It’s been a week since the last day of my Roblox design internship.
The past week I’ve just been grinding on my new portfolio, celebrating my birthday, and enjoying my time in Taiwan.
So, today I wanted to use this article as an opportunity to reflect on my time at Roblox. I want to share all the new things I’ve learned during the internship.
And I will try to be as honest and transparent as possible. That’s why I created this blog - to share my authentic journey.
So, let’s begin:
One of the most heard terms during orientation and Roblox week for sure.
Roblox’s goal is to be the pioneer in the metaverse experience. And, as I learned from my conversation with Jerome Farnum, this presents a ton of unique challenges and opportunities for designers or developers.
Something to think about.
I’d never heard of design ops until this internship. It stands for “design operation.” In short, design ops do everything they can to make sure the designers are doing their best work under the optimal condition and environment.
Talking to Roblox’s design ops lead Jackie Ajoux was eye-opening. It is true - Roblox is growing rapidly, so their design team is also growing. That’s why it’s important to have design ops come in and make sure everything is for the designers.
Respect the community. Take the long view. Take responsibility. Get stuff done.
These values were brought up quite a few times during my internship. It’s great to see a company that adheres to its core values.
I didn’t learn this at Roblox, but I wanted to talk about this.
When I was interning, someone (outside of Roblox) recommended me to download the Quartr app.
It’s an amazing app that makes investor relations material accessible. You can search for a company and easily see all their investor reports (quarter and annual).
I’m not a numbers guy, but I do find these reports interesting.
It’s always good to understand the big picture of a company. And a great way to look at their financials. It helps you less fixate on a single problem or project and see the company as a whole.
Another great way is to know the company’s annual plan & goals. And see how those trickle down to the groups, teams, and individual goals.
To be completely transparent, I was not fond of my project in the beginning since it seemed like very production-heavy work.
You might think:
Oh my god! You must be working on the in-game experience right? That’s awesome!
Well, not particularly.
To give some context, I worked on redesigning the mobile app settings using Roblox’s design system. It has nothing to do with the game itself.
This made me realize:
Not everybody (especially interns) gets to work on the core experience. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that’s also important.
So, how did I try to wrap my head around my frustration about the project?
First, I gradually realized that there were actually a lot of considerations from my manager and mentor for choosing this project for me. They want to make sure I can put my work in my portfolio. And I’m very grateful for that.
Second, I wasn’t clear about what I wanted in the beginning. I didn’t articulate specifically what I’m interested in upfront. I only got a tiny sense of what I like to do as a designer mid-way during my internship.
Third, my manager was also doing production-heavy work. That made me realize that real-world work is not always that glamorous. Every single project you work on rarely is your “favorite.” But what matters is how you adapt and still put out your BEST work.
Lastly, I realized that my frustration really won’t help me in any way. So I shifted my mindset to think:
This will be a great learning opportunity to hone my visual design skills and design system knowledge. This project is also something the team needs for the future!
Now, this took time. It didn’t just happen with a snap. It was through constant self-reflection and conversation with my mentor and manager.
And little by little, I became immersed in the project. And sooner or later, I realized that it’s much more complex than I thought it was. And in the end, I learned a lot.
At this point, I have a much better sense of what I want to do (and don’t) as a designer. Though I know that everything is unpredictable, I think it’s good to have a rough direction in mind. It makes my decision-making a lot easier.
I’m currently writing an entire doc about this. Maybe I’ll share this in the future.
Seriously. All the people I’ve talked to were incredibly nice and willing to help. I think, in the end, I had over 30 coffee chats with different designers. And my team always gave constructive feedback on the designs I presented.
My mentor was relentless with this. Whenever I discussed a design with her, she always asked me why I did what I did. Same with my design presentations.
Being intentional with my design and being able to articulate that is a combo skill that I will carry with me for the rest of my design career.
This is more into the nitty-gritty. But I learned how to organize my Figma file and pages well from my mentor, especially for design presentations.
I realized that your Figma file needs to be organized so that other team members can easily hop on and understand what’s going on.
Also, I learned that it’s good practice to always keep track of my design progress and decisions on a document. So a lot of typing there.
I met so many amazing designers and interns at Roblox, and I learned a ton during my project as well.
Honestly, the last day was a bittersweet moment. It felt like a very short dream that flew by, and it was tough to say goodbye to everyone.
But, I’m very grateful for the opportunity Roblox gave me, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Thank you for being awesome and reading this far! :)