My learnings and experiences as a UI/UX intern at Mantra Labs.
“Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.” — Robert L. Peters, designer and author
In this blog, I will share my learnings and experiences working alongside the design team at Mantra Labs.
The past three months working at Mantra Labs as UI/UX intern have been one of the most memorable times of my life, from meeting some amazing folks to learning some super cool tips and tricks. It was undoubtedly an amazing experience. Most people believe that interns only work on dummy tasks and never make any impact on the company despite their hard work. At Mantra Labs, this aspect is absolutely untrue. In a very short interval of time, I worked on multiple projects from different domains. As an intern, I was given the opportunity to lead a project’s UI/UX design from start to launch. I had to take all the design decisions, interact with stakeholders, collaborate with developers, and manage even the simplest of tasks involved.
Here are some of the key learnings from my experience at the company:
1. Ask Questions
The best way to accomplish something is to ask lots of questions to be sure what exactly needs to be accomplished. To be honest, in the beginning, I didn’t know the exact way to do lots of things. But, as an overthinker, I was always concerned about not being annoying. My manager and colleagues showed humility and taught me every little thing with utter patience. There were times when my manager got into some other work which left no time for him to answer my questions. Even then, I had my lovely teammates who stood there to guide me. I learned the most from my internship by asking questions and clarifying all my doubts.
2. Keep an open mind and apply a positive approach.
UI/UX Designing is incomplete without solving problems. The client’s requirements must be met by all means while keeping accessibility, conversational and humanized approach, and all the other things in mind. Therefore, for such a task, the ability to hear all the reviews and perspectives with an open mind and apply a positive approach to it is the only key.
Working with different design minds at Mantra Labs made me understand that not everyone is going to agree with your designs and ideas — even people in your own team! One has to keep iterating, once, twice, and sometimes even ten times. No matter how many changes happen, they should not be taken personally because a majority of the time the changes are only going to improve the product in the end.
3. Stop over-evaluating!
I have always been someone who at every step has over-evaluated myself. Thriving to achieve the best of me has been overwhelming all my life. Here, at Mantra Labs, I learned how to trust my instincts as far as designing was concerned. I was corrected wherever I made wrong decisions. It all made sense when I saw the outcome. It was during my internship that I learned how important it is to always check all decisions, but never question yourself to the point where you lose interest in your own judgment.
4. Try something new, and explore different domains.
Ever since I started my career, I was mainly working with Ed-tech companies but at Mantra Labs, I got the opportunity to work in multiple domains like Health Tech, and Solar Tech in a very short duration of time. Obviously, these fields were quite different as these domains were very new to me but as a UI/UX Designer, you’ll have to be ready to solve any problems irrespective of any domain.
5. Show gratitude
An entire team is involved to complete a project. You win only when everyone in the team applies equal effort to make it happen (it’s the teamwork that counts). The work culture in Mantra Labs is great, from cool colleagues to a cooler manager. All of them work and coordinate with each other in a way that ultimately leads to the completion of the project to the satisfaction of the client. Having such people around me at work was no less than a blessing during my internship.
Better Communication skills
Communication requires a language common to the speaker and the listener. Fortunately or unfortunately that language is English. Honestly, this language has not been a very good friend of mine. I was quite good with one-on-one conversations but public speaking had mostly been a blunder. During the course of my internship, I led some client meetings and also demonstrated my work to a group of people. Talking to clients and my teammates have helped me brush my communication skills and instilled in me a sense of confidence.
Any sort of work can become boring if one stops taking fun-filled breaks from it. UI/UX Designing is a creative field and creativity comes only with the freshness of mind. I am someone who is a workaholic, I skip my meals and sleep until the work assigned to me is completed. There were instances during my internship when I would get so involved in the project that I used to forget to get myself engaged with my fellow teammates and colleagues. At Mantra Labs, the environment was so cool and friendly that we played numerous games (treasure hunt being at the top of my list) between work. We even celebrated each other’s birthdays and partied after the office. All these were a sort of my recreation to get back to work the next day with the same zeal and zest.
Before wrapping this up, let me tell you something very important:-
Design overthinking is now extremely common among designers. A deep design thinking approach is not always necessary when solving problems, the solution to some issues can be as simple as drawing rectangles.
Draw rectangles, Don’t overthink 🚀
About the author:
Shashi Kumar is a pre-final year journalism student at Chandigarh University, who worked with Mantra Labs as a UI/UX design intern. He loves to talk about geopolitics and entrepreneurship.
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