What I learned during my UX Design internship at PhonePe
In March of 1847, One of Graham Bell’s assistants, Thomas A. Watson, was attempting to reactivate a telegraph transmitter. Hearing the sound, Bell believed he had figured out how to send a human voice over a wire. He quickly got to work on the invention and filed a patent for it. As a result, he came up with the “electrical speaking machine” or the first telephone.
Throughout the twentieth century, telephones advanced significantly. From large machines with wires to small phones in our pockets with wireless communication.
In November 2021, I had the opportunity to be a part of that evolution and work on what could be the future of our Dialer Applications, which are mobile apps that allow us to communicate over multiple networks.
Boarded the bus that I always longed to
PhonePe (owned by Walmart) is an Indian Super app that began as a payments app and has since grown to be the industry leader. In India, PhonePe processes more than half of all UPI-based transactions.
I applied for a UX internship with Phonepe for the winters of 2021–22 because of my love for finance and enthusiasm for the company. Who’d have guessed I’d get a call for an interview and be soon working as a UX Design intern with them.
I’m grateful to my manager and the Phonepe team for clearing the way ahead of me. I received a full briefing, as well as an estimated timeline and a probable list of deliverables.
My manager, Surabhi, and Sudhanva briefed me on the project I’d be working on. I was accountable for driving a new Product from the ground up, from initial research to interactive prototypes. A Dialer app by PhonePe that has the potential to transform the way we communicate and can positively affect all of PhonePe’s 350 million users.
For questions, learnings, or review sessions, I was encouraged to contact anyone on the team. In addition, the PhonePe design team hosts industry seminars on a regular basis. the culture within the team was as positive as it can get.
Power of Why
Many of us were too quick to jump to the Blank Canvas, especially when building a product from the bottom up. I learned that you don’t have to rush; instead, take your time to learn about the area. “Why am I building this product?” is the first question I need to ask myself. It’s critical to identify the reasons first.
Also, you aren’t always fixing a problem; many times, things are fine, and nothing is broken, but you continue to innovate. You must devote a significant amount of effort to filling in all gaps, linking all insights, and considering both the future and the past.
It’s your ship
Phonepe provides me complete control over the project, allowing me to traverse it in whatever way I see fit. You’re also encouraged to think outside the box when it comes to solving difficulties and innovating. I was given the responsibility of not only visualizing the product’s look and feel, but also defining the users, stakeholders, and how the product would work.
However, because you’re the captain, and your passengers are your Users and business objectives, this ownership comes with a lot of responsibilities. I learned how important it is to create designs that have an impact and a desire among users. I also need to think about how I can generate value propositions for both users and businesses at the same time.
How may I assist you?
You’re creating a product for the people around you, not for yourself. I got off track at times, making decisions on my own and generating assumptions with little evidence to back them up. I quickly learned that we need to keep stakeholders as an inseparable entity throughout the project and that if we have resources, we need to go out and observe/ask and try to minimize making decisions without any data to support it. We need to keep our personal biases out and identify edge case user groups and journeys.
dig deep data wells
Aside from making data-informed decisions, I learned how to use accessible data to create services, functions, and experiences in the first place. In addition, the focus was placed on learning how I am not just using but also generating ethical data that will be used primarily for the user’s experience and to meet business objectives. I’ve had to do a lot of things over and over because my decisions were either not data-informed, they didn’t embrace the full potential of existing data, or they didn’t generate any data for improvement. I learned more every time I reworked something.
Like anyone else, I wished for the Product’s success too. I realized that for the same, we must understand the importance of creating an entire service, not just the product. How interaction will occur not just on the screen but also around the screen. It helped me see how success extends beyond the measures we’re all too familiar with, such as session duration, sign-ups, and average page time. I learned that we are not designing for addiction; rather, we are developing a tool to solve and aid users’ already existing complexities. Instead of a new flashy dialer software with a tonne of features, we need to fix communication for users. Once, we are able to do even the slightest same we can assume we are on the path to hitting our goals.
. . .
I’d want to thank my manager, Surabhi Manchalwar, for providing me with so much learning and assistance throughout my internship. She guided me through each step with frequent inputs, reviews, and brainstorming sessions. Also, I’d want to thank Navneet Nair and the entire PhonePe Design team for providing me with this opportunity; I couldn’t have wished for any better.
All of the learning, feedback, and memories I made will stay with me and remind me why I enjoy being a designer.
Interaction Design student at Delhi Technological University
Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at adityaban.com