Frontend.com 2016 Bootcamp — An Intern’s Experience

Manasi Shetye

Originally published in January 2017.

Manasi Shetye is a graduate of the University of Limerick with a Masters in Interactive Media. Following her participation in the 2016 Bootcamp, she has taken on a one-year internship role with Frontend.com and is currently working on a range of client projects. Here she tells her personal story about participating in this Frontend.com initiative. 

Background

In June 2016 Frontend.com organised an internship bootcamp in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The design challenge was to address the healthcare issues faced by global migrants. Masters-level students from across Europe, North America, South America, India, and China applied for this intensive three-day design bootcamp. Candidates were selected based on their design portfolios submitted online. The chosen candidates were from four third-level institutions: University of Limerick, IT Carlow, National College of Art and Design, and Trinity College Dublin. All participants would work together in groups to design solutions to address aspects of the current migrant healthcare crisis.

Successful Application

I was exhilarated to be one of two shortlisted students from the University of Limerick. Frontend.com provided us with spacious Airbnb accommodation. It was a privilege to be staying in such a well-designed apartment for the duration of the bootcamp. The social interactions of sharing accommodation with students from different backgrounds gave me great exposure to other design perspectives. This benefitted us all when we worked together to build a cohesive design system. 

Attendees at 2016 Frontend.com design bootcamp.

The Bootcamp

Our first day began with an introductory session presented by John from Frontend.com. He outlined the issues faced by migrants entering European countries today, such as their routes of migration. He explained the contents of the migrant  Health Pack that we were going to be designing for. 

We had a video call with Dr Teresa Zakaria of the UN, who clarified the specifications of the Health Pack, and the challenging scenarios for distributing those packs to constantly moving migrants in different countries. Kamal, who visited us to discuss the current situation of migrants in Ireland, shared his personal experiences and gave his thoughts on how governments could help migrants like him achieve a better future. 

Attendees at 2016 Frontend.com design bootcamp.

 

Our first task was brainstorming the migrant issues in groups. Frontend.com directors, Frank Long and Henry Poskitt, guided the categorisation of the issues. John then concluded the day by assigning the teams to four projects: Product design of the Health Pack; Information design for the Health Pack; Service design for delivery of the Health Packs; and Application design supporting that service design. The candidates joined suitable groups and began working towards potential solutions for the projects. By the end of the first day each group had discussed their concepts and initiated their design processes.

Attendees at 2016 Frontend.com design bootcamp.

 

We started our second day by implementing our potential design solutions digitally. My team worked on the information design for the Health Pack’s usage instructions. We visited a local pharmacy to observe real medical pack designs, and to understand the visual hierarchy of those designs. We also observed the visual styles of their information graphics. Then we sketched possible layouts and started incorporating the label contents. 

Frank from Frontend.com mentored our group. He helped us create a mental model of the label which we could apply across media such as print, posters, application design, and digital platforms. Our mental model started with the category of the medicine: pills, liquid solutions, or creams. We assigned a numbering system to all the Health Pack contents, along with a colour-code for better visibility and easy differentiation. The teams presented their solutions at the end of the second day and got feedback to help them to iterate their designs further.

Attendees at 2016 Frontend.com design bootcamp.

 

On the third day, all of our projects came together in a cohesive design system for the Health Packs and their methods of distribution to the mobile migrant communities. We presented our work to the Frontend.com team, who definitely appreciated all the effort that we had put in. I enjoyed accomplishing a complex interaction design project within a short span of days. The Frontend.com bootcamp was indeed a great learning experience.

Attendees at 2016 Frontend.com design bootcamp.

The Interview Process

Frank and Henry interviewed all ten internship candidates on the second day. Most were asked about their working practices, and their ways of problem-solving. I was asked about my favourite parts of the interaction design process. They also threw in questions about how good I am at working in a team, examples of what I saw as good interaction design, and details about my professional background. Honestly my interview went well, as their questions were quite open-ended with ample space for self-expression.

Joining The Team

My days in the bootcamp gave me hands-on experience working with professionals on a project that was eventually implemented for an important social cause. Then I was exhilarated to be selected from nine other candidates for the year-long internship with a world-renowned UX design consultancy. My internship at Frontend.com certainly started at the deep end: as part of the team redesigning the company website. I learned a lot from their timely meetings, rapid design iterations, and the team’s agile method of problem-solving throughout this intensive website project. I hope that I will live up to the expectations of this top-tier UX design consultancy over the next twelve months.

For more details of the ultimate outcome of the 2016 Bootcamp, read the case study about the IOM Future Vision of Migrant Healthcare project.