Summer of 16 at Samsung R&D
Having spent my previous two summers in Mumbai, I was initially a bit skeptical, that Bangalore can’t be as good as Mumbai. But, opinions change and two awesome trips, an incredible time at Samsung and 63 days later I found my solace in the city of gardens.
A bit about myself
I was born and brought up in Tripura and just like all Bengali kids, my first encounter with art was at a very tender age in the form of tabla and then fine arts. I practised both of them for 4 years with utmost dedication but without having the slightest hint that one day, one of them will help me in what I will choose as my career. That’s how life is, full of surprises!
From Engineering to Design
Design for me has been about the journey of discovery. My passion for design is driven by the curiosity to solve complex problems with solutions so simple that they seem inadvertently intuitive.
Around four years ago, I passed the IIT-JEE examination: the dream of every typical Indian parent. Soon after that, I joined the Earth Science Dept. at IIT Roorkee. Once in college, I joined various college clubs, magazine groups and re-kindled my love for writing. For the first time, after two grinding years in Kota, I got the opportunity to reflect on what I loved doing and I guess it was then that the right brained child locked in me, finally snuck out. I started designing posters & merchandise for these clubs and also for the college fests. But, it was only after joining SDSLabs that I got the direction in UX and UI Design.
Over the past four years, I got to work with some of the coolest people in the tech industry and it has helped me to see the world from a new perspective.
Why & how Samsung R&D?
As an engineering student I was always intrigued by the scope of IoT and connected devices. And the designer in me screamed to explore the less explored path of UX Design for IoT, to create a tranquil synergy with home environments.
Samsung Research Institute Bangalore (SRIB) is one of the few R&D Centres in the world which focuses extensively on UX Research for IoT and connected devices. And the fact that Samsung is the market leader in consumer products amplifies the scope of the entire project.
I applied at Samsung R&D Bangalore off-campus, through the company’s website in November 2015. Following this, I had one round of Skype interview with the Sr. Designers at Samsung. The next day I was notified about my selection for the internship position in UX Design. The entire process was very smooth and took around a week.
What I worked on
I completed two major projects at SRIB. One was on Samsung Smart Hub/Smart TV and the other was on Tizen OS.
In the Smart TV project, initially I had to propose 15 unique problem statements focusing on daily home scenarios with suitable solutions for them. Then out of the 15 problem statements, I had to choose one and create multiple models of solutions for it and finally present the best possible solution. To understand the pain points of users pertaining to TV viewing experience, perception and comfort of IoT, use of smart devices & wearables I had to conduct quantitative and qualitative UX Research. Based on the data acquired from the research, I chose to design a system to automatically detect when a user falls asleep while watching TV using wearables/smart watch and turn off the TV to save electricity and allow sound sleep. I will discuss the projects in details in a separate blogpost.
As part of the Tizen OS project, I had to propose USP ideas for the Tizen phones to be released in July, 2017. As these phones are mainly targeted towards people shifting from feature phones to smartphones for the first time, this project demanded the creation and extensive study of different user personas who will be using this phone on daily basis. Based on the user needs derived from the interviews and other research findings, I proposed a few ideas. Finally, 2 of my ideas were selected and proposed to the Korea HQ and hopefully will translate as USP of the next generation Tizen phones.
Apart from the major projects I had participated in UX Research for S-Voice and had conducted User Surveys to understand the Indian mobile market.
During breaks, I tried my hands at foosball. And guess what, I loved every bit of it.
The overall work experience was good. The work hours are generally flexible and depend on the team you work with. The UX Design team had the privilege of the pilot program where we had to complete 45 hours weekly and there was no issue of daily work hours.
Takeaways from these 2 months
Internships are great time for networking and getting to know people who will inspire you throughout your life.
These 2 months in Bangalore have been one the most enriching periods for me so far. I got to meet and exchange ideas with some of the best minds from the Indian tech industry.
One such meeting was with Srivatsan Chari, co-founder of ClearTax (the first India startup to be backed by Y Combinator). Seeing him hustle with his team in the office and then spending an hour with him in a Bangalore pub was enough to feel the motivation oozing from Srivatsan.
Another fruitful meeting was through UXProject — Masterclass where I got to meet with some of the most awesome designers from UrbanLadder, Zeta and Pensaar.
It was again at the Old Airport road office of Intel India, that the 3rd session of UX Masterclass was held on May 14th…medium.com
The folks at Razorpay had called for IIT Roorkee Bangalore meetup with a focus on promoting entrepreneurship among IIT-R students.
At Samsung I got to work with some of the most experienced people in the industry. It was one of the best learning experiences I have had so far.
The solo trips taught me about the essentials and basics of life. It taught me to break the self-imposed parameters and know myself better as there was no one to remind me who I was “supposed” to be.
The trips with friends taught me to value your true friends for they are only ones apart from your parents, who will stay with you through thick and thin.
And last but not the least, one of the biggest takeaways was the Pre Placement Offer (PPO). The good folks at Samsung R&D were kind enough to give me the opportunity to join them as Sr. Designer after college.
The road ahead
I have come back to IIT Roorkee to finish my dissertation and the remaining one year in college. I intend to use this period to explore more in design and push my limits.
Apart from the side projects during weekends and some freelance work I am working towards building a stronger Mozilla India Community and will be contributing more in this direction.