Last Monday ( March 6) was the last day of my Outreachy internship. And I wouldn’t be exaggerating at all if I said I have learnt more in the past 6 months ( including the application period) than all of the knowledge combined in my four years of engineering. Sad but true.
During the internship period I worked on the design of the Firewall UI for Cockpit. I started with Pencil for making the mockups and moved on to Inkscape. Although I worked on implementing the UI simultaneously,it didn’t turn out to be as good as I expected it to be. We also did a lot of usability testing on remote as well as local users and this was one of the high points of this internship.
- UX design is all about details and consistency!
Initially,while using Pencil I would miss out on a lot of important details since there wasn’t room for much modifications. But once I moved to Inkscape,it was overwhelming to keep in sync with all the details and yet to remember the larger picture. It is easier to start with the larger elements such as frames and placeholders and then moving on to the other smaller details like text details and font. Also,fixing the small details like width,height and alignment in the end can be a pain. It is less time consuming to keep modifying the changes along the way since it would also maintain consistency and there are lesser chances of missing out other elements that had the same specifications.
- Usability feedback is the key!
I wrote about this in my previous post and I am saying it here again. The usability testing provided excellent and unbiased feedback about the user interface and the design. A different perspective from possible users helped us to identify the pain points and work on it in the further iterations.
- Open source is all about community!
When I started my application process,I was absolutely terrified of talking on the IRC. Not only because I was an absolute stranger but here I was in a room of experienced people who are experts in their fields. I would check my message a hundred times before sending it. Although now I don’t over-think as much as I used to before sending a message,I still have to reach the point where there is no over-thinking before participating in the IRC. But I had awesome mentors who helped me at every point and made me confident about interacting more with the community 🙂 I think this is something that probably all newcomers go through.A helpful pointer would be to remember that everyone is very helpful.
- Take chances!
When Outreachy was suggested to me by a friend,I thought I would never be able to get an internship with Outreachy. The bar was set high and judging myself,it seemed that I still had a long way to go. But I took a chance and applied because learning more about the open source community and contributing to it was important to me. So,to all the future applicants to Outreachy,I would only say that give your best and a bit more than that.
While I will continue to contribute to Cockpit,I am more than ever excited to learn more about design and how open source perceives and implements design. Then there is also a goal to spread more awareness about user experience and how it affects our day to day life. Since I am still a newcomer to the world of user experience,there is a lot to learn and implement. Also,I signed up for a UX specialisation on Coursera so there will be updates about that too. There might be a lot of other side projects too that I might work on but we’ll talk about that when we come to it.