Summer Internship at REFLEKT: Week 5

I guess I should start off by saying that I’m happy to be alive this week. It’s too long of a story to tell here, but the abridged version is that I went on a hike in the Bavarian Alps, got lost due to a clueless tour guide over the weekend, navigated along cliffs during a thunderstorm late in the evening, and reached the bottom of the mountain at 9:50pm. It was absolutely terrifying and I mean it when I say I really did not think I would be making it off of the mountain alive. I’ve certainly learned some lessons about self-responsibility and keeping calm in stressful situations, but I don’t think those benefits will be coaxing me back into the Alps anytime soon.

Here are some beautiful views I experienced, despite the terror that followed:

Image may contain: sky, mountain, tree, grass, house, plant, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: mountain, sky, cloud, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: mountain, sky, cloud, outdoor and nature

 

So, my desk feels like a safe haven now. By retelling of this story to me coworkers has surely affirmed their suspicions of me being both an adventurous and an idiot, but it’s brought us closer nonetheless.

As far as actually work goes, I’m still pegging away at the redesign of the admin portal strictly in Sketch for the time being. While the current functionalities have been successfully redesigned, there are new ones that have been added to the sprint. I can’t say much about these new functions here, but my job is to imagine different ways by which users may complete them (both in terms of the logical flow and the UI design). I’ve found my experience in graphic design to be boundlessly beneficial in laying out UI components and creating new ones. Creating visual balance and alignment has been key in my tasks.

One thing that I do wish I had more experience in is user psychology. In many cases, I’ve done benchmark studies to see what other successful designers have done in specific contexts. I add screenshots to my Sketch file and use them as a sort of inspiration. I find myself asking, though, what informed the design I’m basing mine off of? How do these designs speak to how the user thinks? Being a small startup and lacking a user testing base (if you don’t count the 2 QA workers on our team), the best you can do is try to make the best guess you can based on those popular examples and see what people around the office think.

Sofian’s interaction design course definitely stressed the importance of putting your design in someone else’s hands. With a sort of “tabula rasa” perspective, those users find flaws and usability issues you could easily overlook in your myopic designer’s view. For this reason, I hope to learn more about the psychology of UX in the near future and gain more experience in user testing.