Concur Labs Internship

Timeframe

10 Weeks

Responsibilities

UX Design, Interaction Design

Concur is the leading company for expense management software, and Concur Labs is a smaller division withing Concur responsible for generating new ideas. Specifically, Concur Labs explores ideas and builds prototypes that advance the Concur Platform. By looking at problems differently and prototyping fast, Concur Labs can combine technologies that enhance the life of a business traveler. Essentially, its like having a design agency within Concur. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to work with talented, smart people and solve unique problems.






Research

I used the first couple of weeks to fully process the problem I was trying to solve, and come up with a research plan to gather data about my target users. I talked with UX Researcher Anthony Torrence and got feedback on a research plan and survey I planned on sending out. Based on feedback I made a few changes regarding survey structure, and cut down on the number of questions. I couldn't anticipate the amount of responses I'd be getting, so having lots of open-ended questions would be time consuming to sift through.

The target user for this project was a business traveller staying in a hotel. With more hotels integrating smart devices into their rooms, this is a space that Concur can leverage to provide services for their customers.





Interviews

Before posting the survey, I piloted the questions with 3 employees within Concur. Doing this was a great way to get a feel of how people responded to the types of questions I was asking, and if there was anything that was unclear. I had the participants do a ranking question where they indicated their preferences of certain objects. It was also a good opportunity to build my interview skills.









Survey

I used Survey Monkey to create a survey which I sent out externally. I analyzed the responses, which included mostly qualitative data, and created design guidelines, as well as a feature list my prototype should include. I used Microsoft Excel to organize the data and find trends.









Ideation

After I had synthesized my research findings, I began sketching concepts of the prototype. I also began making higher fidelity comps of the physical prototype. Because I was dealing with various smart devices, I had to map out use cases and storyboards before I built anything. I made storyboards and a feature list based on personas and user scenarios discussed in previous meetings. I also met with my mentors and other designers for feedback during my process.










Prototyping

I created a physical prototype integrating Concur solutions with Alexa and other smart home devices. I got the opportunity to use IFTTT to connect smart home devices, the Alexa interface, and experiment with how to best optimize the experience for a business traveler.

During the process, I was exposed to virtual and augmented reality solitions. Although I didn't implement them in my final prototype, I was able to use technologies like ARKit, Microsoft Hololens, and the HTC Vive. Seeing how (in previous and current projects) these technologies were used to solve design problems helped me learn best practives for the exploration process and designing experiences with smart devices, AR, and VR.





Outcome

One of the most important things I learned was how to work independently as a designer. I have the academic background to back up my knowledge, but having to make design decisions on my own was something that forced me out of my comfort zone, and allowed me to really put what I'd learned in school to practice.

I was able to learn from great designer at Concur, like Alicia Christman, Issac Kuek, Grant Szalay and Anthony Torrence. Being able to go to them for questions regarding design, and general career advice was a huge bonus. Sitting in on UX team meetings allowed me to learn how UX functions in a large company.

I was able to do physical prototyping and built a space to simulate how future Concur products could integrate with different devices. Stepping out of the digital interface realm and applying UX to three dimensional physical spaces was refreshing. I believe with the emergence of AR and VR, designers will have to soon adapt to creating experiences in three dimensions, not two. I believe my skillset, and this experience has put me in a strong position to face this shift.