IXD302 Submission Links

*** So I decided to put all my research and organize it in a post to make it easier to navigate and mark it – I hope that helps 🙂 ***


1- CV and cover letter

Research and discovery


2- Investor pitch

Research and discovery

3- Proposal and invoice

Research and discovery

All things placement

So I will be using this post to organize and sort all my posts relating to placement and career boosting – make it a little bit easier to find my work amongst my organized chaos.

Me trying to sort out my work LOL

Placement prep and research

Talks and events I attended

Company research

Placement interviews

  1. FinTrU interview – this was the 1st stage of the interview process.
  2. Global Payments interview – This was the first interview stage.
  3. FinTrU interview – part 2
  4. Rapid 7 UX interview
  5. ESO interview with MT

Website update part 2

After learning so much about accessibility and how to design with a user centered approach I decided to make some changes not only to the layout of my website but also to the colour scheme I use not only for my branding but also for my website. Adobe colors was a great resource for researching typography contrast and colour combinations.

The colours while lovely did not have a high enough contrast so I made a few adjustments to ensure everyone who would use my website could use it to its fullest.

I then started considering these colour changes and took a look at my previous designs; it previous looked like this after working on it for a few days:

Now I realize that the pink not only clashes with my illustrations skin colour but as a way of highlighting text, it does not fully work as it is not dark enough. The contrast ratio is too low.

To make this section easier to view I removed the colour for the background; I think this made a big difference in the presentation of my illustrations, making my illustrations stand out more.

I also tried to add the social icons to link my socials but I could still not figure out how to align them to the center – so I asked Kyle.


Here are some snapshots of the changes I implemented to my website to improve it:

I removed the block colours to separate the sections and instead stuck to white – I think that overall this looks and works better.

I tried removing the background colour for my intro section of my home page and I believe that it really improved its ease for viewing.


After Kyle helped me understand my issues with my navigation bar (It was no longer sticky) I was able to fix it. I really needed the navigation bar to be sticky as I had shown my website to some older family members both here and in Venezuela to see if the general layout of my site was easy enough for them to understand and navigate. I also sent the link out to other friends on Instagram (some who only speak Spanish) to see how accessible my site was – I sent it to my Spanish speaking friends to see if even with a language barrier the set up was straight forward enough to lead them through my website.

One of the things I learnt by doing this is that less is more and that consistency is my friend. The colour changes were also preferred as it made it easier for all who viewed it (They were all of varies ages, abilities and backgrounds) yet aside from aesthetic preferences, there was a general agreement that the higher contrast was the preferred version of the website.

As part of my IXD302 class Ronan McKinless came in to give us some information on applying to placements and how to make the most out of our time in placement. I reached out and sent him a link to my portfolio and he was kind enough to offer me some feedback.

I will be taking this on board and hopefully making the changes as soon as possible.

What I learnt the most through this process is that feedback is vital. Be it by peers, friends and even better yet more experienced designers. I also learnt to consider the user throughout the process.

Invoice design

So as part of our personal branding and for the design proposal we had to design an invoice template. I was not sure what to add so I started off by doing some research to know what I should add.

I found this website to be very helpful when researching invoices. I also found this blog post by William Simpson to be super helpful also.

What is an invoice?

An invoice is a document that you send to your client after they purchase goods or services from you, both as a means of recording the sale and of requesting payment from them.

Specifically, an invoice declares in writing what exactly the client purchased, when they purchased it, in what quantity and at what price.

What is their purpose?

They create a binding agreement between you and your customer that obliges the customer to pay the agreed price. As a result, invoices can be used when taking more formal actions, especially in the case of overdue or missing payments.

That’s because, in addition to stating the total amount to be paid by your customer, invoices also identify the payment terms, including when the payment must be made by and what, if any, the potential penalties are for late payments.

How to make a good design invoice

The invoice should look clean and it should be easy to read. It shouldn’t overwhelm the client with too much information but should include everything that’s important for your records and for them to understand your charges. When you’re creating the invoice, pay attention to the layout and consider how you’re going to bill for your work.

Your business logo, address, and other information they might need such as your phone number or email address ,must be included. Include your website if applicable. You’ll want to include your client’s name and information, an invoice number, and the date of the invoice. You’ll also want the invoice total to be in an easy to spot location.

Layout for a Design Invoice

  • Logo and information at the top, where it’s easy for the client to see.
  • Client name – middle
  • Date of the invoice – middle
  • Other important information. – middle
  • Break down the project and the costs.
  • Break down your project into subcategories that make sense for the project and include descriptions as needed.
  • Provide the cost based on how you’re billing the client and the total price for each section of the project.
  • At the bottom of the invoice, total the services, include any tax as necessary, subtract any amount they’ve already paid, and show the final amount they owe for your services.

How to Bill for Design Projects

You’re generally going to choose based on a set fee for each part of the project or hourly for the amount of time you spend on each part of the project. If you’re planning on charging clients set fees for various parts of the projects you work on, break down the invoice into those parts and write the cost for each one, then add them together to get the total. If you’re planning on charging an hourly price, write down which part of the project you worked on, the number of hours you spent on it, your hourly rate, and the total cost for each part of the project.

Your invoice reflects your business and should look fantastic yet be easy for you to fill out when needed and provide to your clients. 

Visual research

I started by doing some visual research. Here is a link to see it.

Here are some of my favourite ones:

I really like the simplicity of these 2 designs, it includes colour and personality without taking away from the important information.

I really like the colour scheme of the Invoice above especially because it is similar to my own colour scheme. The writing size is a big too small though – it is a bit hard to read.

I really like how they used blocks of colour to create a sort of structure to the information.

Here is a link to my Figma design file.

My Invoice

Emily Ussher Invoice pdf

I had a lot of fun making the invoice and I am pleased with how simple I was able to make it. I do think that as time goes on and I mature as a designer this aspect of my brand will also mature.

Getting ready to smash my first interview

Ok so in all seriousness, I have my first interview with Global Payments on Monday 22/11/21 at 11am. I am more excited than nervous but I would still like to be prepared so I decided to put all my key research and information that I think might help me here. I will also add an evaluation at the bottom of the post of how my interview went. 🙂

Who will be interviewing me?

  • Stephen Picton (Director, Technical communications)
  • Jordan Hamilton (UX designer)

** They were both so very lovely **

Things I know about the company

I reached out to Gemma Ferguson on LinkedIn to get some insider information and some tips on how to do well in my interview. That along with the Global Payments talk I had earlier in the year helped me pinpoint the things I would need to mention during my interview to leave a positive impression.

  • ACCESSIBILITY – in the US it is law – since they work at a global scale this is a big thing for the company. Make sure to mention how important this is to you as a designer.
  • User-centered design.
  • Focus on integrated payment solutions.
  • Sites/offices across the world.
  • Allows users to manage account, invoices, credit card, etc…
  • 24,000+ employees.
  • Dominic was a placement student last year.
  • Belfast and Foyle sites accounts for 80% of the revenue for the company.
  • They want to know about your design process and how you approach design problems.

Interview tips

  • Practice on someone in the design field and someone who’s not. The person interviewing you may not be a UX designer, so you should be comfortable answering in terms that will still make sense to a non-designer.
  • Be ready to share your screen. Whether you’re interviewing in person or online, you may be asked to share your UX design portfolio on your screen. Close any unnecessary windows, and practice navigating to the projects you want to highlight.
  • Don’t be afraid to stop and think before answering (especially for design challenges). Talk through your thought process out loud—this demonstrates your ability to think through problems analytically.

Possible questions

I started off by brainstorming on paper

I then looked up some articles that were recommended by my tutors to better understand what the employers will ask me and what they are trying to find out by asking me the questions. I read a great article on coursera that offed a lot of insight and helped me form my answers. I also used this article on Carerfoundry that was super helpful.

I found other articles that not only had possible UX questions but also had some suggested answers. I used these also to help me form my questions and answers. One of these resources was an article by Toptal that was great for breaking down what the question means and what the employer wants to hear.

1- Tell us about yourself

As explained in this article by coursera what they’re really asking you with this question is what makes you the right person for this position? why should they invest money and time in you? Are you worth it?

It sounds like a simple get-to-know-you question, but there’s more to it. This is question is my get-way into explaining my journey with UX design.


  • Why are you interested in UX?
  • How did you get started in UX?
  • Tell me a little bit more about your background.
  • What sparked your interest in UX?
  • What experiences did you have in your previous jobs or coursework that inspired you to pursue a career in UX design? – here I could talk about some of my part time roles in the service industry and how this helped me improve my communication skills, improve my time-management and taught me how to better deal and communicate with people.
  • Express what excites you about the role you’re applying for.
  • Why do you think you’re the best candidate for the job?

I plan on talking a bit about how my multicultural background informs my design solutions and how I found a love for intuitive and user friendly design through art when I moved to this country as it offered me a respite from the language barrier and allowed me to express my frustration, emotions and in a way communicate with the world. This translated into a love for facilitating interactions and communications for everyone.

2- What is UX design?

Other ways the question may be phrased:

  • What’s the value of UX design?
  • Why should we hire a UX designer?

What they’re really wanting to know is if you understand the value of the role. The interviewer is not looking for a simple dictionary definition of UX as they are most likely trying to figure out your understanding of the role—how it brings value to both customers and the business. I think that for this kind of question it’s very much about relating it back to the user and explaining what makes UX design special.


  • UX design is all about championing the user.
  • Empathy and user-centered design create value.
  • Talk about the ways in which you keep the user at the center of the design process: user research, personas and user journey maps, and usability testing.
  • Why should we hire a UX designer?
  • What’s the value of UX design?

3- Give me some of your favorite examples of good UX

This question is more about figuring out if you understand the elements of good user experience. Knowing why good UX is important is one thing. Knowing how to design good UX is another. This question digs into your knowledge of UX best practices. So think of apps in terms of usability, accessibility, how engaging and interactive they are…


  • What elements of the product, app, or website make the user experience enjoyable?
  • How is the design user-centric?
  • How do you think that impacts the company’s bottom line?

My examples:

  • Instagram – for its usability
  • Apples web store – so smooth, simple, and intriguing, it draws you in
  • Pinterest – intuitive
  • Spotify – great personalization

4- Give me some of your examples of bad UX

Here I would also talk about the importance of UX as a bad experience will stay with a user and it will make achieving their task harder. It also reduces their trust and patience for the product or service.

  • Translink timetables – will not read outload past the title (not accessible). Clunky and awkward to use
  • Ryanair booking platform – I like to think of it as sneaky UX, it makes it complicated and confusing to trick you into spending more money. Opposite of user first design. You can tell that it is about the bottom line for the company.

5- What is the difference between UX and UI?

Do you understand what UX is and isn’t (and how it fits into the bigger picture)? This is a hard but clever question as more often than not the terms UI and UX are used interchangeably or simply lumped together, they represent distinct roles in the product development process. Make sure you can communicate the difference between a product looking good (UI) and working effectively and efficiently (UX).

Designing for the user interface often plays an important role in the work of a UX designer, but it is not the only function.


  • UX considers the users needs and how to make a digital product accessible to its users.
  • UI design is concerned with the effective layout of visual elements on a user interface, UX design is ‘people first.’ It’s about what motivates them—how they think and behave.
  • How to get the user from A to B as simply as possible
  • Talk about the freelance branding you did and how you had to act as the Graphic designer, UI and UX designer all at once and how you had to continually justify your design decisions.
  • UI design is only one slice of the UX design process ‘pie’, and only one of many different disciplines that reside under the UX banner. These include, but are not limited to: a user-centered design strategy, core user demographic definition, persona creation, user research, information architecture, content strategy, interaction design, visual design and usability testing.
  • What’s the difference between a UX designer and a graphic designer?
  • How is UX design different from visual design?
  • What sets UX apart from other design disciplines?

6- What is the future of UX?

This is a fun question as you can really delve into the innovations that excite you in the industry and the things you would love to explore.

I found an article that really helped me to inform my answers, click here to read it.

Possible talking points:

  • focus on ease of use through motion design and gestural interfaces
  • Voice commands for minimal to no contact interfaces
  • AR/ VR – Corporations like IKEA, Target, and Home Depot are already incorporating augmented reality into their online shopping experiences. And let’s not forget when Pokemon Go’s AR technology took over the globe.
  • Ilya Kroogman, Lead UI/UX Designer and Founder of The Digital Panda stated that “The future of UX design is in a combination of intuitive/predictive AI as well as quality voice/chatbots. Being able to interact with technology in a natural Human-like manner will accelerate technological adoption and increase user satisfaction.”

7- What are your weaknesses?

8- Why do you want to work for Global Payments?

I remember when you came to give us a talk you mentioned that UX is the heart of the development process in Global Payments, this is something that really attracted me to the company as the more you elaborated on this the clearer it became that the customer comes first and that important elements of design like accessibility and creating user centered designs are at the forefront.

9- Walk me through your workflow/your design process

Other ways the question may be phrased:

  • Describe your design process and what methods you follow.

  • Describe your design process for us.

What they want to know is what is your thought process is when it comes to solving problems?

This question is all about analyzing your critical thinking and problem solving skills. It is key to choose a successful project you’ve worked on in the past and walk through the steps you took. Structure your answer much like the design process itself by mentioning how you researched, designed, and validated your design decisions. Avoid the temptation to answer this question in general terms.


  • A deep curiosity and a constant desire to learn.
  • understanding of both user and business goals.
  • Competitive audits, stakeholder interviews, user research involving interviews and surveys, content audits, information architecture, user personas, business model canvases, mood boards, storyboards, empathy maps, use case scenarios and user flows, customer journeys, wireframes, mockups, and prototypes.
  • Applying these UX methodologies and learning directly from users.
  • Walk me through your portfolio.
  • What’s your design process?
  • Tell me about a project that challenged you. How did you work through the challenge?

10- What kind of research methods do you use?

What they’re really asking: How do you validate your design decisions?

User research is a key part of the UX design process, so interviewers will sometimes want to gauge your familiarity with the process and methods.

You can approach this question in a couple of ways. Be sure to walk through any user research methods you’ve used in the past (this can include research you conducted as part of a course or degree project). Talk about the benefits and limitations of each method.

If you have limited experience in UX design, you can also frame your answer in terms of research methods you’d like to try and why.

  • Have you conducted user research in the past?
  • How do you decide which research method to use?

11- How do you respond to negative feedback? 

What they’re really asking: Are you a team player?

Part of the interview process involves figuring out what you’re like to work with. Can you work collaboratively? Are you able to incorporate different ideas and viewpoints into your designs? Do you trust your team members with your work?

UX design is a highly collaborative process. Take this opportunity to talk about a successful collaboration. This could be a group project or a team effort in a previous job. No matter the example you choose, remember to point out the role you played in the group, how you overcame any challenges, what you learned from your teammates, and how the finished product benefitted from the collaboration.

  • Do you work well as part of a team?
  • Describe your ideal work environment.
  • How do you hand over your designs to developers?

12- Tell me about your most/least successful UX design project.

What are your biggest strengths or weaknesses?

Getting asked about the design project you’re most proud of is your chance to showcase your strengths. Outline your contributions to the project, then go into a little more detail about what made it so successful. As you prepare for this question, see if you can tie in some of the qualities listed in the job description for the role.

The negative version of the question is another way to ask you about your weaknesses. Be honest, but keep the focus on what you learned from the not-so-successful project and what you’d do differently in the future.

No matter which version of the question you get, take it as an opportunity to define how you measure success (hint: tie it to the user).

  • Walk me through your portfolio.
  • What is your biggest strength/weakness as a UX designer?
  • Tell me about a design problem that challenged you.

13- How would you improve the UX of our product?

Have you done your research?

It’s always a good idea to read up on the company you’re applying to ahead of your interview. This demonstrates your interest in this company and this role as opposed to any other UX designer job.

Take some time to explore the company’s products. Browse their website. Use their app if they have one.

Think about what works and what could be improved. Pick one or two examples, and come up with a sample plan of action. Remember to mention the company’s target users and the type of research you might conduct when enhancing an existing design.

The point here isn’t to bash your potential employer but to offer a preview of the value you’d bring to the company.

  • Tell me about a bad user experience you’ve had. How would you fix it?

14- Where do you find inspiration?

Are you passionate about UX design? Are you a lifelong learner?

Interviewers are generally looking for a couple of things when they ask a question like this. First, they want to know that you’re genuinely interested in the industry. Second, they want to know that you’re staying on top of trends. Third, they want to see that you’re always looking for ways to learn and improve.

There’s no right or wrong answer here.

You could discuss a design book you’ve read recently, pointing out a tip or two you gleaned from it. You could talk about a UX podcast you listen to, or a trend you read about in a design blog. How could that trend contribute to this company’s success? Maybe there’s a UX designer you follow on Twitter who always inspires you with new ideas.

If you’re not regularly consuming UX design media, now’s the time to start. Here’s a list of UX books, blogs, and podcasts to get you going.

  • What do you think is the next big trend in UX design?
  • What inspires you?
  • What inspires your work?

15- Do you have any questions?

Are you engaged and curious?

This question closes out many interviews, and it’s important that you come prepared with your own thoughtful questions. The main point of an interview is for a company to determine whether you’re a good fit for a role. But that goes both ways. This is your chance to explore whether the company is a good fit for you.

Demonstrate your interest in the company and the job by asking two or three questions. You can prepare some questions ahead of time, but don’t be afraid to ask questions that may have come up during the interview process. Topics to inquire about might include the company culture, team structure, and business goals.

16- Describe a recent project you were particularly challenged by and how you approached the problem.

Here they want to see what your design process is and how you tackle issues. It is essential to have a clear strategy to facilitate an end goal.


  • What did you find challenging and why?
  • How did you set out to come up with a solution?
  • did you gather extra user-generated data to help solve the problem/brief? – collecting data using analytics, testing the design on a specific demographic in a format that makes the most sense.
  • Testing wireframes or interactive prototypes on users to either validate or reject hypotheses.
  • Sending a survey to a wider demographic to better understand product market fit.
  • Did you employ remote moderated user-testing, or some kind of remote research methodology in order to listen to users and arrive at better design solutions?
  • Readily share enthusiasm about how you approach problems.

17- The Whiteboard Challenge

How do you perform under pressure? Can you back up the skills listed on your resume?

Many UX designer interviews include a hands-on design challenge. Sometimes this is a take-home project that you turn in later. More commonly, it’s a whiteboard challenge, where you’re asked to design a solution on the spot while talking through your process.

This can be intimidating, but keep in mind that it’s more about seeing your process in action than the final result. Break this down into a few steps:


1. Ask questions to clarify what the challenge entails. What are the expected outcomes? What factors should you consider?

2. Ask more questions to help you build a user persona.

3. Create a user story. Outline what the user would need to solve their problem and the steps they might take.

4. Draw a few critical wireframes on the whiteboard. Explain what you’re including and why.

5. Discuss some alternatives or other use cases.

6. Respond to any feedback with improvements.

7. Ask if there’s anything else you should iterate on.

Practice the process with a real whiteboard ahead of the interview. Here are a few sample challenges to practice with:

  • Design a child-friendly app for a store that makes custom teddy bears.
  • Design a mobile app to help singles safely find a roommate in a big city.
  • Re-design a popular dating app to make it more useful during the pandemic.
  • Design something from the Designercize prompt generator.

So in a nutshell I think that UX design interview questions tend to fall into a few categories:

  • All About You
  • All About Your Work
  • All About Your Process
  • What Makes You Tick?
  • What Are Your Goals?

Questions I have for the end of the interview

  1. What staff development programs do you have?
  2. During our placement program will we be given mentorship and if so how often
  3. Company culture
  4. Team structure
  5. Business
  6. How many projects will I be working on durin/ project opportunities
  7. Opportunities to work in orther areas
  8. What have you learned over the year on how to improive ypour designs
  9. Would you be willing to give me some feedback on how I was able to articulate my answers and describe my design process.



Core systems

Core – Transforming lives together

Core Systems (NI) Ltd – North Belfast


  • Roisin – Product delivery manager
  • Ellie (Placement student)

About Core systems 

  • Focus on the criminal justice sector
  • 200 thousand users using their products across Australia, USA
  • Challenging
  • How can they help the prisoner while they are incarserated.


To utilize technology to make life better for individuals in the criminal justice system.

For the victim, the workers and the imprisoned.

The problem:

  • Reoffending – within 3 months after release about 50% of them go back.
  • Nothing is being fixed so they try to give them tools while in prison to make sure they do not re-offend.
  • Some come from disadvantaged backgrounds and their needs are not meet before or after prison
  • The average reading age of prisoners is of a  8 – 10 year old.

The solution:

  • Communication with friends and family while in prison to prevent reoffending.
  • Self-service modules (doing things for yourself and not relying on other people) teaches them tools they need for when they are released.
  • E-learning.
  • Shop ordering (Helps them to budget)
  • Meals selection (makes them responsible to make sure they get the food they like).

By allowing them access to these key skills the aim is to help them improve upon themselves and keep up with technology so when they leave they are not alienated.

  • Avoid causing frustration or anger when creating the software to avoid fights or irritating a prisoner.

Working at Core systems

What they need from their people:

  • Curiosity and imagination
  • Creative problem solving
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Analytic and critical thinking
  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism

Come forward with your ideas, they appreciate it all.

How they work:

Agile practices – this allows them to develop products very quickly.

What does the flow look like? Is it technically feasible?

Meet every other Thursday to agree on what they will be working on and then spend 2 weeks developing.

  • Product development level
  • Marketing and graphic design
  • Opportunities to work in UI and UX
  • Working on a live product being delivered to customers.

Skype and teams – working remotely atm. Then they will have a hybrid working model by early next year.

Things you get to do:

  • Loads of prototypes to take to people to ensure it is correct. Great way to get feedback
  • Get to work with product rebranding team – Varied role
  • Get to work on UI and UX

Ellie – placement student

  • Been there 4 months
  • Working to create designs for product pathways
  • Working towards a set of existing UI standards
  • Considering the user when doing UX
  • THE USER!!!!!! they have a low level of education so the language, text size and visual element has to be very carefully considered.
  • Working as part of a bigger team
  • Creating prototypes
  • Consistency for better user experience
  • Saves documents with quick description for developers
  • Worked with the business team creating designs for them for marketing
  • Variation in work
  • Her first project was creating a core banner


  • Colour
  • Logo
  • Imagery
  • Get brief and look at previous designs then get some feedback, make some changes and other options then get the final outcome

Creating an e-Book

Web design

The design team is relatively small so you get a lot of design freedom and your input is appreciated.


1- Working from home

  • Was in the office for a few weeks to be introduced.
  • People who were not in the office even messaged her to introduced themselves.
  • She slowly transitioned to working from home.
  • Loads of support to remote working transition.

2- Consider their audience. When they went into prison was even something as old as Facebook a thing?

3- Cortney is working there atm (final year student)

4- What impresses them:

Empathy, understanding the user, creativity, feedback, user research

4- How many placement students can you take on?

Only 1.


02890 722044




  • Interview to get a feel for you
  • December – January

What kind of designer?

Guest speaker: Ronan McKinless

His experience:

  • 17 years experience.
  • Worked for large and small companies and startups.
  • Currently working for himself. He has worked within agencies, startups and now freelance.

I found Ronan’s talk to be very helpful, afterwards he has a Q&A session, now this is what helped me the most. Here are pictures of the notes I made:

Ronan was also kind enough to give me his email so I could send him my portfolio for him to review and give feedback on.

Overall this session was very helpful.


Speaker: Jason from Instil is the head of design at Instil.

Lessons he wishes he knew at the start of his career:

  • Play exploding kittens they do it – Good team building exercise, it would also be a talking point for an interview.
  • Think of your career like a game.
  • Don’t be a control freak.
  • Being a designer is about convincing the people in the room that your ideas and concepts are the right one.
  • Everything is a remix (Talk by Kirby Ferguson) talks of imposter syndrome and inspiring yourself constantly. We put pressure on ourselves to design in a vacuum when in reality this does not tend to work. Gather inspiration from every aspect of life and bring it into your designs. Ample ( has an inspirational blog), it’s about documenting your inspiration. Hot potato by Brad and Dan Frost is another great blog for inspiration.
  • Have a creative outlet – a project that you are passionate about outside your 9 -5. Think of how you get sick of the food in the place you work at. You need to mix things up. Jason’s creative outlet is his blog fathers father.
  • Your career development is a game, so have fun.
  • You will not be able to control everything if you can’t control it – move on, don’t sweat it.
  • Leveling up – know your worth.
  • Cheat codes – you do, you. Look up other designers work and get inspired. Steal my dear. Work in whatever way works best for you.  Don’t take your feedback so personally, find people in your life that understand good design and that will tell you if your design is rubbish when it is.

Instil the company

  • 16 yrs old.
  • They are a holistic product based company.
  • They have a design team of 2 and external help.
  • Consultancy – get to work with clients in a long term basis eg 2yrs.
  • Room for moving and improving different skills eg UX and also improving UI.
  • Website is a work in progress engineering one not a design one.

IDEA: design a few ideas for new ideas for their website for their interview.


  • Split time with marketing and project work – agency and product experience.
  • Small company.
  • Paid placement.
  • Can be offered a job before leaving placement year, if get a 1st honors then get £5000 bonus when starting.

Soft skills they like

  • Empathy
  • Shared interests
  • Think big picture
  • Being able to articulate design as you will be in a room full of engineers – you need to make them understand why your idea is the best for meeting their needs.
  • The blogs will be seen as part of your written communication skills as the case study area in your portfolio is only a snapshot of your work.
  • Why is design necessary? think of building a house but not involving an architect – it simply would not work.
  • Read tragic design – this book has some great insight for inexperienced designers.
  • jasonk@instil.com is his email – they are happy for us to reach out to them and have an informal chat about the company.


UX placement opportunities 2022 – 2023

Speaker: Damon Rodgers (UX designer)

Who will be conducting the interviews?

Andrew Rossborogh (Lead UX/UI designer)  he will interview for the role; he is a good mentor and was in Kyles university class.

What does he want to see?

Research –> Analyze (crazy 8s) –> Design –> Prototype –> deliver, test and reflect.

Who is FinTrU

  • Finance and security.
  • creating solutions for Investment banks that will be used throughout the world.
  • employer and company of the year.
  • Mental health support.
  • Hybrid working.
  • Coffee bar.

What we get

  • How to combine UX thinking with design execution.
  • Planning and running user tests.
  • Designing and prototyping elegant solutions for complex problems.
  • Supported by an assigned mentor.
  • Employee assisted program – they will fund you to study after degree.
  • Performance related rewards.
  • Training and development.
  • Competitive salary.
  • 23 days and 10 bank holidays off.
  • Can skip 1st year graduate program.
  • Comprehensive health and wellbeing strategy.

Placement students

  • Patrick Boutilier

Who are they looking for?

  • User research (survey, interview and usability testing).
  • Passion for quality.
  • Prioritize and plan your work.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Figma.


  • Examples of work including screen designs/prototypes.
  • How you can frame the problem you were trying to solve – research.
  • The process – decision making.
  • Ability to talk through your portfolio with confidence.
  • Ability to reflect on what you learned and how you grew.

How to apply:

Go to FinTrU website and apply there – apply to portal – then they select who they interview – then look at portfolio.

Interview question

  • Can you tell us your UX process relating back to your portfolio.

I also attended a career talk given by FinTrU; here are the notes I made:


What are they? A high tech security company

Headquarters – Boston

Belfast office

The Belfast headquarters is an innovation hub – named one of the leading places to work at.

Set up in 2014 with 1 employee, now they have over 300 employees.

The teams building owns all of the company flagship products.

They have an awesome reception, makers space and library, main café and a gaming space.

Placement program

  • Interns become valuable members of the team from day 1.
  • About 80% of the interns receive employment offers to return to work with them after graduation.
  • Around 150 interns have come through the process since it started in 2014.
  • Some of the initial interns are now Lead Engineers.

Jordan – previous intern

  • Started 7 years ago.
  • 9 Interns entered the office with a full time staff.
  • In the chaos he learned and became able to apply knowledge from university into his designs.
  • Has travelled all over – from being sent to courses, company kick off in Belfast or Boston.


  1. What was your training before you went into Rapid7 Jordan? I’m just wondering if there’s a preference to what type of education background you’re coming from.   –  He went to Jordanstown not knowing real word experience. EAGERNESS is what they are looking for, don’t worry about feeling that you are not really. Prove that you are ready and willing to learn.
  2. Internships make a huge difference in building up your skill.
  3. Experience will not be a factor – they know we have just started to learn.
  4. There is room for transitioning between roles; even between different UX roles.

Opportunities available for me –> UX design & engineering and product management  5 going to UX design and 1 to product management

What to expect as an intern

  • Opportunity to work on real production code from the very start.
  • Formal training program to help you settle.
  • Learn lots of new technology.
  • Be treated as a regular team member.
  • Be assigned a mentor – guidance and assistance. Helps you learn at a pace that suits you best within the company.
  • We will give you an experience as valuable as possible, setting you up for a successful final year.
  • Offer to return as a graduate if you have been successful.

What do they expect from me?

  • Good attitude and aptitude.
  • Passion for learning technology.
  • Experience is not necessary they will provide us with the tools to learn and be successful.

Erin – previous intern (engineering)

  • She did not have the instill training interns get now.
  • Joined in 2016.
  • Only girl in the team – never felt like it though.
  • She was able to write code from the ground up and architecture information, take part in meetings.
  • Studied in Queens.
  • Questions were always welcomed.
  • Types of technologies she is using now – pretty much everything was new to her. Java, and really any new product or software that is relevant – you are constantly learning. Its a great way to mature in your career also.


  1. Ask questions.
  2. Learn through your mentors.


  • Attractive salary about £20000.
  • 24 days annual leave and bank/public holidays.
  • Private health, life and travel insurance.
  • Company pension plan with generous (7%) employer contribution.
  • Company shares plan at 15% discount.
  • Employee assistance program – mental health support.
  • When in the office, snacks and refreshments available.
  • Pool table, table tennis and board games available.
  • Regular office gatherings with breakfast, lunch or dinner provided. Monthly they do Belfast time hall to hear what everyone is working on and welcome new hires.
  • They have a speak easy pub in the office.

Next steps

  1. Apply!!!!!! closing date 29 October.
  2. Candidates will be contacted to schedule their own 15 minute pre screen interview with one of our engineering managers – COME PREPARED – big about CV, yourself, company and interest surrounding industry.
  3. If successful, you will be contracted regarding a technical interview. 90 mins – Check spam folder pls  These will happen in November. Puzzle you must solve with the team to see how you would work together.
  4. All interviews will take place via Zoom.
  5. the talent acquisition team will be in touch with applications outcomes and offers.

They have a take home challenge – get a design problem and solve it with wireframes and prototypes then get 15mins in the interview to explain it.

TIPS for the design challenge

  • Be prepared.
  • Do research, explore their products.
  • Avoid a vanilla CV.
  • What will make you stand out (in a good way).
  • Take your time with the design challenge. Don’t just show a polished design, show your thought process.

Final reflections

  • They will look to see when you join them what roles makes the most sense to your skills and designers and natural abilities – They will ensure you are doing the role that is best suited for you. Transition is an option.
  • Big JAVA house. C++ and Python.
  • For UX development they use HTML, SASS, react, vanilla ds.
  • UX design – figma, miro.
  • They are not super strict when it comes to time. As the norm expectation work from 10 – 4 or 9 -5. Really whatever works best, just use some sense and work in a productive way and in a time that works with your team.
  • Still working from home but they don’t know what will be happening next year.
  • Design challenges – hard design challenge of scale.

Rapid7 placement talk

Speaker: Mike

Date: 28/10/21

Who is Rapid7?

  • Service protection/security company.
  • Protection.
  • Prevention.
  • Security.
  • We are the force behind the people who protect you everyday – securing your connection online, making sure your connection, passwords and data is secure. They build this software.
  • We protect the tools that protect society: Cloud security, threat protection (Use AI to anticipate threats), Security automated, vulnerability management, application security, Incident detection and support —> could consider this a novel cause.
  • We are powering the cyber protectors.

Why does UX matter in Cyber security?

  • We are designing the critical experience for our users. It must be powerful, reliable and extensive. But they are nothing if they are not usable – they must be user friendly.

3000 staff across the UK, Japan, US, Amsterdam, etc.

Design system:

  1. Discovery:   Brief –> 5 whys (Is it inline with user wishes, is it technically feasible, do we have the people to do it?) –> Heuristic review –> feasibility review (talk to some engineers, product managers before suggesting it) –> Competitor review (Help or support pages are great to show how they explain their process) –>  Tooling (What tools will I use to achieve this? It’s about choosing the right tool to create prototypes easily to then present it to the team – what is the tool quit of my team?) –> User research (what are your users really saying? User centered) –> Analytics () –> Market landscape
  2. Design: Insights –> Design principles –> Design system integrations –> Brand experience –> Artefacts –> Exploration  –> Progress review –> Prototyping
  3. Build: Learn at least the basics of HTML and CSS and Java so you can have an educated talk with the developers.
  4. Test: Prototype –> Peer test –> User test –> Device test (Put your designs in as many devices as possible as they will look different depending on their settings) –> Quality assurance (Don’t mark your own homework – you are not impartial) –> Accessibility test (Make sure whatever you create is accessible) –> Performance test –> Benchmarking (against other experiences – eg how many clicks does it take? How quickly can a user get through it?) –> Done criteria (Are you ticking off the criteria boxes? Can we automate this? Is it successful? … Ask for the definition of what being ‘done’ will be for this project)

They work in an agile way (2 week cycle for UX design).

At the end of the design system something gets pushed live.

What they are looking for:

  • Think in a problem solving way.
  • Accessible designing.
  • Being a great UX practitioner also means being a great storyteller – Tell them a good story of how you reached your design.

Design in an art. UX is a science

  • UX process can be learned.
  • Design is products solving, creating something that is aesthetic and usable.
  • Learn by doing it, living it and practicing it. Get your hands dirty. Learn through doing.
  • Understanding the why and testing ideas.

What to say in interview:

  • Want to work for this company as I believe the work they do is a novel cause that protects those that protect us.
  • Talk about design systems – how UX and UI should be implemented across.
  • Waterfall vs Agile design system – Agile is better but research it and make a blog post.
  • Be ready to tell the story of your work.
  • Be ready to tell your story.
  • Help design the critical experience and empower the protectors.
  • They like slack as a social platform.

Application process dates and info

  • How long until we hear back: Couple of weeks – November 8th.
  • They review websites as soon as you submit it #screed.
  • Remote and onsite work.
  • It will be a 10 month long placement.

At the careers fair event I had a few 1 to 1s with some of the members of the Rapid7 team – what I was able to learn is that they are a great company, that would offer any placement student a nurturing place to learn and grow.

Here are the notes I took: