Sharva_Santhakumar - UX & UI Pathway

Before coming to STEM-Away and this internship, I knew nothing related to the field of UX. Before the internship had even begun, I attended STEM-Away webinars in order to get a better understanding of UX Design and Research and to just learn more. I learnt about how to prioritize and manage your time using Asana, how to use figma and wireframing to design a low fidelity model of a website, and many more things. After starting the internship, I was introduced to the leads of our group, Katy and Zoey, who helped me and others in my group to learn the basics of UX Design and Research. I was taught how to find problems in everyday things, how to create task flows, how design thinking is not a linear process, how to create user flows, how to create low fidelity models of websites, and much more. While working with my group, I have increased my team working skills and collaboration skills. In the past week, our group has used a lot Miro to have a visual representation of our ideas. There, I worked with my group to create new ideas, cluster these ideas, create “How might we…” questions from the ideas, and to again generate new ideas.

Some highlights or things that I am proud of after joining STEM-Away are, conducting interviews to gain insight on the STEM-Away website, the ideas my group has come up with after a long design process, and just learning a lot about UX Design and Research.

As said before, I attended a couple of webinars held by STEM-Away to give students a better understanding of what they are getting themselves into. I attended most of the webinars that corresponded to UX Design and Research. After joining with my group, I missed the first meeting which was held by our groups’ leads to get to know each other. After that, I attended every meeting with my group.

A goal that I have for the upcoming weeks is just to learn more about UX Design and Research. I joined STEM-Away in order to take part in an internship and to also learn something new this summer. This is what I hope to achieve in the following weeks.

So far in the internship, I have done many small tasks with my group. In the beginning, me and others in my group were given the task to think of innovations for common household items, such as a backpack and a T.V. remote. Later, I created two task flows on the STEM-Away website that I felt was tough to navigate. After that, I worked with my subgroup(Pacific) to finalize on a topic that we thought was tough to navigate, and created interview questions that we would later use to interview someone from the other subgroup(Center and East) and one of our family members. After interviewing both people, I broke down the interview into insights that our subgroup can then organize into an affinity map. During this time, one of our subgroup members left our group, so one of our leads, Zoey, stepped in to work with us like a teammate. Since then, I have worked with my subgroup to create new ideas on Miro, cluster these ideas, create the “How might we…” questions, and to again create more ideas. Just yesterday, I worked with my partner, Hirsh, to create multiple user flows on messaging to have a visual representation of how we would like the messaging system to be. Lastly, I just created a low fidelity prototype of how I would like the messaging system to look like.

It has been a couple of weeks since the last self-assessment, so I will continue from then. After creating the low-fidelity prototype, Hirsh and I got started on the mid-fidelity of the prototype. For this step, we just added more detail to the prototype like colors and pictures to make the prototype more realistic. After finishing the mid-fidelity prototype, Hirsh and I presented the prototype to one of Katy’s friends, Rachit, so then he could give us valuable feedback. He said that we should scope down our design because we were focusing on too many things at once. At the time, Hirsh, Zoey, and I had incorporated messaging, emails, and video calls into our prototype. Rachit basically said to just focus on one of the three things so then we could make that one things really good instead of making three okay prototypes. Hirsh and I then used the feedback and started creating a new prototype. This new prototype mainly focused on the messaging part, but also included video calls. We did this so then we can explain to people that the video cal feature was not that important, but we plan on making it possible. I created the messaging layout with the help of Hirsh and Hirsh made the small scale video call feature. I then wireframed all of the individual frames together on figma. We then presented the new prototype to another person for more feedback and then we also presented to the creators of STEM-Away.