Karla Polo is a Senior Product Designer on the Economy team at Roblox, where she uses design to explore the future of commerce in the metaverse.
Describe your team’s role here at Roblox.
The Economy group is responsible for the business side of Roblox. I design user-centric flows across different teams within the Economy group. My work focuses on designing interfaces and processes to drive monetization on the Roblox platform, which may include ensuring Roblox users are easily able to purchase Robux or subscriptions or developers have a good experience purchasing ads on the Roblox platform. Also, part of my role involves improving the discoverability of avatar items and enhancing the Avatar Shop experience in partnership with the Avatar group.
What is one of the most interesting aspects about working on your team at Roblox?
The Economy team’s work touches several areas of the company, including Trust & Safety, Avatar, and Marketing. The overlap with these other groups has allowed me to collaborate with and learn from multiple people from all over Roblox to help drive overall success for the company.
Although we are responsible for driving monetization for the company, our users and developers are at the center of our work. We prioritize making Roblox safe for kids, ensuring that all transactions are secure, and that users have trust in our system. We also strive for developer sustainability and creating new ways for developers to make money on the platform so that they can make building experiences on Roblox a viable career, or even using the Roblox platform to build real businesses.
I work alongside many talented and creative designers at Roblox. Their creative minds push me to grow professionally and opens the door for collaborations with incredible designers in other areas.
How is your experience on the team at Roblox different from other roles you’ve had?
Something unique about working at Roblox is that every opinion counts and leadership takes the time to listen to the employees. This is certainly true inside the Economy group and its Design Organization where I feel I have a voice and a seat at the table. I receive great support and mentorship from my manager, project manager, and team. They set me up for success, giving me leadership opportunities that help me grow professionally.
Additionally, the team culture is unbeatable. We take the time to build meaningful human relationships. Twice a week, we do game night jams where we play Roblox and other games together. We also have weekly virtual lunches and ad-hoc gatherings to welcome new team members. We often do team-building activities, like virtual escape rooms, reinforcing the team culture. Even in the middle of a global pandemic, the team has found ways to stay connected and support each other.
Finally, as I grow in my career, I have started to care more about my work’s impact. At Roblox, I believe that the work we do is meaningful for our users and developers. Human interaction and communication will inevitably take on new paradigms that have yet to be defined; Roblox is giving me the opportunity to contribute to shaping the future of the metaverse.
What are the most interesting projects you’ve worked on and things you’ve learned while working at Roblox?
In Economy, we constantly brainstorm and conduct design explorations that aspire to break the invisible wall between the metaverse and the physical world. It’s fascinating to think about the future of commerce in a very tangible way. I’m learning to keep the long view while getting things done. Collaborating with engineers and product partners has helped me understand the technical constraints and find creative ways to accomplish our goals. We’re working hard to turn our design vision into a reality.
In terms of past projects, it’s no secret that Roblox continues to partner with several brands and artists. Inside the Economy team, we focus on how our developers can have another revenue stream by becoming part of this relationship. We tested a new concept around immersive portals. The idea is to create a gateway in some experiences at Roblox that allows users to teleport from experiences into branded events. The portals could be a way for partnerships to advertise their events and increase user engagement while giving developers a way to generate additional revenue. The Marketing, Social, and 3D Art teams worked together on this project.
Outside of my work on the Economy team, I had the opportunity to contribute to the In The Heights experience. I’m a huge fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegria Hudes’s work, and getting to contribute felt particularly personal: I am a Latina immigrant living in New York City, not too far from Washington Heights; “Carla from Queens,” just like in the movie.
It was meaningful that Roblox allowed me to be part of this project. From the event countdown, the Spanish voice in the subway was mine, to my illustrations appearing as murals in virtual Washington Heights, I’m extremely grateful that I could put my grain of sand in an experience that celebrates the LatinX community in such a positive way.
Interested in joining the Product Design team at Roblox? We’re always looking for new talent, so check us out at corp.roblox.com/careers/ and see if there’s a role that’s right for you.
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