Helping future UX consultants and designers gain valuable real-life industry experience is high on the agenda here at Foolproof. Charlotte has been with us for around nine months now so we thought it was about time we interviewed her to find out how it’s going.
Q: You’re studying design ergonomics at Loughborough University, what interests you about this subject?
A: I’ve always been naturally curious about how things work and why people do things, so design and ergonomics seemed the perfect fit.
However, I’m frustrated by the focus on aesthetics in product design. It often overshadows the user and their needs, resulting in products that aren’t useful or usable.
I’ve really enjoyed modules in cognitive ergonomics and qualitative methods that have allowed me to explore user behaviour and analyse the reasoning behind it.
Q: What attracted you to a placement at Foolproof?
A: Foolproof visited my university last year and gave a talk about the UX industry and what they do. I realised it was the perfect mix of design and research I had been looking for. I applied to the agency last year and received a call a few months later asking if I could start the following week.
I was initially taken on for a month to help out with a large piece of research observing a client’s UX identity and assessing how it could develop over the next few years. It was a really exciting project that included 76 user research sessions in the UK and US.
The experts covered many domains including: UX, interaction design, media, journalism, branding and advertising. I found it fascinating hearing what they had to say. Foolproof then agreed to keep me on for a year as part of a placement during my university course.
Q: What sort of projects have you been working on?
A: I’ve been able to take part in a wide variety of work supporting consultants on projects in finance, retail, education and consumer electronics sectors.
I’ve been involved with conducting research in the lab and the field and now that’s completed I’ve been helping with the analysis and report.
Right now I’m currently running my own primary research project looking at how digital can be used to improve the retail experience. I’m really excited to be conducting my own focus groups and desk research.
Q: What skills have you learnt that you will take away with you into your final year at university?
A: I’ve developed my moderating and analysis skills, which will definitely help the research I conduct in my final year.
I’ve learnt to be more clear and concise in my writing, which will come in handy when trying to fit within a word count.
Working in such an agile agency has meant I’ve had to be really organised and manage my time effectively as you never know what the next week may entail.
I’ve also learnt a lot about the research processes involved in both small and large client projects. Following these projects from conception to delivery has given me the opportunity to work collaboratively with team members from different disciplines.
Q: What advice would you give to fellow students?
A: I would advise any student to take an internship if they can.
I’ve been able to apply and develop the skills I’ve learnt during my course as well as acquiring other skills which can’t be taught in a classroom.
The internship has been challenging at times, due to the fast pace of the agency but overall it’s been a fantastic experience.