Technical Areas Involved In
- UX Design
- UI Design
- Usability Evaluation
- Project Management
- Miro: For creating task flows, user flows, affinity maps, brainstorming exercises, and information architecture maps.
- Asana: For assigning tasks to subgroups and keeping track of deadlines and task completion.
- Figma: For low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototyping.
Soft Skills Developed and Applied
- Research: Every workshop or lecture had to was thoroughly researched and referenced. I made sure to add links to all source materials so that participants could explore more on their own later on.
- Mentoring: This was my first experience mentoring UX beginners and my focus was to inculcate a spirit of curiosity and appreciation for design among the participants. By the end of the internship, one of the participants presented a case study that I was incredibly proud of.
- Project management: I, along with my co-lead, made sure to wrap up the projects within the allotted time period of 5 weeks. In order to achieve this, we had to learn essential project management skills like feature prioritization and guiding the teams to narrow down the scope of their projects in favor of efficiency.
- Team Building: The participants started out as shy and unwilling to speak up. But mid-way through the internship, they were often interrupting each other while having discussions. This was possible due to the ice breaker sessions we held and the design activities we conducted for fun. It was heartening to see them open up, take initiative to express their views, and build on top of each others’ ideas. What started as a group of 7 strangers became a cohesive team united by their love for design.
Leadership: The key skills that define leadership include- listening to feedback, adapting quickly, and building a big picture perspective.
My initial approach to mentorship rested on the assumption that the participants would not need external motivation to do the tasks we assigned. But that was not the case. Getting feedback from my co-lead Zoey, I tweaked my approach to involve more rigid deadlines to motivate the participants to complete the work on time.
I also directed one of the sub-groups to narrow down the focus of their project in order to adhere to timelines and deliver results that would be usable.
Zoey and I also instructed the participants to use STEM-Away for communication. This early decision served us well later as participants were able to identify issues with the platform rather quickly.
- Time management: STEM-Away was one of the three internships I had this summer. Since it was also in a completely different time zone, I was required to plan my time very well in order to do complete justice to the participants.
- Confidence: I have definitely gained confidence in my design skills and knowledge. I started out apprehensive about my abilities, but by the end of the internship, I was able to conduct additional sessions on Building a Design Portfolio and Becoming a Better Designer.
- Collaboration: I collaborated seamlessly with Zoey on preparing and delivering UX Design sessions full of activities, videos, take-home tasks, and additional readings.
Three achievement highlights
In a feedback survey conducted after the internship, the participants anonymously rated various aspects of the sessions conducted over the 5 weeks. Here are the ratings:
Teaching Methods: 5/5
Relevance and usefulness to the participants’ career: 4.8/5
Engagement and interactivity: 4.8/5
Katyayani’s Knowledge and Delivery: 5/5
In the same feedback survey participants rated their familiarity with UX concepts before STEM-Away either 1 (3 participants) or 2 (4 participants) out of 5. After STEM-away, their self-reported familiarity with UX concepts had increased to 3 (1 participant), 4 (3 participants), and 5 (3 participants) out of 5.
The participants started out with understanding design as a tool to make interfaces look good. But over time, they were able to develop a more nuanced outlook of the field. One of them, a highschooler, is now considering UX as a potential career path. Another participant presented a fully flushed out case study based on her group’s work on the navigation bar of the STEM-Away homepage. The participants’ growth and increased confidence in their abilities is my biggest achievement.
- Team Meetings
- UX Lead Meetings
- UX Lead Training with Benjamin Basseches
Tasks as a Lead
- Researching and preparing lectures and workshops.
- Setting up an Asana Board for the team and introducing the team to the tool.
- Delivering lectures either twice or thrice a week.
- Preparing assignments for participants.
- Tracking participants’ progress through assignments.
- Providing feedback on work done.
- Setting up feedback sessions with external experts like Benjamin and Rachit.