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Client Name

Project Name

A few years ago I had the privilege of building and managing the creative team at a startup for mobile board games. The app we've designed, a digital version of  backgammon offers players a chance to play in tournaments with people from all over the world. 


the challenge

Our goal for this project was to recapture the magic of the early days of board games - when people played as a form of social activity. The original premise was simple: log in to the app, get a partner to play with or... challenge your friends for a match! However, we weren't trying to revert to a simple past. Our ambitions were to create a strong foundation that embraced a rapidly evolving gaming industry and meet the needs of a diverse user base in a meaningful way.


Stephen Anderson's UX Hierarchy of Needs heavily influenced our product strategy.

my role

I was part of the founding team and responsible for the experience strategy and design of the facebook and mobile apps. I lead the UX work, producing all major deliverables and presenting these to the founder and CEO. I worked alongside VP Product who focused on game economy and scaling strategies.

understanding 'backgammon' in content

Our research revealed that the concept of playing backgammon represented something different to users from different cultures - hinting

at different requirements.


We used experience mapping techniques to visualise and communicate the users state-of-mind across various touch‐points, which allowed us to set client expectations about the aspirational emotional state we were aiming to design for.

4 types of players

The discovery phase was a quick, high‐intensity effort that allowed us to define project milestones, review the competitor landscape, understand the investor's vision, and begin research into user needs, behaviors and pain‐points. Ultimately, through this process we filtered users' motivations for playing and identified four key archetypes:

the excitement seeker

the relaxation seeker

- Plays for emotional stimulation

- Seeks the thrills of winning or losing

- Doesn't play to win but for the sensation

 (similar to riding a roller coaster) 

- Plays to escape and release tension

- Interested in the experience of playing

- Plays for entertainment: like going to

  a movie or reading a book (not to win)

the social player

- Plays as means to escape boredom,

  socialize with friends or meet new people

- Goal is functional (experiential motive)

- Doesn't care much about new themes

the multipurpose player

- Plays for fun and for the chance to win 

- Might seek real money alternatives

- Fantasizes about winning big money 

- Doesn't care about new game themes 

our phasing strategy

Our persona hypothesis allowed us to facilitate discussions about our users needs and their varying contexts of use and develop a clear picture of who the design of the app would target in phase 1. Ultimately, we decided to focused first on supporting the goals of the 'Excitement Seeker' and the 'Social Player', our primary personas.

Our high level goals were to:

1. Offer players of all levels a progressive journey that celebrates the unpredictability of win and loss 

2. Encourage social interactions that create deep engagement 

3. Provide people with an easy and fun way to 'kill time' and socialize  

bringing it all to life

To differentiate ourselves in an already mature and competitive market, we needed to define a desirable role for the app and how it would meet the needs of the scheme's users.

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