A man is smiling into the camera in casual clothes at Viasat Ireland.
Robert Alves De Jesus, visual designer at Viasat. Image: Connor McKenna/Siliconrepublic.com

What’s it like to work in the ‘fast-paced’ industry of in-flight product design?

5 Nov 2019

Robert Alves De Jesus of Viasat discusses what he enjoys about working in visual design and how he communicates with his US-based colleagues.

Robert Alves De Jesus is a visual designer at Viasat Ireland, contributing to the company’s UX and UI design for in-flight experience products for airlines and passengers.

He told Siliconrepublic.com about a typical day in his role, the skills he draws on to “deliver the best experience for the customer”, and his top tips for staying productive.

‘I believe a designer needs to be creative, very organised and aware of what is happening in the project’

If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?

Our days can be very different depending on the projects we are working on. It could be research, user-testing and workshops, all of which can break up a routine and offer variety.

A typical designer’s day at Viasat usually starts with a coffee or tea followed by emails and catching up on design and tech news. Because we have so many projects going on with teams in the US, we usually use our mornings to produce and design, and our afternoons for meetings and collaboration activities.

We have our team stand-up every day around three o’clock, when the rest of our team in US starts their day. We also tend to have some meetings during the day to make sure the projects we are working on are on track and to plan our next tasks.

What types of project do you work on at Viasat?

At Viasat Ireland we predominantly work on projects for commercial aviation, which is focused on creating in-flight experience products for airlines and passengers.

We design and develop entertainment products for passengers during the flight, and airline tools to support intelligent information programs.

What skills do you use on a daily basis?

I believe a designer needs to be creative, very organised and aware of what is happening in the project. My goal as a designer is to deliver the best experience for the customer, passenger or airline.

To do that, I need to know the user and test as much as possible.

What is the hardest part of your working day?

I believe that the start of a new project is challenging (and exciting). It is always hard to start something new, especially when we need to learn a lot of things to understand the user properly, which is also called the discovery phase.

The aviation industry is very fast-paced and therefore it requires us to stay up to date with industry advancements, regulation and passenger trends.

Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the working day?

Having moments to clear my mind. We have a very good kitchen area to get some coffee or tea, and also an amazing area to play games and chill out in the middle of the day.

I believe that it is always good to relax a bit in order to be more productive afterwards.

How has this role changed as this sector has grown and evolved?

The emphasis on design at Viasat is greater than I have experienced in previous companies. It plays a central role in the company’s approach to design thinking and product development, and it is great to have an opportunity to be part of that.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

Being able to work with so many different people and customers globally and learn from them.

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