Design Engineering
Showcase

Else London

Team
Experience Design
Supervisor
Prof. Peter Childs
Role
Interaction Design Intern
Sector
Consultancies

My role as an Interaction Designer at Else has given me in-depth exposure to the professional landscape of a design consultancy. The T-shaped attributes of a Design Engineer have facilitated my application and development in a range of areas. Most notably in research, design thinking, iterative design and basic programming. Despite undergoing the entire six-month placement in a remote setting, this experience has equipped me with hard and soft skills that I wish to apply to my future endeavours. By the end of my placement, I felt like a valued and competent member of the team.

 — Else London

Demonstration of Design Engineering Thinking and Skills

Else is a strategic design consultancy that focuses on enhancing user experience for a range of clients, from start-ups to large multi-national companies. The company is arranged in a ‘flat’ organisational structure that encourages a circular environment of distributed decision making and transparency between all roles. This facilitates communication between different experience levels and capabilities, which empowered me to reach out to any member of the team to seek advice and improve my techniques. With the use of a personal development plan that I created with my mentor, I was able to identify specific skills that I wished to gain exposure to and develop.

 — Else London
A diagram to show the circular communication structure at Else.

The double diamond model was the work structure followed in most tasks. This involved the process of researching the context, conducting lateral reviews, generating insights and design requirements, ideating, prototyping, and iterating. It is a high priority to Else that their client is involved throughout all stages of this process to gather a rich understanding of the motives behind each design decision.

 — Else London
The double diamond method implemented by Else.

Figma is a collaborative interface design tool used in most projects. Having a very similar interface to Sketch, I was able to transfer many of my existing skills. This software was an essential component to remote working and easily facilitated intra-team and team-to-client interactions. Miro was another key application which allowed the team to recreate the discovery and definition phases which usually involve a wall of post-its in-studio.

Role and Contributions

Although my formal role was called ‘Interaction Designer’, my time at Else was an exploration into all their capabilities. Else specialises in providing a high standard of product innovation, experience design and embedded design operations.

 — Else London
Else's 3 key specialties.

Internally, I have created the first edition of the Else email newsletter. I designed the layout on Figma and built it using HTML and CSS- a new skill that I developed for this project. The final product was mobile-responsive and compatible with all email clients. This was a highly iterative process as I needed to frequently test and receive feedback on my work. Another internal project involved designing new social media posts for the company’s LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Here, I was able to develop my visual design skills and had the freedom to choose a visual style for all the new posts.

 — Else London
A snippet of the 'What Else' newsletter issue 1 (left) and samples of Else's new social media images (right).

My most significant contribution was to a project for a new client based in the strategic gaming industry who approached Else with the intention of better understanding their current user base. I was part of a small team assigned to this project and was involved throughout the entire duration of this phase. This allowed me to witness the sequence of events from briefing to delivery, giving me a large stake in shaping the outcomes of our work. Miro was used to collate, sort and refine our research. This visual display of our thought process was extremely useful in presenting our works-in-progress to the client.

 — Else London
Examples of my team's collaborative work process in Miro.

Summary

This placement has allowed me to level-up in my professional development. I have acquired skills in new software and improved my technical know-how through learning from my experienced colleagues. My visual design, research and organisational skills are some of the takeaways that I will use to enhance my final year work. My recommendation to DE3s is to talk to the people who have completed their placements- we are now experts in the subject and are more than happy to help!

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