Summers at Swiggy
Lessons from my Product Design Internship
If you ask me to name two things that I love, I would say design and umm…food 😋. And guess what, I found a place that has the perfect balance of both. This summer I got an amazing opportunity to be a Product Design Intern at Swiggy- India’s leading food ordering & delivery company.
It all started about a year ago, when I was in Bangalore, I met these two awesome Swiggy folks Saptarshi Prakash and Abhisek Mishra and came to know the amazing work they’ve been doing as designers. Over the past year, I have been fascinated by the impact that Swiggy has made in the design community, which made me apply for an internship here. After multiple rounds of case studies, interviews, and phone calls, I was finally offered the chance to be a part of the Swiggy design team for the summer of 2019.
As a self-taught designer in this journey of landing an internship there, working with one of the best design teams in the community, there was so much to learn that I wanted to share through this post.
Prepare to be uncomfortable
When I joined Swiggy, there were some really exciting projects lined up for me. My main project was around improving the food ordering experience from premium restaurants. This included varied domains of the Swiggy ecosystem - the consumer side, restaurant partners, delivery executives, etc. The process was not linear and had a lot of exploring, observing & experimenting along with hands-on designing. My other project was on wearables that I had never dealt with before, but I’m glad that I got the opportunity to try my hands and brain at learning something new.
It is often tempting to work on something which is familiar, but one can only grow if they are ready to step outside their comfort zone. This is one of the most important things that I have learned here. But here comes the best thing about Swiggy - along with the tremendous amount of ownership for my projects, I simultaneously received the right amount of mentorship needed as a beginner designer.
Inspiration can come from anywhere
I used to spend some of my spare time to know what other designers work on a daily basis (who knows something exciting might come up!). Looking at their work, got me a very good picture of what design entails and how people approach their projects. To better understand how Swiggy functions so smoothly among its diverse domains, switching to other roles — from an avid diner to being a delivery executive for a day, was quite insightful.
Being a Hunger Saviour!
I spent a day with one of the delivery executives and was fascinated and humbled by the amount of hard work they put in, bringing smiles to people’s faces while facing a lot of roadblocks (pun intended).
As part of my internship, I was assigned the task of making a proof of concept for premium restaurants on the app. This gave me a golden opportunity to visit and observe different kinds of stellar restaurants in Bangalore (and eat delicious food 😜).
As a designer, learning doesn’t need to be confined to your desk. Inspiration can come from anywhere, taking the right action is up to you.
Get it shipped
Shipping is a feature. A really important feature. Your product must have it. — Joel Spolsky
Seeing one of my projects getting shipped was one of the most satisfying things as a design intern. I learned the multiple steps involved in the journey of a product — right from the initial brief to exploring solutions, prototyping & testing, and beyond. As product designers, we always have a role to play in a lot of them.
I agree that an internship period might not be sufficient enough to drive a product from scratch to shipment, but try that at least something gets right down to the wire, pick up a side-project maybe. When you actually go through all these steps to see your design solving real-world problems, it significantly increases your self-confidence. You believe that the stuff you design can have an impact on the social and business aspects of people.
The things that I learned during this two month period were many times more than I could have learned on my own. And lastly, I’m glad that I have made so many friends through the journey. The folks at Swiggy are the most amazing folks that I have ever met. Everyone loved what they did, were crazy about food (of course!), and there were unique things to learn from each and every one of them.