World Series of Poker | Usability Overhaul

World Series of Poker is a top grossing multi-platform poker app. A full usability and interface overhaul was executed during the app's migration from proprietary technology to Unity to modernize the app and improve usability. 

My role was to create new designs for all the necessary interfaces and to oversee their implementation with the teams involved. The update brought significant improvements in retention as well as in the lifetime quality of the players.

DATE
4/2015 - 3/2017

STATUS
Feature is Live

MY ROLE
Feature lead, UX Designer

TOOLS
Axure, Photoshop, Hansoft, Jira, Paper prototyping

TEAM MEMBERS
The whole development team (varied from feature to feature)

Usability Overhaul

Challenges

As the app had not had a significant usability overhaul since it had been acquired from its previous developer, the interfaces were dated and the usability needed improving simultaneously on all platforms (mobile, web, and Facebook). Additionally, the game was also being migrated to Unity, so programmers had limited capability to dedicate to the update.

Goals

To define, design, and implement the usability improvements with the highes return of investment, while also modernizing the app.

Approach

In order for all team members to be on the same page, I assembled all the screens in the game into one overview (see image below) and marked their status. The document was updated throught the process and was widely used by the teams involved.

3.0-Flow-V14-midsize-1

Prioritization was done together with all team leads to accurately estimate bandwidth and capabilities. The process was iterative, and priorities of different features were adjusted as needed.

The exact process for implementing each feature varied according to each feature's needs, but the overall process was as seen above.

Example Feature: Bet Bar redesign

The single most crucial interface in a digital poker app is the betting interface. The one in the World Series of Poker app had not been updated since the games' acquisition and was in need of a complete redesign.

Goals of the Redesign

  • Easier and faster betting
  • Responsive bet bar
  • Intuitive and modern betting interface
  • Diminshed chance of error
IMG_0359

Starting Point

  • Extremely sluggish interface
  • No quick buttons
  • The bet amount was only visible when
    touching the bar, making it extremely difficult to set the desired bet amount
  • Bet indicator needed to be dragged to the correct position rather than tapped

Challenges

  • The fast pace of the game - the player only has 15 seconds to decide on a move and act on it
  • Limited screen real-estate - the game is most commonly played on mobile phones
  • Multiple platforms - the feature needs to work on web, Facebook, and various mobile devices
  • The player needs to be able to see a significant portion of the table to play strategically

Approach

To allow for quick and easy testing of the interactions, a graybox version of the interface was implemented as fast as possible. Further layout iteration was experimented with in wireframes, and in collaboration with a UI artist.

bet-bar

Numerous wireframes were created, and the still screens were tested on devices. Some key elements also got an art pass before moving on to implementation. This gave the developers time to solve technical challenges required for the redesign.

IMG_0465

Final product

The redesigned bet bar was welcomed by the player base as a long-awaited improvement.
The improvements include:

  • Modernized visual design
  • Very responsive bet selecting directly on the bet bar
  • Quick buttons to speed up betting and match player needs
  • Dynamic bet bar increments and quick button amounts that respond to game events
  • Dynamic sizing of elements for each screen size – screenshot shown is from iPad

Selected Works

World Series of Poker | Usability overhaulSpearheading a massive overhaul of the game's user experience from on-boarding to key gameplay elements

WSOP ClubsDelivering a polished User Experience for the biggest new feature to have come to the game

Destiny's SwordDesigning expressive interfaces for a Strategy / combat MMO about the effects of war

Mission KodaCreating UX for a prototype of a speech therapy app