Elvira Gatina – New York App Designers, NYCCT/CUNY, COMD 4900, Summer 2015
My internship experience with New York App Designers.
I started my internship with New York App Designers last week. It is a private, small, start up company, and there is only one supervisor and 6 interns including me. The company focuses on creating applications for mobile devices for small businesses, as well as providing monthly services and access to platform later on. The platform allows any small business to simultaneously create, edit, and manage mobile apps and mobile websites online without any programming knowledge needed. Small businesses include but not limited to non-profit organizations, restaurants, spa salons located in NYC.
New York App Designers has several locations; one is in Manhattan another one is in Brooklyn. I worked only in Brooklyn location so far, which is located at Fulton Street.
You may visit New York App Designers website here.
I feel that my work brings a lot of value to the company. Each intern has to come up with a strategy for an application to make it interesting, catchy and valuable for client and users. In order to do that we have to research, brainstorm, analyze and compare different app features. After finding an interesting, legitimate solution we will create the whole design and layout for an application. I like the fact that my job will encompass different aspects of being a designer. I have to think, come up with concept and solution and not only work on layout. I hope that I will end up with great projects that will be used in real life and also serve me as a great portfolio pieces.
After finishing an app we will visit the client at their work site and pitch them the demo app. We will make any revisions and take into consideration client’s feedback. Presenting and “selling” your work to real client will be a great experience and I hope to improve my presentation skills as well.
Since there is only one person in the company, I think each student’s role in it is very important. We are being involved in the process from coming up with strategy for the product to presenting it to the client. My supervisor’s name is Khalidi and he founded his company 1.5 years ago.
I got my internship through Brooklyn Tech Triangle Internship Program. I submitted my application online first, got selected for the program, and then created a profile and portfolio at apploi.com. I had to choose 8 companies that I was interested in. The next step was a Speed interview event, where I met companies that I chose. I talked with supervisors, went over my portfolio and then I had to submit survey with top choices of companies I prefer to work with. During interviews most of the questions were related to my portfolio, specific projects, my goals and skills. My first choice was New York App Designers and after 2 weeks I got notified that I got position in this company.
I think Brooklyn Tech Triangle Internship program is a great chance for students to get prepared to work in the field. We had a week of orientation before we started internship, where we learnt about policies, rules, ethics etc. Moreover, BTTIP collaborated with Beyond Coding program this summer and we are required to attend their seminars along with working on our sites. These seminars are taking places in different locations such as Tumblr, Foursquare, and Crest.
Beyond Coding program was created this summer for the first time to teach students about coding, networking, advice us on how to look for a job in tech field, etc. We are required to do homework after each session. At the end of all courses we will receive a certificate and attend hiring fair. Even though I am not a web designer, I think I still can benefit from this program, learn something and get new connections. The dress code is very strict; we are required to dress professionally.
Moreover, BTTIP is not only helping students to find internship sites, but also provides us with tons of helpful information such as job postings, interesting blogs, etc. Collaboration with Beyond Coding makes program even more intense and educational.
The dress code at my work site is casual. Since company is very small, the attire is informal. However, when we are going to meet the clients to present them our demo apps we have to dress professionally. The rest of the time we can wear comfortable and neat clothes. However, I still try to dress formally even though it is not required. The company has multiple locations; the one we work in is a Recreation area / Rochester College. Our workstation there is similar to a computer lab in the school.
We work Monday through Thursday from 9am-5pm. The typical day includes 8 hours at work site, one of which is a lunch hour. On Tuesdays, when we attend Beyond Coding events we only work 4 hours and then from 6pm to 9pm we visit different sites, listen for lectures, participate and get homework assignments.
Strategy of my application.
I am learning a lot in terms of coming up with strategy, design itself and presentation. I will go over first mobile application that I created in details. I chose World Animal Protection non-profit organization as my first client.
You may visit their website here.
For my application I came up with many features. Other than standard ones that benefit and differentiate mobile app from mobile website (Push notifications, Messages, News tab, Donate tab, Social media tabs, One touch call tab, etc) I created many features specifically for this company.
World Animal Protection collects votes to help back up Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare by United Nations. They already have more than 2 million votes, so an app will have an easy fill out form to submit a petition.
There is also will be Find Information Tab that will allow user to find nearest shelter and pets vet. The map will be embedded and give user different options in certain radius. So, for example if user wants to do a vaccination for his dog (organization educates about vaccination), he will be able to find the nearest vet office.
Since all non-profit organizations are based on community, I think it is a great idea to organize different social events, where people with similar interests can meet, socialize, have fun and learn from each other. For World Animal Protection organization I thought it would be great promotional and attracting campaign to organize different events in local parks. For example, dog contests, educational classes, parties, and pet shows in different areas. These events will be hold under Events Tab.
Other feature I created is Snap photo Tab that allows user to report a problem that relates to animal suffering / abuse. Users will be able to take a photo or video and send it to a government structures. Also user will be able to share any other photos.
I think with non-profit organizations it is always questionable for people where does their money actually go. It will be nice to see that your donation actually went for a good cause. So, each user will receive a Thank you e-card with a photo of an animal that his donation helped to save. The User’s Gallery Tab will hold all images of saved animals.
Design and layout of my application.
Design that I created reflects company’s branding and color scheme. Their logo consists of black and orange colors, so not only I placed it on all pages, I used same orange tint for the whole app. Home page will have a slider that shows organizations work in different areas: animals in community, in disasters, in farming, in the wild. So placing those categories with imagery will already be visually very informative and in a way summarize organizations main aspects. I took all photos from their website, so I didn’t have to worry about legal issues. So, for home page background image will stay the same and slider will only change categories at the bottom.
I have to also look at my product from a business point of view. What value will it bring to my client? Will it be useful for him and/or for users? How it will be different from mobile website? What features should I add? These are all marketing questions that help me understand client as a business.
Luckily, I am not performing any clerical duties. Since day one, I am dealing only with applications.
After I finished my first app I created a flyer that will be used during presentation and also shown for demo purposes. I created flyer in the same style as the whole application. I used similar layout to my home page where at the bottom one slider of small thumbnail images changes another. Color scheme, logo placement, images – everything echoing app design.
Even though each intern has his own application to work on, we try to help each other. Especially when it comes to graphic design part it is difficult for some interns to work on it, as they are web developers. Some of them didn’t even have basic Photoshop skills, so we try to help them. Also we had a group discussion when we worked on our strategy for application. We were brainstorming together, giving each other feedbacks and suggesting ways to improve. Overall, we don’t have any group projects, each intern is focusing on his own application.
Even thought I haven’t pitched any of my projects to the clients yet, I think I did a great job working on them. I have been receiving good feedback from my supervisor and other interns. I try to learn as much as possible and do my best to stay focused and engaged with my work. I try to get the best experience out of my summer internship and get new connections. If my application launches, it will be great portfolio piece. So, I am really hoping for my hard work to pay off.
After finishing my first app I started working on the second one. The company I chose is City Arts non-profit organization. City Arts empowers, educates, and connects youth and children locally and around the world to become active participants in realizing their potential and transforming communities through creative process. I have already created a demo flyer and I am working on my strategy now.
I have attended many of Beyond Coding events. First event we had was a kick off event at Tumblr building, where we met all companies. They informed us what to expect from Beyond Coding seminars and talked a little bit about their companies. I will go over one specific event from last week. Crest Company held that event at Stack Overflow building and the topic of seminar was Networking. The speaker did a presentation, created real life situations that we had to solve and went over some features of social media sites. She taught us how to network and stay in touch with people, what are the differences between certain connections, how behave in certain situations etc. Social media is a huge part of networking, so we talked about privacy and publicity of it. The speaker also talked about difference in networking between men and women.
In her presentation she brought up many interesting facts from the history that emphasized importance of networking. For example, she talked about Rosa Parks who refused to give up her bus seat. In fact, there were other women who did the same thing before her but it never got that much attention. Why? It turned, that Rosa was involved in some political organization and had connections. That is why her story made so much noise. This example shows how important networking is and I really found that part of her presentation very interesting.
The Stack Overflow office was incredibly beautiful and the view was breathtaking and inspiring. I hope one day I will be able to work in the office with that kind of view (see photos below).
Thank you for reading, please feel free to leave your feedback, comment and/or ask questions!