FULL PRESENTATION • HARRY CHRIS MCCORKLE
Through collaboration with research, production, and engineering, I designed a mobile store that was discoverable, scalable, and usable. Through heuristic evaluation, competitive analysis, and usability testing, I identified opportunities to improve the store’s layout, and as a result, we experienced an increase in revenue.
Cooking Craze is a restaurant-themed, free to play time management game published by Big Fish. It’s produced in-house, and developed in Belarus.
This game has been live for a few years now, and naturally, revenue was starting to soften, so I worked with the team to examine where purchases occur, and to re-invigorate those experiences.
I worked cross-functionally with product management, production, research, engineering, and marketing.
As the UX Design Lead, I was responsible for any feature ideation, UX design, interaction design, and prototype development that was required.
Examining the store at the time, I noted some observations and concerns, like:
A mobile game store is usable and best set up for success when the user:
Through a preliminary usability test of the store and its functions, the research team and I discovered that 4 out of 5 players had trouble performing the following tasks:
Here’s one example of a player struggling to successfully complete one of the tasks we set out for them.
A participant is asked by the test facilitator where they would find how many of a boost they have that would prevent a dish from burning.
This is known as the Burn Proofer. The quantity is shown right next to the boost name and its icon, but as you’ll see, the player exits the store and searches elsewhere, later returning to the store and assuming the “0” is the quantity of that boost they have.
When conducting competitive analysis, I’ve found that exploring two groups of games often yield the most useful information.
These two groups are: best in class of the mobile gaming industry, and best in class of the game genre. I’ll put a few hours into each game, learning the mechanics, inspecting each feature, and compile a list of interesting observations I’ve found.
By comparing best-in-genre store layouts, I discovered that:
Cooking Fever didn’t organize their store into categories — instead individual buttons would call up different store layouts. I wasn’t sure how intuitive this would be for our players when browsing the different categories of our store.
Cooking Dash and Restaurant Dash both featured tabs on the left. It felt clean and organized. However, none of them communicated the value of what they were selling.
This version brands the store as a “market,” moves the tabs to the left side, and replaces a permanent bundles promo with a marketing with a call-to-action.
View Prototype on Proto.io
and choose C
In the next round of testing, the research team and I conducted a remote usability study. We assessed player performance by measuring time-to-task and accuracy in accomplishing the five tasks from the first round of playtesting:
Since Cooking Craze already had tabs along the top of the store, the game team decided to keep that organization, but follow my design recommendations for everything else..
The next step was to work with engineering to make sure they understood our goals, and that design direction was properly followed.
I sent over Design B, and they worked to implement its changes into a developer build of the game. Now, it was time for our final round of usability testing.
In this sample from playtesting, a participant is asked to show the facilitator what the “plus three customer boost” does.
The participant is able to effortlessly locate how to learn about that boost.
Upon confirming the new layout performed very well, the developers went to work on integrating it into the production build of the game. a few weeks later, it was released. After 30 days, proof of the new store’s impact was in.
Controlling for variables that may otherwise naturally impact revenue for that month, such as organic and paid user acquisition, as well as live events in the game, the new store design impacted revenue as follows...
Some things we learned:
Also to note: This bundles feature would go on to appear in just about all Big Fish Games after this point.
Some thoughts and ideas, looking back:
Through collaboration with research, production, and engineering, I designed a mobile store that was discoverable, scalable, and usable.
Through heuristic evaluation, competitive analysis, and usability testing, I identified opportunities to improve the store’s layout, and as a result, we experienced an increase in revenue.
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