A day in the life: Digital Product Designer at the LEGO Group

We’ve recently talked to Ricardo Piras, a Digital Product Designer at LEGO Group , as part of our UX Insiders series.

Free course promotion image

Free course: Introduction to UX Design

What is UX? Why has it become so important? Could it be a career for you? Learn the answers, and more, with a free 7-lesson video course.

Day in the life: digital product designer

We’ve recently talked to Ricardo Piras, a Digital Product Designer at LEGO Group, as part of our UX Insiders series.

Originally from Italy, he has a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design and now lives and works in Denmark.

Ricardo’s been with LEGO Group for almost three years now. The main focus of his job is including users in the design process. That’s also how he first got the User Experience Researcher internship with LEGO Group. His initial duties included preparing, analyzing, and reporting qualitative research with kids for different medium platforms.

You can check out our complete talk with Ricardo through this link but in the meantime, here are some fun highlights you should read.

Can you tell us a bit about your transition from an intern to a full-time role?

Even during my internship, they allowed me to experience quite a lot about all of their processes. I wasn’t limited by the internship role. So then when I transitioned to the full role, I felt like I already kind of knew some of the things that I was supposed to do. I think that’s due to the good environment that LEGO Group has. 

After the internship, I landed my role in the Kids Technology department, working with the Digital Building Instructions team. For a bit of context, instead of paper instructions, in this team, we developed an app where instructions are in a 3D format. The idea was to extend the building experience to a more digital approach. 

What does being a part of the UX Research team within one of the world’s most recognisable brands look like?

My role involved the UX side of it. I was in charge of making sure that kids and all users would have an awesome experience when using the app. The challenging part of it is that while we wanted them to have fun, we didn’t want to provide an experience that wasn’t linear or easy to follow. 

Finding balance is never easy. Especially with this kind of like, products where it is a combination of digital and physical experience. You never want to kind of detach users from the actual physical experience. 

We knew that the strong part of it all is the physical experience. So we tried to balance that and never went too deep into the digital side of it. I think probably the testing sessions, like the UX research that we did, were helpful for that. We continuously tested these and made sure that we were considering the kind of balance that we set up for ourselves.

How do you recruit kids as research participants?

We had a partnership with one of the schools in Berlin closest to where the LEGO Group campus is located. We had the opportunity to bring in users from international and Danish schools who would participate in the testing sessions. 

Every year, LEGO Group has one event in Copenhagen that’s called LEGO World. That’s where different products are displayed and tested. We also had an online channel we used for online testing sessions.

Do you use any quantitative research methods working with kids or do you focus more on the qualitative sessions?

There’s definitely a balance between the two. It depends on the specific project. For some of them, we took a more qualitative data approach. But that’s mostly because we had more quantitative research prior to that. So it really depends on the specific case.

Walk us a bit through what a typical day looks like for you now in this new role.

I usually start my day by meeting with my product manager and colleagues. This is the best time for us to share updates and whether or not we have any blockers or need some help. And then the rest of the day, I might have some more meetings with stakeholders, or designers and colleagues, depending on the project. 

I might be doing discovery research or testing sessions, or I could be handling the UI side of it. Currently, I’m running the testing sessions this week. This happens after doing some UI implementations that followed another week of testing. So we always try to make sure that we are including UX research in what we do.

Do you have any projects you’re working on at the moment that are particularly interesting?

I got a brief about conducting research and creating this new app. We decided to set up a workshop with all the different people and stakeholders involved. The idea was to be aligned with the vision and possible outcomes.

The first thing that I did was to plan the activities and create the agenda I’d send out to the people involved. The most interesting part was the activities we went through. The first activity that we did was to align everyone on the vision of the project. 

For each activity, I made sure to explain the activity and its goals. We brainstormed the desired outcomes of this project and got to see the different views of designers, business people, and stakeholders. 

That led to the second part of the activity, where we grouped the different outcomes that we proposed and tried to align them. We also explained the problems that we identified before. That was the base we had coming into the project. 

Then we went through another activity. I asked the participants to define the value of some of the features we were asked to include, and ones that we, as designers, wanted to include. I gave them a storyboard to follow while doing the activity. So the first step would be picking one feature at a time. 

You’d have all the different features we were considering. I asked the participants to place them on a value scale that goes from ‘not valuable’ to ‘valuable.’ The idea was that I wanted to have a visualization of their idea of the value that this app would bring and specifically on the features. 

So if everyone does that, basically all the boards will look differently. The final stage of the activity was for me to take one feature at a time and show how everyone interpreted the value represented by the feature. We examined each entry one at a time and tried to understand if we were aligned on the value that it might bring to the project. 

I like the idea of doing that because it was a good conversation starter, seeing where everyone placed the value of the feature and visualizing everything rather than just having a normal discussion. And that’s an example of something that was defined, where everyone was pretty much aligned. 

To prevent discrepancies, the next step was for us to define the reason why they placed it like that. We’d discuss the pros and cons of the visions, trying to break them down to the point where we knew exactly what the positive and negative aspects of that are. 

Where did you learn about these different ways of developing techniques for your workshops?

Some of the things I’m using come from my experience within the company. The LEGO Group is full of people who have so much knowledge that if you’re just willing to listen, you will learn so much. And that’s basically what I do every day. 

It’s really about this balance between things that you know might work and things that might be interesting to try out. Especially when working with stakeholders or new workshops, people might not be used to the methods. So it’s really important to plan everything as much as possible. That’s why I like using an agenda or sending out workshop expectations and goals. 

It’s also really important to do all that ahead of time. If some people aren’t used to that method, you need to take that into account and maybe go through the process with them before the workshop.

So, who’s in the room for the workshops you run? What kind of professionals would be there?

It might be business people, even the users themselves, or people that can represent users. So if it’s something internal, we always try to bring in someone who’s as close as possible to users. It really depends on the product itself, but you can see the challenging part. You might have a workshop where you have designers, business people, HR, etc. 

How do you work with other designers or developers? How do you interact with them? How do you all work together?

We always try to have a pretty close connection. I also always felt like there’s so much value in that collaboration. In my previous role, for instance, we managed to involve developers in the testing sessions, and that was something that I think was very interesting and positive. 

Seeing people with different backgrounds included in that part of the design process was quite valuable for us. Some of them were even facilitating the testing sessions. That’s why I think collaboration is so powerful. 

We tend to have a pretty close relationship with the PMs and with the other designers. We have different channels to do that, but I think the idea is always to communicate as much as possible. The environment knows the value that’s behind the collaboration between designers. So teamwork is one of the main variables we have.

What’s your advice for anyone looking to land that first role?

Start somewhere. The first role doesn’t have to be in your dream company. The more experience you get, the better. Practice over theory. Look for companies where you feel like you can bring something to the table. I think it’s very important to be responsible in choosing because the work environment you put yourself in has such an impact on how much you can grow. 

After the internship, I realized that this was the environment I wanted to be in. But that’s my case. In general, try to be responsible about that. For this, the first step is to be aware of yourself, what your skills are and strongest points are, and try to showcase that.

If you were looking to hire, say, a junior UX designer for the LEGO Group, what would you need to showcase?

Firstly, willingness to learn. I wouldn’t expect a Junior UX designer to know everything. It just isn’t realistic. But I would expect them to be willing to learn a lot in the following years. I think that’s crucial. So, a proactive person. Someone who’s collaborative and believes in trust. 

Also, someone who believes in sharing feedback and who likes being part of a team. Definitely, a critical person. That is someone who questions decisions and directions and always tries to open up the scope. 

Someone who’s willing to work with other roles. I think that’s another crucial part of the job. Finally, someone who takes into account users when making decisions is important too.

How important is a portfolio and what makes a good portfolio, in your opinion?

What’s displayed on the portfolio is not really relevant for that position. One point I think is related to the portfolio is being aware of what it is that you want to showcase. Another crucial point I would say is to be clear about what the design process is rather than just the visuals,

It’s really important to showcase that you have structure and you can plan properly. Something you need to take into account when creating your portfolio is explaining your choices and why you took them. Displaying critical choices communicates the way you think. 

You tend to see projects where they are displayed, where the process is perfect or linear. It doesn’t have to be like that. It’s also more interesting to see how you dealt with issues.

Lastly, how do you keep your skills sharp and how does the LEGO Group provide you with relevant professional development?

The company offers many different ways of diving into specific aspects of not only design but also the people with new initiatives around various tools. So you always get the opportunity to learn something new from colleagues and from the company itself. 

It also helps to start from you and your growth, because there are many opportunities specifically within the LEGO Group. So if you’re just willing to develop yourself more and try to grow, there are lots of opportunities you can get from courses offered by the company to people willing to just share their knowledge. So I think it really starts from you and then there are other things happening around you.

We’ve recently talked to Ricardo Piras, a Digital Product Designer at LEGO Group, as part of our UX Insiders series.

Originally from Italy, he has a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design and now lives and works in Denmark.

Ricardo’s been with LEGO Group for almost three years now. The main focus of his job is including users in the design process. That’s also how he first got the User Experience Researcher internship with LEGO Group. His initial duties included preparing, analyzing, and reporting qualitative research with kids for different medium platforms.

You can check out our complete talk with Ricardo through this link but in the meantime, here are some fun highlights you should read.

Can you tell us a bit about your transition from an intern to a full-time role?

Even during my internship, they allowed me to experience quite a lot about all of their processes. I wasn’t limited by the internship role. So then when I transitioned to the full role, I felt like I already kind of knew some of the things that I was supposed to do. I think that’s due to the good environment that LEGO Group has. 

After the internship, I landed my role in the Kids Technology department, working with the Digital Building Instructions team. For a bit of context, instead of paper instructions, in this team, we developed an app where instructions are in a 3D format. The idea was to extend the building experience to a more digital approach. 

What does being a part of the UX Research team within one of the world’s most recognisable brands look like?

My role involved the UX side of it. I was in charge of making sure that kids and all users would have an awesome experience when using the app. The challenging part of it is that while we wanted them to have fun, we didn’t want to provide an experience that wasn’t linear or easy to follow. 

Finding balance is never easy. Especially with this kind of like, products where it is a combination of digital and physical experience. You never want to kind of detach users from the actual physical experience. 

We knew that the strong part of it all is the physical experience. So we tried to balance that and never went too deep into the digital side of it. I think probably the testing sessions, like the UX research that we did, were helpful for that. We continuously tested these and made sure that we were considering the kind of balance that we set up for ourselves.

How do you recruit kids as research participants?

We had a partnership with one of the schools in Berlin closest to where the LEGO Group campus is located. We had the opportunity to bring in users from international and Danish schools who would participate in the testing sessions. 

Every year, LEGO Group has one event in Copenhagen that’s called LEGO World. That’s where different products are displayed and tested. We also had an online channel we used for online testing sessions.

Do you use any quantitative research methods working with kids or do you focus more on the qualitative sessions?

There’s definitely a balance between the two. It depends on the specific project. For some of them, we took a more qualitative data approach. But that’s mostly because we had more quantitative research prior to that. So it really depends on the specific case.

Walk us a bit through what a typical day looks like for you now in this new role.

I usually start my day by meeting with my product manager and colleagues. This is the best time for us to share updates and whether or not we have any blockers or need some help. And then the rest of the day, I might have some more meetings with stakeholders, or designers and colleagues, depending on the project. 

I might be doing discovery research or testing sessions, or I could be handling the UI side of it. Currently, I’m running the testing sessions this week. This happens after doing some UI implementations that followed another week of testing. So we always try to make sure that we are including UX research in what we do.

Do you have any projects you’re working on at the moment that are particularly interesting?

I got a brief about conducting research and creating this new app. We decided to set up a workshop with all the different people and stakeholders involved. The idea was to be aligned with the vision and possible outcomes.

The first thing that I did was to plan the activities and create the agenda I’d send out to the people involved. The most interesting part was the activities we went through. The first activity that we did was to align everyone on the vision of the project. 

For each activity, I made sure to explain the activity and its goals. We brainstormed the desired outcomes of this project and got to see the different views of designers, business people, and stakeholders. 

That led to the second part of the activity, where we grouped the different outcomes that we proposed and tried to align them. We also explained the problems that we identified before. That was the base we had coming into the project. 

Then we went through another activity. I asked the participants to define the value of some of the features we were asked to include, and ones that we, as designers, wanted to include. I gave them a storyboard to follow while doing the activity. So the first step would be picking one feature at a time. 

You’d have all the different features we were considering. I asked the participants to place them on a value scale that goes from ‘not valuable’ to ‘valuable.’ The idea was that I wanted to have a visualization of their idea of the value that this app would bring and specifically on the features. 

So if everyone does that, basically all the boards will look differently. The final stage of the activity was for me to take one feature at a time and show how everyone interpreted the value represented by the feature. We examined each entry one at a time and tried to understand if we were aligned on the value that it might bring to the project. 

I like the idea of doing that because it was a good conversation starter, seeing where everyone placed the value of the feature and visualizing everything rather than just having a normal discussion. And that’s an example of something that was defined, where everyone was pretty much aligned. 

To prevent discrepancies, the next step was for us to define the reason why they placed it like that. We’d discuss the pros and cons of the visions, trying to break them down to the point where we knew exactly what the positive and negative aspects of that are. 

Where did you learn about these different ways of developing techniques for your workshops?

Some of the things I’m using come from my experience within the company. The LEGO Group is full of people who have so much knowledge that if you’re just willing to listen, you will learn so much. And that’s basically what I do every day. 

It’s really about this balance between things that you know might work and things that might be interesting to try out. Especially when working with stakeholders or new workshops, people might not be used to the methods. So it’s really important to plan everything as much as possible. That’s why I like using an agenda or sending out workshop expectations and goals. 

It’s also really important to do all that ahead of time. If some people aren’t used to that method, you need to take that into account and maybe go through the process with them before the workshop.

So, who’s in the room for the workshops you run? What kind of professionals would be there?

It might be business people, even the users themselves, or people that can represent users. So if it’s something internal, we always try to bring in someone who’s as close as possible to users. It really depends on the product itself, but you can see the challenging part. You might have a workshop where you have designers, business people, HR, etc. 

How do you work with other designers or developers? How do you interact with them? How do you all work together?

We always try to have a pretty close connection. I also always felt like there’s so much value in that collaboration. In my previous role, for instance, we managed to involve developers in the testing sessions, and that was something that I think was very interesting and positive. 

Seeing people with different backgrounds included in that part of the design process was quite valuable for us. Some of them were even facilitating the testing sessions. That’s why I think collaboration is so powerful. 

We tend to have a pretty close relationship with the PMs and with the other designers. We have different channels to do that, but I think the idea is always to communicate as much as possible. The environment knows the value that’s behind the collaboration between designers. So teamwork is one of the main variables we have.

What’s your advice for anyone looking to land that first role?

Start somewhere. The first role doesn’t have to be in your dream company. The more experience you get, the better. Practice over theory. Look for companies where you feel like you can bring something to the table. I think it’s very important to be responsible in choosing because the work environment you put yourself in has such an impact on how much you can grow. 

After the internship, I realized that this was the environment I wanted to be in. But that’s my case. In general, try to be responsible about that. For this, the first step is to be aware of yourself, what your skills are and strongest points are, and try to showcase that.

If you were looking to hire, say, a junior UX designer for the LEGO Group, what would you need to showcase?

Firstly, willingness to learn. I wouldn’t expect a Junior UX designer to know everything. It just isn’t realistic. But I would expect them to be willing to learn a lot in the following years. I think that’s crucial. So, a proactive person. Someone who’s collaborative and believes in trust. 

Also, someone who believes in sharing feedback and who likes being part of a team. Definitely, a critical person. That is someone who questions decisions and directions and always tries to open up the scope. 

Someone who’s willing to work with other roles. I think that’s another crucial part of the job. Finally, someone who takes into account users when making decisions is important too.

How important is a portfolio and what makes a good portfolio, in your opinion?

What’s displayed on the portfolio is not really relevant for that position. One point I think is related to the portfolio is being aware of what it is that you want to showcase. Another crucial point I would say is to be clear about what the design process is rather than just the visuals,

It’s really important to showcase that you have structure and you can plan properly. Something you need to take into account when creating your portfolio is explaining your choices and why you took them. Displaying critical choices communicates the way you think. 

You tend to see projects where they are displayed, where the process is perfect or linear. It doesn’t have to be like that. It’s also more interesting to see how you dealt with issues.

Lastly, how do you keep your skills sharp and how does the LEGO Group provide you with relevant professional development?

The company offers many different ways of diving into specific aspects of not only design but also the people with new initiatives around various tools. So you always get the opportunity to learn something new from colleagues and from the company itself. 

It also helps to start from you and your growth, because there are many opportunities specifically within the LEGO Group. So if you’re just willing to develop yourself more and try to grow, there are lots of opportunities you can get from courses offered by the company to people willing to just share their knowledge. So I think it really starts from you and then there are other things happening around you.

Professional Diploma in UX Design

Build your UX career with a globally recognised, industry-approved qualification. Get the mindset, the confidence and the skills that make UX designers so valuable.

Course starts

6 August 2024

Course price

$3,450

View course details