HUANG Shao-Chi, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Internet & Multimedia Technologies
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Globaleur UI/UX Designer and Product Analyst Internship
The company I worked for was Globaleur, a leading software provider for travel personalization solutions based in Seoul, South Korea and the Bay area in San Francisco, United States. It has a diverse team of thinkers and avid travelers, constantly reimagining how to better help worldwide travelers fully maximize their travel experience. The people in the company all share the same passion for innovation that goes into the platform and customer-centric products and services - revolutionizing how global travelers consume travel-related goods and services. It leverages its customizable end-to-end travel solutions powered by Artificial Intelligence for planning, booking, and itinerary management as other companies see fit. To sum up, Globaleur helps travelers discover destinations and plan their trips easily and stress-free by empowering travelers with cutting-edge technology, creating added value for its corporate partners, and opening new horizons in the global travel industry. During these two months in the product team, I was responsible for improving the user experience and user interface of the platform, designing a new prototype for the current project and analyzing the existing digital products of the company.
During this internship period, I was assigned to two main projects the company currently working on 1) Korea 365, an online platform for connecting travel-related products sellers and buyers, as well as a dashboard for the Korean government to manage; and 2) Globaleur Travel Website, an online platform which helps users in navigating worldwide destinations and making travel plans with AI technologies.
For Korea 365 project, I participated in designing and creating user flows and user interfaces for some of the pages on the platform. I helped discover and fix some user experience problems based on the existing design for improving user experience, as well as unifying the overall design of the user interface. I also participated in designing the Korea 365 dashboard from scratch, starting from data points collection, information structure design, and low-fidelity wireframe design, to the final user interface design. The tasks mentioned above were mainly completed using design software Adobe XD and Figma.
For Globaleur Travel Website, I was assigned to handle some user experience issues on mobile devices. After discussing the cases with the project manager and the development team to fully understand the problems encountered and gather opinions, I then worked independently on solving these problems by providing different options and visualizing them using Adobe XD to see which solution works and can be put into practice. Overall, our team managed to fix four existing UX problems.
Besides the completed tasks mentioned above, I also helped collect information and content for some famous attractions and create some icons for our website. All the assigned tasks above were completed within six weeks of my internship. I worked as a UI/UX before in my previous internship experience and within this time in Globlaeur, I further crafted my skills and expanded my skillset in this technical area. Also, I learned how a project manager works and how a project manager organizes, plans, and executes projects while working within restraints like budgets and schedules. Since I am particularly interested in digital products fields, and one of my goals is to become a project manager starting from a designer or a programmer, I am glad that I got the opportunity to observe how project managers in Globaleur led entire teams including the design team, development team, and content team, defined project goals, communicated with stakeholders, and saw a project through to its closure. Other skills I obtained and learned from this experience include language skills, leadership, communication, organization, critical thinking, and probably, a sense of humor when facing difficult problems and discussing with other colleagues. The benefits from this activity were hard to be concluded with works, they were seen in many aspects, visibly and invisibly, through real projects and underlying communications. I have to say this experience really helped my future study and formed my job expectations, opening my horizons from various perspectives.
Of course, there were difficulties encountered during this internship, not only when I was at work, but also living in a new country that I have never been to before. The biggest challenge was language and how to live as a local. Although in the Globaleur office, we all use English for communication, since my colleagues are from up to eight countries, I still encountered difficulties when I was outside the company. No matter whether I went shopping, ordered food, or communicated with local people, I had to use English and most of the time I had to spend more time to make sure they understand. I remember when I first arrived in Seoul, I did not even dare to go into a restaurant and order the food I wanted since everything was written in Korean and I did not know how to order food at all. But as I got more familiar with the local living, I forced myself to learn some very simple Korean so that I could get what I want more smoothly, and I also conquered my fear as an outsider, making myself more comfortable when living in Korea and adapted more of the local living style. I discovered that the local people are actually very welcoming, interesting, and kind, letting me think that the biggest enemy when moving to an unfamiliar environment is me myself, and I am proud that by the latter half of my internship, I had already become a very adapted resident of Seoul. Living in a country that I have never been to really help me to become more independent, confident, flexible, and open-minded. I also embraced the challenges I encountered, transferring them into something interesting to solve using my own methods.
I was so impressed with the company’s working culture that there were no regulations on the dress code at all. As I mentioned previously, my colleagues are from more than eight countries around the world (we only have around 20 employees in the company!) and the company respects the living style of each individual. We can dress whatever we want to work and that is something really different from the common work culture as I know, and I am glad that there is no dress code required so that I can work in my most comfortable way. It was also pretty interesting to observe how my lovely colleagues dress to the office, and we also talked a lot about how different cultural backgrounds affect our styles of dressing up. Another impressive thing about Globaleur was that we also have two days of working from home each week so that I could arrange my own time and maximize the efficiency of my work. Flexible workplace and time policy were also conducted when we are in the office. We could select freely where to sit in the office building (I usually went to a café with good coffee and music in the office building), and when to start work as long as we feel comfortable and could contribute 8 hours of work a day. I really like this kind of free work culture in which I can be at my best working condition and be creative. I hope in the future I can also work in this kind of company.
Speaking of the people I met in Korea, there were so many nice people who I got along with very well and exchanged our cultures in different ways. There was one person I really admired in the office, whose name was Hayden. Hayden was my supervisor and project manager in the company. I worked with him together on the Globaleur Travel Website and we were trying to fix some user experience problems of the current design. Although Hayden has worked in the company for five years and I am an intern who just got in for one month, he always listens to my thoughts carefully and was very open to my ideas. He was strict but at the same time did not let me feel stressed at all, which made us work extremely smoothly and we completed the tasks efficiently. He is a caring and fun person, and he always has lunch with the interns, and we had a lot of interesting conversations just like close friends. What I learned from him was not only the professionalism in work but also, the kindness and carefulness he showed to all the other colleagues as a project manager. He as a Korean shared a lot about his culture and that helped me gain deep insights into the people and culture of Korea, I really appreciated that I have such a nice supervisor in the office.
When I was planning my travel to Korea, the budget was always the first thing to consider since Seoul was an international city like Hong Kong with a high living price. Hence, it was a huge surprise that I could find the information of Reaching Out Award (ROA) and successfully became the nominee. ROA helped cover my basic living costs during the six-week internship in Seoul which helped me focus on my performance at work. I successfully booked a guesthouse that was very near to my office building so that I did not have to worry about the traffic to the office, and the scholarship also allowed me to explore many fantastic places deeply in Korea. I appreciated ROA for the huge support on this precious internship experience and I hope this program can help more students like me who really want to reach out and see the bigger world.