Melrose Huang, User Research Intern, Divercity.io
Melrose Huang (MIMS ’20) spent the summer of 2019 as a UX Research intern at the startup Divercity.io, a professional network for minorities.
Describe a typical day at your internship.
My day would typically start off by meeting up with a subset of our team local to the Bay Area in a co-working space or cafe and reviewing our agenda. I worked most closely with another intern from Dartmouth to translate concerns that our CEO, designers, and product managers had into research questions, develop research plans, recruit participants, conduct studies (including user interviews, usability tests, and competitive analyses), build wireframes/prototypes for testing, analyze data (including video recordings of test sessions and audio recordings of interviews), and create reports summarizing findings and recommendations. Depending on the day, we would focus on one or two of those tasks.
What was the most valuable thing you learned at your internship?
To always keep your ear to the ground and be attuned to the voices of your users: they definitely taught us more than a thing or two about some assumptions we made on what might be ‘best’ for them. I was also fortunate that my input could have a substantive impact on the direction of our platform, which helped me realize the value of being part of a small and relatively flat organization in which diverse voices are respected.
“I applied to MIMS with a plan to transition to UX research. This internship experience has strengthened my aspirations to continue pursuing this path.”
What was the biggest challenge?
Being part of a lean and early-stage startup meant that although I was fortunate to join a robust team of UX/UI designers, I was the first member to solely focus on research. I occasionally found myself getting stuck without as much mentorship as I may have had in a later-stage company. However, I also thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of having a lot of freedom in developing a high-level research plan, selecting appropriate methods, and coming up with creative ways to conduct research in a cost-effective manner.
How did your work at the I School prepare you for this role?
Throughout the internship, I often found myself referring back to readings and notes from my User Experience Research course — as well as seeking advice from instructor Steve Fadden.
Any advice for next years MIMS students as they prepare for their internships?
Start applying early and take advantage of the many resources that are available — including the MIMS Non-Profit Internship Grant.
Did your internship influence your career plans after graduation?
I applied to MIMS with a plan to transition to UX research. This internship experience has strengthened my aspirations to continue pursuing this path.