult to understand and define the meaning of navigation in the digital space. One of the approaches I learned was to begin by forming and simulating mental models — using what we understand in real-world situations and reapplying it to a digital space. This helped us visualize abstract concepts and define interaction patterns, as well as making it easily explainable when sharing across the team.
Importance of building trust
One of the best experiences I had when it comes to working with my senior designer was the amount of trust he had in me. He gave me the freedom to try things on my own and respect every design decision I made. As a result, we would have fun meetings with healthy debates and productive conversations. Through this experience, I recognized that building trust within the team allowed us to focus on a collective, well-informed team objective, rather than solely pushing one’s own ideas into the project. It is the foundation to foster a culture of collaboration and a sense of belonging at our workplace.
Staying inspired and motivated 💡
One thing my senior designer taught me is the importance of finding meaning and purpose to stay inspired in a working environment. Instead of relying on recognition from other people or focusing on work outcomes, it is important to find out what truly matters to me in order to move forward and keep the passion strong for my job. Not only is this a valuable life lesson, but it keeps me motivated to continue pursuing my career.
Overall, my internship at Visier was a bittersweet experience. In a short period of time, it definitely shaped the way I am as a person and as a designer. I am thankful for having this opportunity as a stepping stone towards my career path and grateful to be able to meet every talented individual on the team.
Thank you to everyone for making my internship amazing —
Anthony Remizov, Grant Zou, Aileen Wang, Gabriel Yeung, Sarah Bartley, Aron Chen, and Macguire Rintoul. 🙌
Special thanks to Joshua Fan, Patrick Ly and Austin Wong for feedback and proofreading.