I completed my internship with Resorter, a small start-up in the ski industry, as a sole User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) Designer alongside the founder and a small team of developers. My main objective was to develop an online booking system with a focus on user flow, logic and functionality of the system for varying user types.

Honestly, going into my internship, I didn’t think I would have the ability to influence or impact the business. One of the positives of working in a smaller team is that you feel as though you have more of a seat at the table when it comes to decision making.

Over time, I developed a better understanding of the business and became comfortable with making suggestions; one of which involved major changes to the structure of the platform. I felt nervous putting it out there, but the changes were actually implemented and successfully reduced workload.

Without hands-on industry experience, it can be difficult to really understand the different avenues that your career can take and what skillsets are valuable for each of those pathways. There's a lot of things that would be great to learn, but realistically we’re all limited by time; we can’t learn it all. Knowing what you should be focusing on can really help define your direction.

Beau completed his internship as a UX and UI Designer at Resorter.

Understanding the work that my colleagues undertake was a big takeaway. Most people don’t get into design to learn technical computer skills like coding, but if you don’t understand the basic structures or limitations that your development team is working with, your design choices can be null and void.

When it comes to presenting your design choices, confidence is key, you can’t sell your ideas with ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’. Understand the goal and validate your choices against it.

It can be difficult to find your place without experience. The role of a UX/UI designer can vary massively depending on the type of work and the size of the business. The skillsets people are looking for will shift depending on those things.

Should I learn technical skills like coding? Should I get really good at making screen designs look nice? Do I need to improve on presenting ideas to clients? Knowing the differences between what you might be doing at a start-up compared to a large-scale business can help inform what skills you choose to develop.

  • "When it comes to presenting your design choices, confidence is key; you can’t sell your ideas with ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’. Understand the goal and validate your choices against it."

    Beau , Bachelor of Design (majoring in UX Interaction Design and minoring in Digital Advertising Technology)

Learning foundational design principles is huge. Understanding hierarchy, scale, layout, contrast and even how basic primitive shapes can elicit different emotional responses is really important. Beyond the visuals, studying how people interact with digital space can greatly inform your decision making and ultimately assist validating your work.

Classroom learning is great but it’s essentially a simulation of what you will be doing in the real world. When you’re doing it for real, you can’t fumble your way through – the cogs have to start turning if you want to solve something.

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