The Challenge Feed
How can we make it easier for players to track their Challenge Series progress? Can we help them find the challenges that are important to them and their styling habits? Currently players spend 60% of their session styling and dressing-up but they want to spend even more time doing so. How can this time be increased, and how can we get them into styling faster?
As [Game] Designers we had made a lot of assumptions about what our players wanted, but after conducting several focus groups and scouring our large community fan-base via forums, facebook and other social media platforms we discovered many similar pain points about our challenge feed - the main entry point into creating and styling with high end fashion apparel.
Early explorations looked for ways to condense and combine information so that scrolling through the feed would be quicker and would display only relevant information. Through wireframes and quick mockups it quickly became apparent that tracking progress was most important to our players, but that progress wasn't being clearly explained. Series Challenges needed to not only stand out visually but also needed to notify players of several important factors.
Combining the needs of our users with the goals of the product, content, and marketing teams we developed component based UI that could be reused in multiple areas of the game. Some key enhancements were: Uniting Series Challenges with a series icon image, Uniting Series Challenges with curated images of similar theme and color tone, showing custom colored progress bar that tracks progress at all times, Shows progress flydown every time on styling completion, and more...
Our players are stars!
Big spenders should be appreciated and valued and their voices should matter. They are already advocates for the game so let’s give them a platform to shape the community. Let’s treat them like gold, like royalty and respect them in internal and external conversations. Who exactly are our players? What drives them to play and spend? Can we reference them in a better way?
We used to refer to our top spenders as whales, a term carried over from the casino industry. Whales are people who spent large amounts of money and are often targeted in specific ways to spend even more. We flipped the model on its head by calling our most influential and biggest payers "Stars". They are the backbone of our game economy and we celebrate them in every-way possible. But even this aspect was just one persona. Often spenders had different reasons for spending.
Early personas were helpful in identifying the four main categories of players. Though this evolved over the years, the initial research and interviews helped us establish a better understanding of our spenders, users, and players. This allowed us to customize gameplay features and contextual popups accordingly. We also bucketed these players into specific A/B tests during slow release of features.
It was critical to understand the player journey to help grow the product and ensure the needs of all our Sparks, Blazes, and Stars were met. We had a core virtous cycle built into our game - but how did this affect each persona and/or spender.
We created a tier system that rewarded players for spending money. Previously there was no reward for having a bigger closet, or more purchased garments. By creating a 10 tier system not only did players feel the reward they deserved but they would only be directly competing against like tiered players.
By researching player behaviors, watching remote user play sessions, and evaluating feedback from the community we were constantly evaluating every aspect of the game. Most importantly we put our voting algorithm and voting experience under intense scrutiny. By placing a focus on results rather than a "perfect" UX we made a robust and likable system that supported all our user personas.
Don't be afraid of change
Covet Fashion was ever changing as a result of improved communication from our community. It was important to understand that the product will never be "perfect" and only through continued interaction and research can we improve the experience. Below are some demonstrations of mockups, wireframes and flows that have continued to lift revenue and player engagement incrementally
Sometimes wireframes were enough to convey a general flow or feature set improvement, but often more detailed images with notes were required. This helped ensure the Product team, Design team, Development team, and management team were all on the same page. These detailed images could then be attached to Spec sheets, Jira tickets, roadmaps and other internal documentation.
Covet Fashion also had to appeal to our Brand Partners. Often we would mock up ads or features in new game UI to help onboard the partner, and to show them how our platform would increase their discoverability, boost their current brand campaigns and more...
Since many screens in the game relied on very specific information a hybrid Mockup/Wirerame approach was taken to help identify layout issues. This helped when presenting to stakeholders, and to aid in faster prototyping
Having a clearly outlined and documented styleguide allowed new UI components to be created that not only felt like they belonged to the game, but kept users interacting without interruption or training
Then & Now
It is interesting to see how Covet Fashion Evolved over the years based primarily on feedback from players an information gleaned from UX research
When Covet Fashion was first conceptualized the focus was on tablet users. Our expectation at the time was that players would gravitate toward the higher fidelity images and a large format experience - but as time went on we found more and more players that owned two devices preferred the hand held format over the other. Our "tablet First" methodology had to change.

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