Elizabeth Easton Kirschner

Rivian Automotive Internship

12 week internship, June - August 2022

Context

I had a 12 week internship at Rivian Automotive working as a User Experience Research Intern. ‚Äč Rivian Automotive is an American automaker that specializes in producing electric adventure vehicles, such as pickup trucks and SUVs. Their mission is to create sustainable transportation that enables people to explore the world while preserving the environment.

My Role

During my time at Rivian, I led an end-to-end diary study aimed at uncovering insights about a specific user behavior. I developed the research questions and study design, recruited and managed participants, collected and analyzed the data, and presented the results to stakeholders at the senior and director level. The study provided valuable insights into the target behavior and informed design decisions and roadmaps for future products. 

In addition to leading my own study, I collaborated with senior researchers on their projects, contributing to the execution, analysis, and reporting of research. This included conducting user interviews, analyzing qualitative data, and synthesizing findings into actionable recommendations. 

Research Goals

At Rivian, the research team assigned me the task of investigating a particular user behavior that had been identified through anecdotal findings in previous research. This was the first study conducted by Rivian to evaluate this specific behavior. At the outset of my research, we had only made assumptions about the prevalence of this behavior, and some stakeholders were skeptical about the value of investigating and designing for it.

Objectives:

  1. Discover any unmet needs for users when engaged in the target behavior
  2. Gain insight into needs of families charging their electric vehicles when engaging in the target behavior

Reflections

Through my work on this project, I learned effective strategies for delivering results to skeptical stakeholders. Additionally, I honed my skills in study design, data analysis, and communication of findings to stakeholders. Moving forward, I plan to incorporate the lessons learned from this project into my future work by continuing to be persistent in advocating for user-centric research, being flexible in finding alternative research methods, and seeking out diverse perspectives to ensure comprehensive insights.

The details of this project are protected by NDA. Please contact me to hear more about this project and its impact.

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