By Stewart McCoy

My UX design internship at Viget Labs

I had the opportunity to be the first user experience design intern to participate in Viget Lab’s new 6-week rolling internship program. It’s a great model for other design studios to follow.

Below is a narrated video (about 18 minutes) discussing my internship at Viget Labs.

Viget internship LabShare from Stewart McCoy on Vimeo.

Before interning at Viget, I had read quite a bit about interaction design, information architecture, user experience, usability, and web standards. But reading and practice are worlds apart. Working on UX projects under the mentorship of seasoned designers helped me grow professionally and develop excellent portfolio pieces. My opportunity, I realize, is somewhat unique. It provided a transition between university and an industry that is frequently seeking to hire senior-level designers. As Dan Saffer of Kicker Studios tweeted, apparently no one hires junior designers anymore…

Viget is in a position where they are large enough to take on and pay interns. They are also small enough that internships are flexible and personal. Interns get to work directly under the tutelage of design directors, whether they are interning as a web designer or a UX designer.

During my six weeks, I was introduced to different aspects of the UX process:

  • Research & strategy
  • Information architecture
  • Interface design
  • Documentation
  • User research
  • Mobile design

Each week I was recommended reading, assigned micro projects (such as redesigning the All for Sale page for Craigslist Washington D.C.), and included in client kick-off meetings and other client engagements (such as wireframe reviews with Puma).

Other mid-sized design studios with the resources and flexibility should also consider developing such internship programs. You will ensure students are learning best practices and producing professional quality work, and helping to prepare them for full-time opportunities after graduation. Furthermore, you’ll put yourself in a mentorship position that will require you to model the design ideals you subscribe to and strive for.

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