Sandia National Laboratories

At Sandia, I worked as a User Experience Design intern at Sandia, where I developed high-fidelity prototypes and conducted usability tests for different content types.

To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, I have omitted and obfuscated confidential information presented here. All information presented here is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of Sandia.

ROLE

User Experience Design Intern

TIMELINE

May 2018 to Aug 2018

Challenges

Dead Links

As a national research laboratory, Sandia develops a lot of sensitive material and requires a lot of documentation on how to handle that material. The primary challenge I was faced with was how to manage and organise all of this information on a website and remove dead links.

Accessibility

Sandia employs over 6,000 workers who use their intranet daily. Therefore, accessible design was a priority in my designs. This included thinking about the vision impaired, colour-blind, and keyboard-accessible design.

Early Stages of Development

Sandia’s User Experience teams are still in the early stages of development, so there were not as many resources to build our designs upon. As an intern, it was my job to create documentation, organise current resources, and to advise designers on certain topics, such as typography and designing to a grid.

Approach

Affinity Diagramming

While working with the UX team, I helped brainstorm and organise design ideas through affinity diagrams. This process consisted walls of colour-coordinated sticky-notes and restructuring. Once we were satisfied with the physical model, I helped organise it into a digital model using HTML widgets.

Iterative Design

Over the summer, I designed web components, such as cards, carousels and modals, and developed a prototype to test interactions for Sandia's intranet. I went through numerous design reviews and coded live for the designer to quickly iterate through different ideas she had. I primarily worked with Illustrator for designing components, and translated XD files into HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Research

Because we lacked resources on our own design pattern, I helped collect information about some industry standards. Particularly, I looked at existing pattern libraries, current design standards and trends.

Results

Products

I developed a high-fidelity prototype in HTML & SASS for a new intranet design. By the end of the internship, I designed 4 new components for the intranet: accordions, cards, carousels, and modals. I also conducted research and wrote topic papers on typography, eye-tracking studies, and atomic design.

Lessons

As my first internship, I learned so much beyond the technical skills. This was a period of time where I learned to ask questions, to challenge ideas, and to explore different possibilities before settling. I was guided by my wonderful mentors who emphasised the importance of communication, patience, and passion.