Design thinking and user-centered design continue to rapidly gain traction across a diversity of fields. As such, it is extremely important that students are equipped with the design tools necessary to succeed in industry today. The leadership team of Design at UCSD, the largest pre-professional design thinking organization at UC San Diego, recently embarked on their annual Bay Area trip to tour and speak with experienced designers at leading Silicon Valley companies. Sponsored by UCSD Design Lab, board members were presented with the incredible opportunity to explore the offices of Adobe, Wish, and Salesforce in San Francisco over Presidents’ Day weekend. In previous years, the student group has toured companies such as IDEO, Google, and Workday.
The first stop of the trip was Adobe, where board members caught a glimpse of the artistic and energetic atmosphere of a company that has designed many of the creative tools that power our world today. From the company’s gradient elevator corridor to the striking wall that reads “make” in a multitude of vibrant post-its, every corner of the office space is infused with creativity to inspire and motivate Adobe employees. Following the office tour, board members spoke with a Senior Director of Design, user researchers, and interaction designers to learn about Adobe’s rich design process and understand how each group uniquely incorporates various principles of user-centered design in their cross-functional roles.
After visiting Adobe, the group headed to Wish, the fast-growing eCommerce startup in the heart of downtown San Francisco. To kick-off the visit, Wish organized a lunch and networking session for Wish designers and board members to meet before sharing a presentation about the integral role that designers play at the company. Next, board members were invited to participate in an interactive design sprint focused on conceptualizing and designing an app based on a specific user scenario and real-world constraints. The design sprint was followed by a critique session on a new feature for the Wish app where board members were welcomed to provide feedback and suggestions. These immersive interactions helped board members to get a glimpse of the day-to-day life of a product designer at Wish.
The day concluded with an alumni mixer at Salesforce where board members had the opportunity to reconnect with Design at UCSD alumni. The evening featured a recap of Design at UCSD’s current initiatives in addition to alumni presentations by Paula Le, a User Experience Designer at IBM, and Ed Ngai, a User Experience Engineer at Salesforce. Le highlighted her journey navigating a career in design while Ngai shared meaningful advice about building a framework for designing one’s personal and professional design system.
It is a priority for both Design at UCSD and the Design Lab to identify opportunities to connect UCSD students with real-world design applications and exposure to potential employers. This year’s Bay Area trip is another example of that commitment and provided board members with newfound insights and practices to share with the growing UC San Diego design community and beyond.