My Year at Tobias & Tobias

By Rodica

Written on 19 September 2016

My time at T&T for now has come to an end, so I figured it’s time to reflect on the year gone past.

First, how did I end up here? I am a Loughborough University student studying BSc Design Ergonomics and I joined T&T as part of my placement year. I will be going on to complete my final year at university come October.

When searching for my placement I chose to apply to UX design companies over UX departments within larger organizations. I felt I could be exposed to more projects and client types, and this was certainly true. Industry wise, I have learnt about healthcare, FX trading, mortgages, and regulations. UX side I have learnt about information architecture, visual design, wireframing, user research, user testing, website and app design, prototyping, build guides, just to name a few! If you are just starting out in UX and want to learn as much as possible, I believe working at a UX design agency/consultancy like Tobias and Tobias is the way to go.

I joined T&T as an intern with little to no knowledge and experience in the UX field. I saw my placement as a chance to not only learn and grow but also prepare myself for the ‘real world.’ Working full time and living in London was a big change, I had to get used to London’s high prices and no more daytime naps. Luckily, the office culture at T&T is second to none and everyone helped me feel welcome straight away. Everybody is dedicated to delivering excellent results, whilst keeping a fun (and snack filled) office, I couldn’t be happier to have been a part of the T&T family.

As soon as I joined I was in a client-facing project with one of the UK’s biggest healthcare providers. This couldn’t have been a better start as immediately I could see how projects worked both internally between the team, and externally with the client.

Throughout the year I have been a part of three major projects, and I have learned something completely different from each. My longest project was redesigning our company website. Prior to starting this I had never heard of WordPress before, nor did I have a clue how the code was written, suddenly I had to learn and use both! Turns out I love to code, albeit very basic and simple coding but I really appreciate having the opportunity to learn a skill I never thought I would.

My other two main projects were both client facing, yet, polar opposite from one another. The first, designing for a start-up wishing to become an online mortgage broker. This project taught me a lot about maintaining client expectations, the importance of communication and I even got to try my hand at visual design. The third project involved a regulatory change management platform and we had to follow a very streamlined and focused approach as the project was only for 3 weeks. The team managed the delivery incredibly well and we were constantly working in parallel and with great collaboration which led us to finish on time and with happy clients. When working on these short projects I learnt the importance of team dynamics and how it can change the outcome of a project. To produce successful deliverables on a short time scale, the approach must be agile, particularly with start-ups as they often change their mind over what they want. There must be a clear vision of the end result with key milestones determined and recorded upon completion. Through managing client expectations you can set the standard of what they will receive and in turn come to a result where everyone is happy. It was a great feeling when a project came to a close having been successful.

All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better placement year. I have learned more than I thought I would and I know now that I can call myself a UX designer and have the skills and knowledge to back it up. I’m going to miss the team, as well as the constant supply of cake, but I’ll be back when I’ve graduated in 2017!

See you soon T&T.

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