This project for developing a pilot for a new BI (Building Instruction) User Experience by bringing a bit of storytelling into the building steps and encouraging kids to start playing with a model before even finish building was one of the most exciting and interesting ones from my time working in the LEGO Friends team. One of the products we tried this on was 2020 Baking Competition (41393) !
In 2019 I had the opportunity to work on a week long sprint to develop a more playful and story driven version of our BI (Building Instruction). I collaborated within a small team of dedicated and talented designers, creatives and managers and was happy to brainstorm ideas, sketch out new features and user flows. Some of these sketches I can share here since they were made public in the 10 Year Anniversary of LEGO Friends! 
Some of the first things I proposed to help kids engage more with the building instructions were clear signifiers to increase spatial and temporal awareness. Spatial awareness: show kids a "ghosted" version of the full set, the placement of each module in the full set and the placement of the first piece in the module. Temporal awareness: between the page numbers, on the lower side of the page, we have a progress bar that gives a clear visual signal where you are in the the building steps, how close or far from the starting and finish line.  These were of course coming from my gaming experience and I was so happy to see it do so well in the user research testing sessions and being implemented so nice by the production team in so many product building instructions later on! 
I also sketched concepts on how to link story moments to specific building steps. Giving the kids a reason to build by making it character focused was the way to go here and for example when you start building a sink is nice to see why you do it: the help Stephanie wash her hands! :) Of course in the product implementation, in the final BI, some of these concepts were not implemented directly, they used more subtle visual signals to keep the build flow balanced.
In most LEGO sets there is a step in the building process where kids need to start placing stickers so in this improvement proposal we agreed to use the character approach to in signalling the stickers.
Story focus and character driven experience needed a bit more natural interaction between figures when the whole group was completed in the set. So at least greeting each other or the competitive side of the group was concepted and discussed. Also fun fact: the boy character name was inspired by the model designer that produced this amazing set, my friend and colleague, the super talented LEGO Designer David Tauzia!
A bit of tension, conflict, keeps things interesting so we had a few of these story moments in there to keep the kids engaged and entertained. This also encouraged kids to start playing with the set modules way before the completion of the building experience, so making sure we respect the brief we got and get kids to play as often as possible during the building experience!
Rewarding the kids when they finish something is a concept also coming from my previous experience in gaming and I proposed to have a structured, nested approach where you have a mini celebration for finishing a mini-build (a cake in this example on page 26), a medium celebration for finishing a module and a large celebration for the end when finishing the entire build set (seen below)!
So in the end of the building process of 2020 Baking Competition (41393) we have a big celebratory illustration showcasing the entire completed built set! Giving users completion feedback - so rewarding them when they finish something is a very useful part of playing experience I pushed for implementing because it's so universal it works in very similar ways in digital games but also physical toys! If you take a closer look at the bottom right corner you can see the celebration is signalled in the completion of the progress bar as well! Using QR codes to link into our video / animation content enhances the overall product experience as well! See the video I got the opportunity to edit below!
In 2019 I had the opportunity to also create a better connection with our Tv Show Animation by producing a video edit promoting the product by mixing footage from live action lifestyle videos of kids playing with the product with animation footage from the Tv Show Promo short.
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