I’m working with a design intern this summer. It’s a lot of fun.
She doesn’t have a design background. She’s right out of college, a dual major in Linguistics and Brain and Cognitive Science.
She didn’t even know what interaction design was before she saw the job listing. She was just open to learning about it. Now that’s a great attitude.
I asked her to do a homework assignment as part of her application. She was tasked with sketching out a simple mobile app that allowed a job seeker to browse one job at a time and indicate whether or not he / she liked it.
She did a great job.
We are on week two and despite not knowing what interaction design was when she started, she’s quickly turning into an interaction designer.
Here’s how I got her started.
First, I gave her Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things I figured with a cognitive science background this would be a great introduction to design. She’s loving it and already asked me what’s next.
For the curious, Alan Cooper’s, The Inmates Are Running The Asylum is next.
Aside from the reading, on her first day, I walked through her mobile app design with her and gave some feedback. I then asked her to reconsider her design. She worked on that for a day or two. I pushed her to get all of her thoughts captured either on the whiteboard or paper.
When she was done, I had her do a review of the user interface of the most popular mobile apps. She spent 3-4 days on this. Again, she did a great job. She created a 55 page mobile style guide that included screenshots of what the best apps did and summarized it with some great conclusions.
I then asked her to once again reconsider her mobile app design taking into account what she just learned from her mobile app review.
So far, she’s been working on a whiteboard or with pen and paper. But she’s getting closer to some designs that we can test with real users.
On her own, she found POP a great mobile app that we can use to test her designs.
Now she’s well on her way to learning how to use OmniGraffle, creating higher quality versions of her best designs.
Soon we’ll be off to a coffee shop to user test her work.
I forgot how much fun it was to teach someone else design.
Are you working with an intern this summer? How are you helping them learn? Please share in the comments.