May - July 2021 (10 weeks)
Product team (6 members)
User research, usability testing, ideation, wireframing
Product Design Internship
In this project, I led the user research interviews and usability testing for an online creative brief tool aimed to standardize and streamline creative brief creation for video ad production.
I had an immensely rewarding experience interning in a fast-paced, growth-oriented environment in the summer of 2021. I can't publicly disclose the details of my summer internship at QuickFrame, but here is an overview of the contributions I made and lessons I learned with QF.
The Situation When I Started
I worked on the Product team as a Product Design Intern for 10 weeks during the summer of 2021. As a startup, QuickFrame's mindset toward software development embodied the "move fast and break things" motto. When I joined the team, there were several software projects in various stages of development. One of the biggest projects being undertaken at the time was titled Megaform. The Megaform project's mission was to create a tool for brand representatives to build creative briefs easily and in a standardized format that would be received and reviewed by internal team members and then eventually video production company partners that would bring the video creative brief to life. The briefs coming through to QuickFrame at the time often needed several rounds of revision by the internal team before being seen by video creators, which slowed down project starting times and created needless work for the internal team members. The Megaform tool would streamline internal processes and help individual video projects get off the ground quicker.
At this point, there had been a lot of work done to understand internal employees' needs and frustrations, but there was not enough understanding about our external users and whether our tool would be understandable and user-friendly enough for them once it was shipped out widely in October.
What I Learned
Championing and advocating for design within a business context. When working on design projects in classroom settings and in teams of other designers, it was easy to champion design and follow textbook design theory. I realized that within practical business contexts, however, there are often many opposing factors and obstacles that can make doing design difficult--such as budget limitations, product schedules that don't provide enough time for research, among other things. This summer has taught me not only how to navigate difficult blockers to the design process, but also how to champion design in spaces where its value is not readily seen by everyone.
Stay wide-eyed and PERSIST! I was invited to sit in on many different types of meeting throughout my internship: big, small, product, cross-functional, etc. In some meetings, I spoke up and contributed my thoughts on certain product designs and decisions. In many others, I simply observed, wide-eyed and clueless. From these meetings, I compiled a list of questions that grew longer as each meeting went by. Shorthand company history, niche market jargon, and other information went straight over my head at first, but despite feeling like I was listening to a conversation in a completely different language in the first few weeks, I powered on, wildly hopeful that I would be able to stitch the bigger picture together over the next few months.
I must say that by the end of the summer, there were still new things I was learning everyday about the company, but my persistent observance and curiosity allowed me to understand my work in the larger company context and gave me a greater understanding of not only product design and QuickFrame, but current marketing tools, business relations, and video production. This wide knowledge is wonderful to have, and the relentless curiosity even more so.
Our research brought to light several catastrophic usability problems (based on Jakob Nielson's severity ratings for usability problems) that would create serious problems for users if they were to use our product.
I stressed these issues to our CPO and engineering lead in my final research presentation, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Our CPO expressed motivation is conducting the sort of user research I had conducted in all future features and plans were discussed at future meetings to incorporate design changes to the current product based on the research findings I presented.
What I Did
In order to address the gap of information on our primary user base and biggest risk group, I worked with the other UX/UI designer to create a user research + usability testing strategy for our target group of mid-level to enterprise level brand representatives who write creative briefs and work with video ad production partners.
I led 18 out of 20 of the interviews + testing sessions with the aim of validating the current design decisions against this previously untested user base.
Working under the constraints of a fast-churning engineering schedule, I presented the research findings to the CPO and general product team, highlighting immediate design changes that could be implemented into the product and opportunities for further design development.