Teaching materials

I currently teach a Mobile User Experience at Fordham University. I am sharing my teaching materials, including useful tips for students and teachers. 

Spring 2020 - Student work


What is interaction design?

I constanstly get asked the meaning of interaction design and what my day to day looks.

It is the design of the interaction between users and products. Most often when people talk about interaction design, the products tend to be software products like apps or websites. The goal of interaction design is to create products that enable the user to achieve their objective(s) in the best way possible.

Online resources (free) to learn more about interaction design (IxD).

Interaction Design Foundation
Nielsen Norman Group
UX planet
A list apart

Interaction Design is for human use.


Internship criteria

What hiring managers/recruiters look for in a portfolio.

While I was working at Frog I went to plenty of job fairs to meet good talent and looked at plenty of applications in Greenhouse and interviewed potential candidates for summer internships. I came across some really good and not-so-good portfolios. We wanted to hire the best talent, but we didn't have internship criteria in place; Meaning what is a good UX designer's portfolio? What is a good visual designer's portfolio? 

I interviewed recruiters, hiring managers, and department chairs at the School of Visual Arts and MICA. After hearing what they had to say, I identified 8 themes.

Look for audience-centered thinking.

Portfolios that are cleanly presented with wonderful projects is nothing without the focus of audience. If the portfolio is hard to navigate or not thinking about audience then it is a clear indication that they are not thinking about the audience altogether. 

Look for clarity.

How is the presentation of the portfolio? Is it messy or organized? The presentation of the portfolio is oftentimes an indicator of clarity of thought.

Capacity to learn.

It’s important to ask yourself: Does this person have the capacity to learn from us? We want the person to gain something from the internship, so consider the capacity for growth.

Not just a gray box.

Look for someone who can solve complex problems, not just the coolest ones and have experience in screen based design. 

It’s all about the process.

Sketches and wireframes are important, but you should look for other ways they have communicated their process. The final product does not matter, rather the process of how they got there.

Side hustle.

Look for "personal projects" and for work with strong content or point of view. Are they passionate about what they are doing? Do they care about their work?

Get personal.

Get to know the applicant through their portfolio and resume. It’s nice to know about their career transitions and how they became a designer.

Set expectations.

New interns expect to work on topics they are passionate about, but truthfully they end up working on complex project work. During the interview process set their expectations of the work they might be doing at frog.

© Elushika Weerakoon 2024
Interaction designer / Product designer