4 New Perspectives from My Internship Experience

Hi, friends! I’m back on Medium. I recently had a lot of time to compose my portfolios, so I decided to write something here too. This past year has given me so many ups and downs that taught me amazing things. One of them was getting my first internship as a UX research intern. Therefore, I want to share with you what I learned, so that you can learn from it!

Photo by Justin Lim on Unsplash

1. Participants don’t need your opinion

When I did my internship, I took notes for an in-depth interview which was moderated by my research leader (mentor) at that time. There are several things that I learned from him during the in-depth interview & usability testing session, which are:

  • He doesn’t talk about him very much. The conversation takes place based on the participant’s experience, feelings, opinions, and so on. He introduced himself, his background, and the purpose of this interview and usability testing session. That’s it.
  • He never shared project ideas with the participant. Therefore, the participants felt comfortable to tell their experience, feelings, opinions, and else. Finally, we had honest opinions from the participant to assess our design.

2. Observation notes should be included

During the interview, I took notes of the participants’ opinions and expressions. I knew that writing participants' expressions are important because they helped me give more insights as I synthesized the data. In addition, time is important too.

From what I have learned, it is better to take notes during the interview session than take notes from the interview recordings. So, I tried my best to interview 1 participant by 1 moderator and 1 note-taker.

3. Categorize things specifically

The most fun yet the most frustrating step of UX research is synthesizing data. I always get excited to synthesize the data at first but eventually get tired of it. Especially if I am in a hurry because of the project deadline, so I have to multitask. But that’s okay because it is a challenge, right? Hence, when I did the project, I tended to categorize them broadly so I could get the work done faster. However, it turned out that I couldn’t deliver it optimally. So, my mentor asked me to revise it multiple times.

In short, we have to categorize any insights specifically even if we are multitasking, rushing, etc. Why? Because it can affect the result and final insights that we have to report. Hence, good teamwork is required for this step.

4. ‘Okay’ is not the answer to all questions

I greatly underestimated myself. I thought I couldn’t do anything, couldn’t get the job done, my skills were limited, a mediocre generalist, etc. I also tend to avoid conflicts, especially with programmers whose fields I’m not good at. So, when somebody tells me to edit my work, I always say…


Meanwhile, always saying ‘Okay’ is not okay haha. My previous managing director also told me this. He told me that I should be more critical of any issue/opinion, rather than keep saying ‘Okay’ all the time. Briefly, disagreeing with other statements is needed if you can explain them logically.

In conclusion, I must practice moderating interviews without saying much about myself and the project ideas, paying more attention to the participants’ expression, synthesize data specifically, and expressing my own opinions without fear of being judged. Hopefully, this article can open our minds to realize that there is always something that we can learn every day even it is the thing that we are familiar with. Cheers! 😄

A UX enthusiast based in Indonesia.