After graduating from VFS Digital Design last May and spending the summer in Israel, I moved to Toronto to begin my career as an Interactive Designer. In late November, I began a four-month internship with Tribal DDB Toronto as an Information Architect Intern.
The first thing I learned from this experience is that, while in school I was able to play many different roles—communication designer, information architect, strategist, front-end developer—in an agency like Tribal DDB, every member of the team has a unique role. And while there is overlap, collaboration between people with different areas of expertise and perspectives—designers, developers, IAs, strategists, copywriters—plays a huge part in making great digital experiences.
I was able to get started wireframing right away thanks to the solid foundation in User Experience Design and IA deliverables I received at VFS from Head of Department Miles Nurse and instructor (and Senior Information Architect at Tribal DDB Vancouver) Kristy Streefkerk. There is still so much to learn, whether it be UI patterns and conventions, technologies, or how users relate to interfaces (Peter Jin Hong’s Talk at Digital Design on the importance of reading neuroscience and psychology research remains in mind), though with the pace that technology changes, it’s certainly impossible to stay on top of every new development.
I have learned a lot in the nearly two months that I’ve been at Tribal DDB so far. Under the mentorship of Information Architect Dale McRae, I have worked to conceptualize the flow and functionality of websites and mobile apps for companies like General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, and Canadian Tire. I’ve learned that it is crucial for a UX designer to understand web technologies and development. The importance of pen & paper sketching as a way to quickly develop and communicate ideas has been affirmed. I have also found that many of the things we learned at VFS that were seemingly unrelated to “design”, like presentation skills, project management, and etc., are a huge part of working at an agency.
Some of the cool things that go on at Tribal DDB Toronto are the weekly Wednesday “10am” presentations of cutting-edge developments in our industry and a once-monthly all staff “Hot Dog Friday.” It’s been a great experience so far and I am looking forward to gaining more experience.