Engineering Internship Spotlight: Improving self-service UI

This summer, I interned on the Load Execution Team, which aims to drive down costs using technology and automation all the while creating a world-class experience for our shipping customers. My project was the Convoy Pulse Self-Service User Interface (UI), which is based on the idea that our customers receive consolidated status emails at a specified cadence or notification emails if an unexpected event like a driver being late occurs. I specifically focused on creating an application for our customers and members of our customer experience team to directly modify their email preferences, ensuring that our customers received excellent communication and service.

Solving for email preferences

The established process for updating Convoy customers’ email preferences was inefficient, time-consuming, and inconvenient. If customers wanted to update their email preferences, they had to call someone from the customer experience team, who would fill out a Google Form with their information. Those form details were then passed on to a single subject matter expert who would interpret the form and make changes to the email database.

My self-service UI allows Convoy’s customer experience team members (and eventually customers) to view and edit email configuration information directly, eliminating the unnecessary administrative work associated with the existing process. My process involved user research, iterative user interface design, engineering design/architecture, and development of a React frontend and GraphQL connection to a service pulling from an Airtable database.

Challenges and learnings

As with any software development project, unexpected challenges arose along the way, which proved especially tricky given the short 12-week internship timeline. Initially, I faced issues setting up the frontend code repository for my project and connecting my frontend code with the existing backend code. After partnering with my mentor and other members of the Load Execution team, I dove deep (one of Convoy’s values) into the infrastructure and set up a new Graph QL schema module to solve the issue. I then updated the related documentation to help prevent others from encountering the same issues.

Through all of this, I was able to improve upon my soft skills, including communication, task prioritization, project management, and incorporating new learnings/feedback into routine practices. I also got technical experience with tools that were new to me, like GraphQL, and those I had worked with before, such as Figma and React.

Advice for future interns

My advice for future interns is to focus on finding a balance between work and play. Keep your work on track, but also find time to socialize with the other interns, attend Convoy-sponsored happy hours, and have 1-on-1s with people in your fields of interest, etc. Explore all of the lunch spots in the area, suggest your favorite snack be stocked in the office (although I’m not sure anything will surpass my dried mango contribution), celebrate your mentor’s half-birthday, and treasure your time in Seattle!

Jumpstart your career with Convoy

Internship applications are open. Grow your skillset in a fast-paced startup environment. Learn more about our engineering internships for the 2023 summer.

Brooke Christiansen
Brooke Christiansen was a software engineering intern on the Load Execution team at Convoy during the summer of 2022. She has completed previous software engineering internships at Viasat, Inc. and Computer Enterprises, Inc.. Christiansen is in her senior year at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she is pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer science with concentrations in human-computer interaction and devices, as well as a minor in sustainable city planning.