Learnings from a Product Design Internship: Part 1

Parina Patel
Zero To Design

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I was lucky enough to start off my Product Design Internship at ZeroToDesign right after graduating from the Memorisely UX/UI Design bootcamp and thought I’d share the first installment of learnings that I’ve come across during the past two weeks of working here.

Get comfortable with uncertainty

In my case, I feel uncomfortable when presenting because I’m still pretty new to the whole design thinking, problem-solving, the strategies used to communicate with your team, etc. But once I started embracing this feeling of uncertainty and realising that it is vital for my growth process, I’m slowly being able to focus on my tasks rather than the different perceptions my mind usually creates based on my insecurities and fears.

You will constantly feel uncertain when it comes to presenting your work in front of others that are way more experienced in the field. Although you start to learn that it’s totally normal to feel that way and the sooner you learn to embrace this feeling as something natural the better it will be for you.

Balance hard skills with soft skills
Before getting this job, I spent most of my days focusing on learning the latest tools and creating concept designs on Figma to improve my UI skills. While important, it wasn’t until I started working at ZeroToDesign that I realised how those skills made up a fraction of the skills I needed to gain to be a good product designer.

Your soft skills are incredibly important- the ability to collaborate, fluently communicate with your team, and articulate your design decisions. I still lack these skills but with practice, these will surely improve!

Keeping client interactions simple and effective

When I shadowed my first Client call, a few techniques I recognised on the call were:

Set the goals at the start of the call: this helps set the main focus of the meeting and informs both the client and yourself on the path you will be taking them through the call. A great technique is to answer the question, ‘This would be a good meeting if…’

Highlight both the pros and cons: decision making is made easier for your clients when given a list of pros and cons on the designs you present.

Let the client ask questions: asking your client for their opinion on the work you present, makes them feel engaged and heard during the call.

Earn trust early: trust is something that is not just built overnight, start from the very beginning and gain as much from your clients by scheduling weekly calls for discussing design progress or to get their feedback.

The importance of daily stand-up
At ZeroToDesign we start our days with a daily kick-off call where we discuss our daily tasks and what we plan to complete by the day’s end. This not only helps us stay focused on what to concentrate on but also creates a feeling of accomplishment once these tasks are completed.

Before we get on with our day we mention “one thing we look forward to in our day”, and in the evenings we have a reflection call to get feedback, plan for the next day, and mention “one thing we were grateful for today”. We follow this every day and I love how it prompts you to stay positive even if you’re having a rough day.

Always ask for feedback
Feedback good or bad is necessary for any designer. There will be many cases where you will feel like you know it all until you get another team member's opinion. That is when you’ll get a different POV you may not have considered yet. From my experience getting feedback has always helped me understand and learn more from other experienced designers. So always ask for feedback! The 30–60–90 framework is a great way to improve the quality of feedback you gain when sharing your work.

A simpler explanation of the 30–60–90 framework is on the ZeroToDesign’s IG posthttps://www.instagram.com/p/CLEb2V7AKT6/

Blogs visuals fromhttps://www.drawkit.io

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