Timeline: June - September 2017
Project Type: Internship
My Role: UX Engineer Intern on Brand Studio
Tools: HTML, CSS, JS, Jinja, SCSS, Unity, C#
Skills: Frontend Development, Daydream VR Development, User Research
In June of 2017, I moved to the valley and worked out of Google's SF office where I joined the Brand Studio Creative Engineering team as a UX Engineer Intern. I worked along side my manager, Jacques Bruwer, as well as many other talented Creative Engineers, UX Designers, and Marketers.
Because my work has yet to be publicly released, my NDA doesn't allow me to talk about the specifics of my work.
A UX Engineer works on a hybrid of UX Design and Frontend. They act as a bridge between UX Designers and Software Developers, thinking about design decisions as well as implementation details. Within the UX Engineering realm, there are two focuses: a developer focus and a designer focus. I sat at the developer focus and much of my work was prototyping early stage ideas. More about the role.
TLDR; Brand Studio is a group of Designers, Engineers, PMs, Strategists, and Marketers who build creative experiences that encapsulate Google's brand. I was apart of a sub team called Creative Engineering.
As stated on their website:
"The Brand Studio is a passionate team of creative thinkers tasked with shaping the future of Google brands by deepening the love of our users. As part of this team, you work with many kinds of creative thinkers all tasked with ensuring creative excellence across the Google Marketing landscape. Your goal is to deliver one integrated Google brand experience, and to better define the Google Marketing way. By embracing user insights, strategic thinking, and beautiful design paired with provocative execution, you strive to create delightfully intuitive (and delightfully inventive!) experiences that will define the future of our brand."
One of my two projects over the internship involved developing for Daydream, Google's Pixel phone powered VR headset. This was my first time building for this device as well as my first time designing and building an end-to-end VR experience. All development was done using Unity and C# scripts.
Designing a VR experience forced me to think about many different facets of the user experience such as spatial audio design, optimal text readability, and onbaording instructions.
Another facet of this project that I learned from was how to demo for VR. Providing a good VR demo experience is extremely nuanced and challenging. I found I need to be flexible and adapt my approach based on how experienced and comfortable the person feels in a VR headset. Often times, people who have little to no experience using VR just stay in the same spot, facing the same direction. They don't fully utilize the 360 degrees of rotation so I have to give queues during the demo as well as in the design of the epxerience itself. Sometimes, they would tend to forget which buttons to push and have to feel around the controller. So I tried familiarizing users with the different buttons on the controller before they put their headset on.
This project was a fantastic catalyst for me to build on my XR design/development experience!