My client comes from the sports reporting industry and she has a grand vision of providing a social platform for fans to share their support and energy wherever they may be. Her goal was to create a virtual game day feeling by allowing fans to interact deeper with their supporting teams, athletes, and other fans. I worked with her and the team to redesign Sportsyap to reflect her vision.
Research | UX | UI | Interaction
Kicking it off
To kick off the project, I sat down with my clients to find out what their business needs, constraints, and expectations were. My clients’ biggest concern was that the app wasn’t engaging enough given its low user engagement rate. Using this issue as a starting point in research, I requested access to current users’ contact information to understand how they feel towards our product and how we can make the experience even better for them.
Ideally, I should look into the app’s analytics to understand the demographic, usage patterns, and drop off rates— but the clients didn’t have such data available. To compensate, I focused on data from current user interviews and prospective user research.
Which opportunities are missed
I spoke with 3 current users with the focus to understand why they use our app and how they use it. As important as online interactions are, I also wanted to know how they interact with other fans offline. And as a good measure, get their feedback on other similar sports apps for a well-rounded analysis.
Based on the insights, I noticed the app only provided ways to support the teams and not the players. This was a lost opportunity because the team and players are dependent on each other and fans value this relationship as a whole.
Another missed opportunity was that fans are actually very interactive and close to each other, especially during game days. Rather than have individual posts, we could encourage more group posts— this not only mimics the teamwork feeling that athletes experience, it also pushes for more engagements between the fans.
I looked into two of the mentioned competitors: Snapchat and Facebook. Snapchat does an excellent job using geo-location stickers and showcasing game highlights. Facebook on the other hand, really serves as a platform for venting and sharing with friends. What both do well is that they allow users to fully express themselves.
The next step to understanding our users was to understand how their game-day experiences are actually formed.
Experiences are formed based on multiple factors such as sight, sound, smell, touch, and energy. Albeit the impossibilities of smell and touch, we can push for features that heighten the sight, sound, and energy of game days.
The following matrix splits fan engagement techniques into four quadrants. Our app focuses on game day interactions so we only needed to consider how to enhance the experience for onsite fans and how to bring the live-action closer for offsite fans.
Pinpointing users and user journeys
I created two different personas based on the insights retrieved from the research since they had varying goals and needs.
Some fans were very dedicated to their team and wanted to be as engaged as possible. Other fans are not as extreme and sometimes prioritized community connections more.
Going through their individual user journey, I discovered the importance of allowing fans to easily find games on our app and their need to have multiple access points and incentives for posting shots.
A crucial step for the redesign is to audit the existing app and be objective on what’s working and not working. The idea isn’t to renovate everything if it’s not necessary. I placed this step after user research because I wanted to re-evaluate the features with the business goal and user needs in mind.
Thinking of solutions with help
To think outside the box while also realistically for my clients' business needs, I used Disney's Creative Strategy to brainstorm possible solutions.
Research showed that fans want to interact with other fans as well as their favorite athletes. They want to be an extension of the team by supporting them in any way possible. And they'd like to see other fans’ POV through game pictures and videos.
But given my clients' budget and technical constraints, I had to filter down the ideas. To expedite the ideation process, I convened with my clients and the developers. After much negotiation and collaboration, we decided on the features that were both viable and beneficial.
Given that it was a redesign of an existing app, I decided to sketch out the new ideas and features without creating wireframes. The sketches really served as a finalized direction for my clients and an actualized idea for me. It helped me work out any kinks and make adjustments to my thinking before hashing it out in the Hi-Fi prototype.
After approval of the sketches, I converted them to Hi-Fi prototype for user testing. Here are the preliminary designs.
How easy and engaging are the new designs?
I wanted to understand the error rate for the critical tasks and also gauge the overall engagement level of the app. The average score of engagement for the 6 users was 3.67 out of 5. Under the circumstance of having limited resources and capacity, I do think the score is quite favorable. There were no significant errors when asked to complete the tasks. In addition to performing the tasks and rating the engagement level, I gave my participants the System Usability Survey (SUS) and all of them rated it > 80.
My clients were very happy with the outcome and even though we had to cut down on many interactive features, we did manage to incorporate some features that increased the engagement level. My clients have re-shipped the product.
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