Interactive Design Internship:
ACC Millennial Mentoring Project

Our team assignment, which was comprised of students from Austin Community College (ACC) and Hackney Community College (HCC) in London, was to tackle a live brief from RetailMeNot, the leading online coupon marketplace in the world, and present our ideas as a ten-minute pitch at the Hackney House during SXSWi in March 2014.

Analyzing the Brief

We were tasked with coming up with an idea that would raise brand awareness, get fifty million downloads of the RetailMeNot app within the next two years and would keep the interest of millennials, all without getting too niche. RetailMeNotʼs users are mainly female and those that live in the US tend to live along the coast.

Research and Interviews

Formal Research

We did extensive research on RetailMeNot, who used coupons along with how and why they used them, competition, how people shop and what habits and traits are typical of millennials.

Interviewing potential users

Both halves of the team set out to the mall to discuss our ideas with potential users. The experience was valuable and taught us how our users use coupons, what ideas made them uncomfortable or bored and where they spent most of their time. Cultural differences between the US and UK came up quick which helped us attack the problem from different angles as we proceeded.

Itʼs all about teamwork

Communication goes a long way and is the key to success in any team. The team was great about being honest about each others ideas and delegating tasks.

I became the team lead and was proactive with keeping the team’s Google Drive folders organized, leading team discussions with our mentor, helping delegate work, and being available when teammates had issues, questions or inspiration that they wanted to discuss. For example, one teammate was having trouble writing out their part of the presentation. Recognizing this, I sat down with him and we came up with an outline of points they should hit together while also discussing what ideas to elaborate on, providing a base that helped them deliver a confident and knowledgeable presentation.

Discussing Ideas

I created a portion of the wireframes for our general concept, which was a loyalty program with rewards as incentives. Having an existing app and brand to work from made things a little easier but I had to make sure that our ideas would fit in seamlessly and would be intuitive for the user to access.

The Pitch

If thereʼs one thing my musical background has taught me, it’s that practice makes perfect. There were a couple scary moments but we handled them well. One was that we were unsure we’d be able to use the videos in our pitch due to logistics so we quickly rehearsed what we would say if 1) they didn’t work and 2) if we had to eliminate them completely. Another scary moment was we were bumped up from giving the presentation last to giving it second without warning during the show. At that point there was nothing we could do but smile, walk on stage and know that we were prepared.

Samples from our slide deck

I was in charge of putting together the final Keynote presentation with some help from one of our mentors and approval from the rest of the team. I compiled the assets, created brief animations to help demonstrate some of our ideas, drew icons, and created the final design for the new desktop and app concepts based on the final wireframes that we came up with. I also kept RetailMeNotʼs brand in mind and used their color palette.

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