It’s not so common for first year students to take on internships after the first year of the Interactive Design program. However it is recommended that you do so and I can tell you why. I was fortunate enough to be offered an internship at Knowledge Network thanks to Ravi Singh, one of our great instructors here. I took this opportunity knowing that I had no familiarity of what interning at a broadcasting station would entail. We’re usually exposed to design agencies or startups. On top of that I wasn’t paid for this. However, there was an honorarium of $100 per week. Of course, any starving artist/student would be concerned about this. Especially if you’re doing this for the whole summer. But let me tell you this. It was well worth it.
On the first day, I got thrown into a cubicle and started my project right away. Although I make it sound harsh, it really wasn’t. I worked with an older demographic who are well-experienced into their careers. They made me feel welcomed and apart of their family. This is kind of silly to say but I felt like everyone was excited for me to be there, so it wasn’t too intimidating.
OBJECTIVE OF MY INTERNSHIP
My task at Knowledge was to design and develop a mobile website. As of now, you cannot watch Knowledge’s programs on your iPhone because they are flash videos. When I started, the developer and video encoder were also working on a project to push out secure html5 videos to smartphones and other devices like the Roku box (similar to the Apple tv). All in all my goal was to design an interface for the new html5 videos, and develop it.
CREATIVE PROCESS DIFFERENT FROM SCHOOL
I started with a competitive analysis then went onwards to the information architecture stage. From there, my wireframes were approved and off I went into designing the graphic mockups. During the graphic mockups, I had to keep Knowledge’s branding guidelines in mind. It was very different from my normal creative process because I had specific branding guidelines to follow. My creative process was more like making my designs look in sync with their current website. In between everything, there were many MANY meetings. I had to make a ton of presentations and practice my presentations. I wouldn’t say I’m a pro at presentations now but I can say that I feel more comfortable presenting in front of people. The next stage was to develop all of my graphic mockups. I asked myself how the heck am I going to do this. I was nervous because I had NEVER developed a mobile website in my life, but I did my research and learned to code with jQuery Mobile. Google is your best friend. When I was developing, I also had to organize the code in a way that the developer could take it and implement the backend. In terms of coding, I think this was the most important lesson I could have learned. I had to be mindful of my coding and prep it so that when I passed it on to the developer, he could easily put the database on it.
MY WORK IS GOING TO BE SEEN BY THOUSANDS OF FOLKS!
It took me 3 months to design & code everything, and at the end of my internship, I had to present my project to all of Knowledge. Of course I was terrified but we went through a series of practices with Ravi. It ended up feeling great to show everyone what we were working on.
So I hope that you learned something from reading my post. It’s not about the money. It’s about the experience. It’s about being in a foreign environment and adapting to it. It’s about challenging yourself and becoming a better interactive designer. This was such a delightful experience and I can say that this has guided me in so many ways. I really like the role of the front-end designer/developer and I think I’ll be focusing that from now on.
If you want to see my mobile website in action, it will be released at the end of October of 2012. Just hop on your smartphone and type in knowledge.ca. It will direct you to my mobile website! In the meantime, here are some screencaps! Yay!
Lynn Nguyen » www.hellolynn.com
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