A summer scene showing a young intern working on a laptop at a bright, sunny outdoor location like a park or cafe. The intern is casually dressed, smiling

With numerous college graduations to celebrate this month, I am reminded of that wonderful time of year for savvy project managers – the influx of eager summer interns!  Summer hires and college students on break are perfect opportunities to get short-term projects completed. While mentoring a professionally-young charge may initially seem like a challenge, it’s actually the perfect opportunity to tackle those low-priority tasks and projects that have been lingering on your to-do list. Need some suggestions? If you’ve got a website, let’s dive into some specific examples to make the most of this time for both your organization and the intern.   

Having a real, live human being(s) routinely performing a deep-dive into content is a valuable, necessary project- but it can also be very time-consuming. That’s what makes content optimization the perfect intern project. Below are some tasks that take minimal training and supervision, and would make for great intern work. 

Accessibility Remediation

With the recent DOJ ruling emphasizing the importance of accessibility, it’s crucial to make sure your website is up on its A11Y. Here are some specific tasks you can tackle:

  1. Add ALT Tags to Images: A great intern project is to have them go into the backend of the site and add ALT tags to any images missing this vital element. All images on a website should have an ALT tag, as it is essential for screen readers and improves your organization’s website’s accessibility.
  2. Keyboard Navigation: For users who rely on assistive technology to digest web content, ensuring your site can be navigated in a logical manner using just a keyboard is crucial – and makes for great intern work!
  3. Contrast and Color: There are numerous online tools that can check your web pages for any contrast issues that don’t meet WCAG guidelines for color contrast. If your organization has many uniquely designed pages, doing a page-by-page contrast check is a project an intern could knock-out while onboard.

Optimize Old Blog Posts

One of the simplest yet most effective tasks you can tackle is optimizing old blog posts. Here are a few ways your intern could do this:

  1. Add Internal Links: Go through older posts and add internal links to other relevant content on your site. This not only helps with SEO but also keeps readers engaged longer.
  2. Update Outdated Information: Make sure all the information is current. A blog post from 2015 about the “latest trends” might need a refresh.
  3. Recheck for Relevance: Ensure the information is still relevant and accurate. This can involve minor updates or complete rewrites depending on the content.
  4. Enhance Readability: Break up long paragraphs, add bullet points, and make sure your headings are clear and descriptive.

Update ‘Team’ Pages

Next to the home page, the ‘Team’ page is usually the second-most visited page on an organization’s website. Keeping it current is crucial:

  1. Current Photos: Replace any photos that are more than five years old. This keeps your team looking fresh and up-to-date.
  2. Accurate Bios: Make sure everyone’s bio reflects their current role and achievements. Has there been any promotions or role changes? Have your intern help gather new bios, schedule headshot updates, and more. 
  3. Social Media Links: Right up the alley of today’s social platform focus, have your summer hire ensure that all social media links are active and lead to the correct profiles.

Image Optimization

Speed is crucial for user experience and SEO, and nothing slows a site down like huge image files. A great summer hire project is to optimize image assets. Some easy ways to do so are:

  1. Compress Images: There are numerous tools available like TinyPNG or JPEG-Optimizer that will compress your images to a size that will increase load speed without losing quality.
  2. Use Correct Formats: Sometimes, when a site is being built, the developers will get lax with image format. But, it matters! Your intern could check to ensure that all assets are of the appropriate image formats (e.g., JPEG for photos, PNG for graphics with transparency).
  3. Outdated Images: Are there images of employees in retired uniforms? Are people wearing masks in landing page photos (umm, Covid was soooo 4 years ago!). Have your intern perform a thorough check on all images and identify any that look dated or no longer in-sync with your organization’s branding guidelines.

Bonus: Tips for Managing Summer Interns

For project managers, summer interns and hires can be a great resource IF managed with care and foresight. To make the most of everyone’s time together:

  1. Set Clear Expectations and Parameters: The professional work environment is most-likely very new to them, so it is best to always lay the ground rules from the beginning. Make sure your interns know exactly what is expected of them. This includes deadlines, quality standards, and any other important details and provide these to the hire in written documentation. 
  2. Provide Training: Sometimes the hardest thing to squeeze into an already busy schedule, but invest the time to train your interns properly at the start of their hire. In the long run, this pays off as they’ll be able to take on more complex tasks.
  3. Assign Meaningful Tasks: Keep your hires motivated and engaged! Give your interns tasks that will help them learn and grow, not just busy work. And if you can find a little project that they are passionate about, even better!
  4. Provide Feedback: Regular feedback is even more crucial for the fresh, fragile intern. Make the time to have meaningful interactions with them. In a positive manner, let your interns know what they’re doing well and any areas where they can improve. After all, they are there to learn!

By using the summer months wisely, digital and technical project managers can tackle both lingering low-priority tasks and projects and developing the next generation of young professionals all before the leaves change colors for the fall.

Ready to get your projects complete? Contact Technology Project Solutions to get started.