This year, SEEK launched the User Experience (UX) Internship. I was on the tram, on my way home from class when I got the phone call offering me the role. It was surprising and exciting all at the same time — I accepted without any hesitation.
Applying for the internship
While waiting for a friend for dinner, I was scrolling through SEEK and came across the ad for a UX Intern. I was about half way through my ten week UX design course at Academy Xi, and saved the ad immediately. I remember telling my friend that I would apply when I got home that night, as it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to sink my teeth into. I was keen to use the theory I was learning in class and apply that in a business context, in a place that would support my growth as I transitioned into UX.
Applying was a relatively straightforward process. I sent through my CV and cover letter with my application and was contacted to do a one way video interview about a week and a half later. This involved recording my responses to questions as they appeared on screen. There was a timer counting down the ‘think time’ and response length, and this varied depending on the question. After being shortlisted for the next round two weeks later, I attended a face-to-face interview with Danya, Caylie, and Celia. At the end of that week I was pleased to receive the news that it was successful and that the final step was to provide two referees.
My path to UX
My journey to UX stemmed from my curiosity with how design is interwoven in the world around us. I studied industrial design at university, and this is where I was introduced to design thinking and human-centred design. By focusing on the problem first, appropriate solutions would follow. I realised that design was also about the intangible, not just purely physical things. It includes how we interact with digital products, services and experiences.
Before deciding to do a UX Design course (and after university), I was an industrial designer working at an acrylic supplier and fabricator. With projects mainly in the retail and commercial sectors, I was driven by tight deadlines and the constraints that come with the nature of working with physical products. Some of my work included creating concepts, reverse engineering existing units, 3d modelling and rendering, shop drawings, and creating technical files for machining.
Working in this particular area of manufacturing, my work was focused on how sheet material could be manipulated to display physical products and fit physical spaces. I was able to transform clients’ ideas into tangible products, whether they were bespoke one off units or for production runs. However, my work was more centred around “how do we design this for purpose x?” rather than “is this a need/what are the needs, and how can we design to address them?”
I have welcomed the change of pace, environment, and way of working. I’ve adjusted to pressing command instead of control for shortcut keys, and going from working in a small business to a large organisation. Moving from a manufacturing environment hearing the CNC machines whirring below on the factory floor to the relative quiet of Level 2 west in SEEK’s St Kilda Rd office, highlights some of the differences in moving from industrial to UX design.
When designing tangible products, I needed to think in three dimensions throughout the entire design process. I had to account for ergonomics, texture, weight, amount of material, and distribution. Now that I am working in UX and predominantly for on screen experiences, design exists more in a two dimensional way. There are considerations such as the user flow, hierarchy of information, different usage scenarios possible, copy, and visual style. In both fields, research, ideation, prototyping, testing and iteration are important in making informed design decisions.
There are definitely parallels between industrial and UX design as the design process is largely the same, just with different outputs. However, adding value to a product can differ between manufacturing and development. When making multiples of a physical unit, the material, jigs and tooling for set up requires precision. Once these products are made, they cannot be easily changed or updated. However in development, products are more dynamic. Bugs can be fixed as they are raised, and improvements can be incorporated more quickly.
Studying design is a great way to learn theory and methodologies. However there is only so much one can learn in the classroom without experiencing it first hand in the workplace. Though I was exposed to the terms ‘standup’ and ‘retro’ and tried using Trello, I didn’t really understand the importance of them until I saw them in action here in my product team. Being embedded into a cross functional environment has given me a lot of insight into how an agile team operates, and how each of the different roles contribute to the team’s objectives and key results.
The internship so far
I’ve been at SEEK for nearly two months now and it has been a great experience. I have been involved in Continuous Discovery and have also been immersed in working in agile. It has been helpful having support from my manager, other team members in both the Talent Search and UX teams, as well as regular catch ups with my line manager (Danya), design lead (Chris), and buddy (Cheryl) who works in a different stream.
This internship has given me the opportunity to develop an all-round range of UX skills, including user research, interaction design, and visual design. Moreover, I have been involved in a number of different opportunities aside from my day to day work. I undertook the IDEO x Acumen short course with a small group of colleagues from different departments; attended a design sprint with the Connect team; attended the Tech Inclusion conference; and volunteered at the STREAT Design Relay. I’ve been able to work and learn from a range of different people and further extend myself.
As I settle into SEEK I’m gaining a better understanding of how Talent Search and all the other products fit within the company. Working on the employer side, I have learnt a lot about how employers go about finding suitable candidates, and also how SEEK is being used in that process. As I previously only engaged with SEEK from the job seeker’s perspective, working on the employer side has been eye-opening and also a time for lots of absorption of unfamiliar terminology and concepts.
I’m looking forward to what lies ahead. The past couple of months have been a lot of adjustment — transitioning in UX, being part of an agile team, new tools, continuous discovery and also how to navigate a new corporate environment. I aim to gain confidence and good judgement as I continue to learn and work on competencies to progress my career.