Me and two coworkers hiking Mt. Sanitas

Welcome to Boulder! You’re this summer’s UX design intern at Viget, and you decided to go to the Colorado office. This was an excellent choice because Boulder is fabulous, and that is made clear every day on your walk to work. You pass the lush Central Park and rushing Boulder Creek, and nearby mountains always tower in the background.

The office is right in the middle of downtown Boulder, near the corner of Broadway and Pearl Street, which means every day takes you into the most active and manicured part of the town. There’s even a lovely bakery right next door.

When you enter the office at about 9:00 a.m., you are hit with the calm buzz of the office.

Most everyone gets to work before you, even though you’re told having a nine-to-five schedule is standard. As a member of the Boulder office, your day normally starts right away with 9:00 a.m. meetings and a Slack and email full of messages and invites. This is because the Durham and Washington DC Metro offices have already been working for a couple hours, and of course, you are always in high demand.

You scurry downstairs, where the conference rooms, kitchen, and secret boardgame room live. There isn’t even time to read all those emails before your video-call meeting with the other interns begins in a conference room. Everyone shares what they’ve been working on for the group project — an app that you all hope to design, test, brand, and develop before your 10 weeks are over. You share your wireframes with the group and watch everyone present their work, giving feedback when appropriate. Things are going along smoothly— mostly. For the third time, your group struggles with what to name the app and whether or not a certain feature is necessary for a minimum viable product. Eventually, everyone at least pretends to agree on something, and the day sprints on.

Your personal project is in dire need of attention.

You are tasked with redesigning a popular website. After seven user interviews, you finally need to synthesize your research and show it to your mentor so you can start your concept model. You would have done this sooner, but as the UX designer, your group is relying on you to finish the user testing and wireframes so that they can continue their jobs. While the group project normally captures your attention, your mentor reminds you to keep moving the personal project along when you can. Your mentor gives you one-on-one guidance and advice, but she also keeps you busy. That’s a good thing. You’re learning a ton. You get to work looking over the interviews and putting together common themes.

How is it 11:00 a.m. already? You dash into a conference room to join a call with the rest of the UX team. Everyone shares updates on things they are learning and working on. One of your coworkers has an information architecture project that sparks your attention. You talk to her after the meeting and set up a time to meet later and learn about the project. This is the perfect time to learn more about IA, and hopefully you can learn some strategies to integrate into the personal project and impress your mentor!

Lunch time.

A group of people are going out to get tacos and you tag along. One of the advantages of being downtown is the dozens of nearby restaurants, many of which provide outdoor seating. At Viget, people love to get outside. You often find yourself doing “walking meetings” down the cool, shady path of the creek. Boulder weather is mostly fantastic, so people are always itching for an excuse to get in the sun.

You sit outside at a local taco bar and chow down with your coworkers. You talk and laugh about the various office news and events, and you feel perfectly accepted and included in the fun. Everyone is so friendly. It’s a relief to feel so involved as an intern.

After lunch, you walk back to the office, enjoying the last few minutes in the fresh air. As soon as you get back, you slip into a meeting meant to teach the interns about the basics of working with developers. It’s fascinating, and you finally understand what people mean when they say “computers just use a series of zeros and ones.”

After the meeting, you finally have time to work on your wireframes. You’ve been trying to learn the software Viget uses, such as Figma and Whimsical. It slows you down a bit, but you’re starting to get the hang of it lately, and it feels good to learn new tools. When you get to a good stopping point, you show your work to your mentor to get a little feedback. You learn that you were using one of the Figma tools incorrectly, and this is slightly embarrassing but dramatically improves your experience with the software. In any case, your mentor seems happy with you, so you leave to tweak your work, feeling confident.

It’s 3:00 p.m. now, and even though there are only a couple hours left in the day, you decide you can’t wait to have a snack.

You sneak into the kitchen and start opening the cabinets, acting casual so no one judges you for stuffing yourself with tacos and then eating the free company snacks two hours later. There’s a lot to pick from– fresh fruit, yogurt, hummus, popcorn, candy, and a lot more. You have a weakness for Goldfish, so you grab a bag and head to the kitchen tables to munch and work.

A coworker sits across from you, snacking on popcorn, and you decide to stop judging yourself about the Goldfish. You end up striking up a conversation about Python. He’s a developer, and you were hoping to learn a new coding language this summer. He gives you a little advice, and soon you’re working through a free online introductory course to Python 3. This is so engrossing, that you almost forget to make sure you complete your Scram challenge before the day ends: decorate your desk.

Scram is a game all the interns play, and winning is of the utmost importance.

There are a series of challenges that you must complete, and each completed challenge wins you a point. You don’t really know what happens if you win, but you want to win anyway. Badly. So you run back upstairs to your desk to pull together some last-minute decorations.

It’s not much, but by grabbing various objects from your backpack and arranging them around your desk, you think you have something good enough to pass the Scram challenge. You take a picture and send it to the group on Slack, crossing your fingers. You are awarded the point, although not without questions regarding your strange decorations.

With a sigh of relief, you sit back in your chair, only to look up and notice that there’s an unusually low number of people at their desks. This can only mean one thing — everyone is in the secret boardgame room.

A quick trip downstairs confirms your suspicion.

A dramatic game of Scythe is in the works. You watch a few turns and agree to sub in for one of your coworkers tomorrow while they work from home.

Finally, it’s time to head home. You return to your desk to check for any last Slack messages or emails as well as mentally prepare yourself for what tomorrow holds.

Checking your calendar, you get excited.

Tonight you and your mentor are going to a UX design event to learn about design thinking and user stories from industry experts. This is going to be a great chance to grow your network and learn new skills. Then, tomorrow morning, you’re meeting a few coworkers bright and early to go on a hike. You aren’t sure how you feel about getting up at 6:30 a.m., but you know Boulder is gorgeous and Viget is full of wonderful folks, so you doubt you’ll regret it.