URBN UX/UI Design Intern Natalie

Behind every great app interface is a great designer.

Natalie is a UX/UI Design intern for Urban Outfitters. Her team creates the visual part of the apps that my team implements in code (I’ve actually done this a few times, so it was really cool to see the Urban app from an artist’s perspective). We talked about how much work actually goes into those advertising emails that appear in your inbox, Intern Interview Day, and how a creative project can make your intern application shine.

URBN UX/UI Design Intern Natalie

For those not familiar with the term, what is UX/UI design?

UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) design tend to go along with each other. Some companies separate them; others treat them as one. UX looks at human-computer interaction and gives recommendations on how a certain user interface should be laid out; UI takes those suggestions and finds the most aesthetically pleasing way to implement them. A lot of this involves taking somewhat abstract concepts and coming up with specific designs. These designs then get approved by art directors and developers.

Can you describe your internship position and some of the day-to-day tasks that you perform on the job?

I’m doing a bunch of different projects right now because I’m starting out; lately I’ve mostly been wrapping up things that my team and managers have been working on. I’m redlining, which is basically spec-ing out designs that they’ve made so that there’s less gray area when a prototype is passed onto the developers, designing emails, and sourcing a lot of images that we get from photoshoots and seeing if they look good in any of our user interfaces or advertisements.

Today I went to a brand quarterly brainstorm meeting, where we came up with ideas for future campaigns and what they would look like across a bunch of different user interfaces. I’ve been learning a lot and taking it all in; I haven’t been doing that much design work or as many big projects, but I see those coming for me in the future.

URBN UX/UI Design Intern Natalie

What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on so far?

I really like designing emails. I’m learning a lot about how much it takes to send out a simple email to customers and am realizing how much we take those pretty pictures for granted. They’re a lot of work, and most times people just delete them.

As for specific projects, all of the art department interns are collaboratively doing a summer intern project, so it’s been really fun to see the its development. We pitched our ideas to management yesterday, and have been refining them into something concrete.

Do you see UX/UI design as something you’d want to pursue in the future?

I’m double majoring in user experience design and graphic design, so it’s definitely the field i want to go into. I’ve always been a very visual person; I also think that anthropology and the study of humans is very interesting. User experience is the perfect blend of the two, and it’s becoming more and more relevant — everybody has had the experience of going on an awful website or app and kind of hating the company associated with it because it’s such a bad time. I’m fascinated by the research behind UX and love using insights from it to improve my own work.

URBN UX/UI Design Intern Natalie

Can you describe your personal style and what you like to wear?

It’s very day-by-day. I’m generally a very graphic tee kind of person; I think prints are so cool. I appreciate how Urban Outfitters as a brand has such a unique style. I’m slowly becoming more of a jeans person, too, although I still wear leggings pretty much all the time.

Is there anything from Urban or any of the URBN brands that have caught your eye recently?

I spend at least an hour every day looking through pictures from photoshoots and finding good sample images to use for various things … so, yes! I’m basically like “I want this! I want this! I want this!” [Laughs] I’ll be into an item and I’ll see it in the store, or I get an email about it, or I see it on Urban’s Instagram. It’s in my face all the time. I’m trying not to spend money, though. A lot of the swim stuff right now is really cute; I keep looking at them over and over and over again.

URBN UX/UI Design Intern Natalie

Did you participate in Interview Day?

I did!

What was your experience like?

I really liked Interview Day — I felt very much like an adult. I flew into Philly from my school by myself, and was kind of stressed out because I hadn’t been here before. It actually ended up being really fun! I spent the entire morning walking around, got breakfast at this really cute cafe next to my hotel, and took a tour around the Navy Yard before I had my interview. I was kind of in awe at both how big the campus was and how different each building had its own personality. I’ve always been really into aesthetics and looks, and I’m constantly impressed by how well URBN knows each one of its brands’ unique identities. Coming here to the campus, I can see how they get inspiration, because it’s all around them. The environment everyone works in is very much true to the overall feel of the brand.

My actual interview was with both of the managers that I have right now. It was a lot more casual than I thought it would be; I bought a ton of resumes and I had my iPad with me to show them my portfolio, but they already had it all. They’d made copies of everything, and the creative project that I made as part of my application was on the table in front of them, and I really didn’t need to have been as stressed as I was.

URBN UX/UI Design Intern Natalie

How did you find out about this internship opportunity?

A girl in my design class at school was the graphic design intern last year for Urban Outfitters, and she asked the recruiting team if they would come to my college campus for a day to talk about the internship program. I had already known about the program and was planning on applying, but it was really cool to hear them speak about what you would do in the internship and the fun things that came with it. The following day, we had optional five-minute interviews with the recruiters. I spoke with mine about what the creative project (required as part of the application for this position) was like and what kind of things they looked for. I applied and started the project soon after that.

URBN UX/UI Design Intern Natalie


URBN UX/UI Design Intern Natalie

Do you have any advice for people who want to intern at URBN?

If you’re required or have the opportunity to submit a creative project as part of your application, definitely don’t undervalue how much weight it could carry. I put a ton of time into mine, and looked at it as a learning experience and something I could use for my portfolio even if I didn’t get the job. The members of my team noticed the effort I made and were excited about my project during the interview. No matter what it is — a mood board, or a working prototype like mine was — if you care, they will notice.

URBN UX/UI Design Intern Natalie

What exactly did you make as your creative project?

The prompt was something along the lines of “design an idea for a new feature of the UO app or website.” It had some guidelines, like to make sure to stick to the current Urban Outfitters look, and suggested that applicants create a working prototype rather than sending in still images. I made a new feature called My Closet for the UO app. It’s kind of like a wish list, but you can create whole outfits of things you’d like to buy in the future.

URBN UX/UI Design Intern Natalie

What’s your favorite part about working in the Home Office?

How cool and creative everyone is, especially the people in my team and the art department. They’re all is so passionate about what they do. Seeing how seriously they take their jobs is really inspiring.

My interview with Natalie is the third in a series of profiles I’ll be doing on URBN’s Summer Intern Class of 2017. I plan on posting one of these at least once a week until the end of the summer. View the list of intern interviews here.