Skip to main content
Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology
SFU Co-op Student

Mimi Tsai Portrait
I found that exploring different career opportunities helped me understand my strengths and gave me a clearer vision of what I wish to achieve in the future.

My co-op at the City of Surrey as a UX web designer was exciting and rewarding. It focused on improving the user experience of digital services and creating new digital solutions for existing city services. The idea is simple: we designed online services that are user centered and fulfills the needs of the city and its citizens.

Importance of User Research in UX Design

What kept me motivated every day is that my design represented the City and would be used by hundreds and thousands of people, or even more. It’s was not another school project, every design decision I made needed to be carefully considered. While designing for school projects, there was always a lack of user feedback. I would often ask myself: Does the solution I am designing to meet the needs of the target audience? Have I considered every aspect of my task at hand? It wasn’t until my previous co-op as a UX researcher, which brought me to understand the importance of user testing.  While working with the City of Surrey, I was able to further explore this domain.

As one of my starter projects, I had the opportunity to conduct surveys at local libraries and recreation centers to gather citizen feedback. Talking to survey participants helped me understand their needs and questions for the city. One major takeaway from this project was that the language used on the city website was sometimes confusing. One challenge I encountered here was to balance the needs of the city to get a message across, yet in a way that was easily understood by citizens.

With that being said, I saw first hand while doing co-op how UX design and UX research go hand in hand. A well-designed digital product requires a lot of user research in order to understand the needs of the audience. As a UX designer, I need to constantly stand at the user’s point of view and reflect on my design decisions. Conducting surveys and interviewing real people really helped me consider a lot of aspects to incorporate into my work. At the same time, I was able to constantly reflect on my designs and propose ideas with more confidence.  

From Design Student to UX Designer

My experience working at the City of Surrey was unique compared to previous work positions. There are approximately 5000+ city employees, and with the growing usage of the internet, there are plenty of opportunities for UX design. I could work with many internal business units to help provide a better digital user experience for example. With the guidance from my team and other colleagues, I grew a lot as a UX designer.  My soft skills such as communication and time management flourished alongside my UX designer skills.  

When I started university as a design student in SIAT, I was unsure about my decision and how everything would play out in the future. There were many moments of self-doubt where I wondered if I was on the right path. After exploring different career paths, now I realize that there is no such a thing as a “right path”. I have taken on many work positions outside of UX, such as being a teacher. I found that exploring different career opportunities helped me understand my strengths and gave me a clearer vision of what I wish to achieve in the future. After I realized I was very passionate about UX, I was confident my decision to become a UX designer was a good one. Though my future path is still uncertain, I am very grateful for all the opportunities and knowledge I have gained through co-op and hope to continue to do what I believe in as a UX designer.  

 

 

 

Beyond the Blog

SFU Co-op Student
visibility  118
Mar 22, 2019

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.

 

person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

You Might Like These... International

Kerri posing in front of some lush greenery
And So It Begins...

Journey through Moldova, a small country situated between Romania and Ukraine with Kerri Jang as she volunteers with a medical project in Moldova's capital and a care project in the nearby village of Vadul lui Voda this five part series. In this article, Kerri begins her journey in Moldova! 

Picture of res team
Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting my Marketing Communication Co-op

In this article, James details a few things he wishes he knew when he was starting out in his Marketing Communication Co-op placement. Read more to find out what James' top tips for rocking a co-op as a first-timer are. 

the author's portrait
Meet Dylan

Meet Dylan, a fourth-year computing science student at Simon Fraser University with over a year of co-op experience spanning two large companies: SAP and Electronic Arts. He shares his unique perspective on Computing Science Co-op and offers advice for students on topics such as interview techniques and software engineering tips.  This post is part one of four.