Google UX Design Internship

tags: interactive,  research



While I can’t tell talk about the project specifically, I can tell you about the kinds of experiences I had working with my amazing Google Zürich (the ‘real mountain view’) team. Over the summer of 2014, I was was invited to join the UX team of a small emerging markets project as they worked on their project. My team lead did an absolutely wonderful job making sure I was exposed and participated in multiple aspects of the project and presented my contribution to the wider team as well.  Sorry to talk in the abstract, but thanks for stopping by :)

It was an incredible experience working so closely with all the members of the team. I was even lucky enough to attend their off-site summit and meet the rest of the support team and the General Manger of the project. I learned about the high level kind of issues that go into product strategy, special markets, how user experience research informs products in industry, and the collaboration that needs to happen among different parties (design, engineering, project management, marketing, research, partnerships, etc).

In addition to the product development, I had the opportunity to do hands on user experience design work from user flow to research to mocks.

Here’s the breakdown of my summer:


UX Vision Video:

Using footage and storyboard from the team, create a video sketch demonstrating the design team’s vision of the product and value propositions. This included custom animations for the different interfaces and visually abstracting functions in order to communicate the audience. This was presented to the team at the offsite, presented to the Senior Vice President of our department when he visited our office, and shared with other UX teams to let them know what they were doing.

My manager also asked me to give a workshop to our design team on AfterEffects after creating the video. As a non-animator, I led the team on a day-long workshop on how to use AfterEffects specifically as a prototyping tool.

Hi-Fidelity Mobile App Mocks

Jumping right in to the on-going work by the design team, I helped design the consumer side of a mobile app using Google’s new material design style. This included iterating on previous work and creating new solutions for screens. This was a very fun project of developing and tweaking screens based on feedback from the designers and results from UX research. It was especially exciting for me to work around and through different constraints, either from the engineering team or from the project vision.

One of the most fun parts of this project was doing a week-long design sprint with the project manager. At one point, the project manager wanted to try a different design style in order to acknowledge the different design trends present.

Monday: My team lead tells me about the proposed design changes and asks me to do some initial research and exploration in the area.

Tuesday: Present to the Project Manager (PM) and my manager the implications of the such design change, including some initial mocks. They decided to move forward and at least test what would happen.

Wednesday: Flush out the research protocol and tools. This included developing two scenarios for participants to run through, creating a script & questions, and paper prototypes of the two design styles.

Thursday: Found & interviewed three participants who had a range of familiarity with the type of service. I ran each participants through the two scenarios and took extensive notes on each session.

Friday: Synthesized and in presented key research finding the the entire team (design + product + engineering).

While chaotic, I can honestly say it was so much fun to be run this fast-paced mini product for the team. Because of my work, the team found that our initial design more successful, but gave them perspective on what about the other design was working well and could be incorporated into our original design. The presentation/results were shared with a select few other product teams and I received a special “gThanks” from my team lead for my work.

Picture from one of my user-testing sessions.

Design Specs to Engineering team

Since I have a visual design background, I was also asked to create design specifications for the mocks I created. However, I learned from another designer how to make the specs the most helpful to the engineers by developing templates and styles for the different types of screens we would have. In other words, instead of detailing every screen, I describe the structure of screens and types of screens (ex: form vs content vs gallery) so that they engineers didn’t have to rely so heavily on the design team. In addition, by detailing styles (ex: font styles/classes) they implementation could be more precise.

This involved designing for multiple screen sizes and I also learned more about designing for accessibility.