I’ll admit before I started interning at Critical Mass (CM) I knew it was going to be a fast paced environment, but this is unreal. Things change so quickly here that your head spins. On top of that, CM recently moved to an brand new office so if I get lost, asking for help is still sketchy. Luckily my mentor, Warren Fallwell, doesn’t sit too far away and he’ll be the one teaching me the ins-and-outs of being an Experience Architect (EA) here CM.
Warren didn’t start out as an EA though and with a background in marketing he initially interned at a smaller agency as a project manager. The lead Information Architect (IA) at the time, took him under his wing and gave him some work to do. It was then that Warren started to grow into IA and like my self, he became intrigued about the field. He started to read and study the field on his own time, getting more and more projects from his mentor. He later applied to CM, allured by the promise of working with people and the opportunity to collaborate with big brands. When asked if he had any advice to give he said:
“IA/UX is a great way into the industry since there are so few of us.”
People, ideas and results. These are the core values which drive everything at CM and through every step of the process we’re always going back to them.
The people here are great and with so many projects going on at once, your bound to make a few friends. As an “out sider” (I use the term lightly) looking in people around the office form really close bonds which feeds into the creativity of the company. There’s a relaxed attitude about CM that really makes it easy to talk to people. During my first week, I was invited to take part in a brainstorm for a client, which was a great experience! Hearing about some of the ideas that had been thrown out was just inspiring and the inclusive atmosphere allowed me to throw out some of my own ideas. In the end however, CM’s building an experience for someone else and that’s always in the back of their mind and focus on things that will drive business for their client.
During any given week, I’m spending roughly 25-30% in meetings which can be a lot to take in. I’m spending a lot of time getting to know the project I’ve been put on and I recently finished my first sitemap assignment. I’m also helping another EA team member put together a side project for a client that will eventually stream line so of the wireframing processes. The rest of the time is divided up into research and development, but changes constantly.
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