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TuSimple Design Internship


My work at TuSimple is under a NDA– due to the fact that I worked with protected proprietary information, there are a lot of things I can’t show here. (eg. photos taken inside the facility, user research sessions, and detailed designs)

Project space



Context 
TuSimple is a leading autonomous trucking company– the first and only one of its kind to go public and to achieve driver-out autonomy. As TuSimple aims to achieve commercialization, considerable efforts have been made to improve the efficiency of deploying autonomous trucks.

The project
My primary internship project, Midgar, is an internal web tool for the fleet operations team that improves scheduling by keeping hardware, firmware, and configuration data up-to-date and centralized in a digital warehouse. The main challenge for users is to keep track of a lot of complex data. I made this data useful, understandable, and easy to work with. This project spanned 10 weeks over three phases.

Other projects included a statistics dashboard as well as a design system for data visualization.

My responsibilities
As the sole product designer on Midgar I worked on the following:
  • Conducted and summarized user research through user interviews, participatory design, and usability testing with prototypes
  • Designed core flows, delivered specs, and shipped projects through multiple phases of conception
  • Worked with developers to make sure implementation was fast and accurate
  • Performed QA review of implementation to ensure alignment with design intent

The team
  • 1 product manager
  • 1 frontend developer
  • 2 backend developers
  • 1 QA testers
  • 4 test users

Impact
Midgar started out as a request from the hardware team. As our team deployed the first phase of the product, Midgar grew to be a company priority with many teams becoming involved in the process.

Learning

Above: Affinity diagramming with user research conducted in Tuscon testing facility
Bringing clarity to a complex project
The work I did at TuSimple was unique in that I was designing products for highly complex projects with technical users. Oftentimes, the data that I worked with took a lot of research to make sense out of. Over the course of my internship, I learned how to bring together this data in a meaningful and useful way for my users.

Designing for multiple voices in an organization
When designing for users who aren’t consumers, there is no single role. In the process of user research and design, I consolidated the needs of users with different jobs and responsibilities into a single cohesive product. 

Designing for detail
I learned how to collaborate with my product manager and bring a high-level product vision to execution down to the smallest details. For example, on my research trip to Tucson, I noticed that many of the intended users were working on laptops with small screens. However, the developer team developed and tested the product only with large monitors. Consequently, I spent time adjusting the design to make sure that our users could see everything on a small screen. During this, I learned about the value of testing products in the real environment to ensure the most usable experience for the end user.