Product Design Project
@ CMU Learning Media Design · Client: City of Bridges High School (CoB)

The CoB internship program is designed to provide students with real-world experience for career exploration. To support the internship planning, I led the design in an interdisciplinary team of 4 to conceptualize a platform, which was well-received among students & faculty, and invited to present for MTC.

Mobile (student) + Web (admin)
Sep - Dec, 2021
Design Lead + UX Research
Xinzhu Wang, Kelly Yang,
Joanne Chui
HMW support high school internship experiences through the lens of individualized development?
Internship planning is the hardest part for both students & school administrators.
A multi-sided platform to support CoB students and administrators in finding internships that are aligned with the student's career development.

Know yourself better through simple questions

Admin at the back stage: Manage all applications easily
Generate a protocol to align mutual expectations
Frame the opportunity before defining the solution:
Empathize with 4 main stakeholders through user study
To gain a holistic understanding of the internship program, we conducted 5 interviews and 1 contextual inquiry to collect data from 4 main stakeholders - students, the school principal, internship mentors, and school advisors.

We interviewed the student at the fire department where he was interning.

The student, the school principal, and the internship mentor are the core stakeholders of the internship program.

Through our research, we were able to pinpoint areas of the internship that have the potential to be improved as below:

Hard to start internship planning

Lack of communication leads to misalignment

Limited opportunity for deep self-reflection

Based on the identified opportunities, we specified 3 ideation directions:

10 storyboard concepts, speed dating with 20+ students, advisors, and the principal
By asking for their preferences and priorities on these concepts, we were able to tap into their primary needs and values.

Focus on internship planning to maximize the benefits to both students & administrators
Both the school principal and students commented that the two storyboards related to internship planning would be most helpful to them. According to the feedback, we also reframed the functional goals to add the most value.

1. Help students uncover their underlying interests, skills, and future career goals for the internship program.
2. Provide personalized internship recommendations with transparent information and experience examples.
3. Streamline the outreach work by increasing student involvement in the process.

To keep students engaged, easy to start, low cognitive load, and fun are highly appreciated.
To meet these goals, our platform (student side) defining characteristics are: (1) app, (2) simple, easy to use, (3) appealing & engaging for students, with friendly & playful tone.

We consolidated the functions for two sides into a journey, and specified the solution in 4 phases: Self Exploration, Internship Exploration, Organization Outreach, Decision Making.

Click to enlarge 👆

To ensure the feasibility & validity, we grounded our design on Holland's theory of career choice, also known as the Holland Codes.

Matchmaking Model: Match students with suitable internship opportunities

To demonstrate our concept in terms of its role as well as look & feel, we developed 3 prototypes of different fidelity and explored key design decisions.

HMW help students start with ease?

Self Exploration:
HMW make the experience intriguing and intuitive enough to engage students?

Internship Exploration:
HMW organize information in a rich but not overwhelming way?

Light up the self-discovery journey with vibrant visuals

See what our stakeholders said
We arranged a virtual demo session with CoB students and faculty to show them our concept video and let them play with our hi-fi prototype. Here are some of the comments we received:

"Everything! We loved this idea so, so much and want to adopt it immediately. The students, staff...everyone. It would help us immeasurably on the time and energy it takes to set up internships, especially when we scale up. Please make this...and if you sell it, we'd love to see how we could somehow purchase it!" —— CoB principal
"It was approachable, the binary choice was great, I like the way we can order/organize the internships, the quiz." —— CoB student
"One of its strongest points is it gets you to explore different things and put them into your collection. " —— CoB school advisor

Our remote demo session with CoB students & faculty

[1] Gottfredson, G. D., & Johnstun, M. L. (2009). John Holland's contributions: A theory‐ridden approach to career assistance. The career development quarterly, 58(2), 99-107.
[2] National Center for O*NET Development. About this Site. My Next Move. Retrieved January 17, 2022, from
[3] Reardon, R. C., & Lenz, J. G. (1999). Holland's theory and career assessment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 55(1), 102-113.