Second part of a studio class capstone project with Activision. The focus was to promote player engagement through the creation of social features for the Call of Duty companion app. After reviewing student concept proposals from the first stage of the challenge, Activision merged students into larger teams for a monthlong design sprint. Our new team was asked to handle onboarding, with our Recruitment Roadmap concept (part one of the project) as the starting point.
Created for Activision
Players, particularly new players, can have trouble navigating such a dynamic game like Call of Duty (COD). This type of obstacle has shown to discourage players from continued gameplay and enjoyment. So, how might we give players a welcoming experience using the companion app and help introduce them to the many different aspects of the game, all while building a community around said experience?
Spec Ops, or Special Operations, are missions, with a set of objectives, for players to complete within a week in order to earn achievement badges, in-game rewards, or XP. Players can complete these by themselves, but this feature encourages them to play with others, whether to get an XP multiplier or cooperative-dependent badges.
Based on our earlier interview data and research (part one of the project: Recruitment Roadmap), we created three personas representing the motivations and need sets of new, casual, and experienced players. We decided to focus on the experience of new users when developing Spec Ops since the potential impact of onboarding is most likely to benefit this type of user. The following storyboard explores a scenario in which an experienced user (secondary persona) recruits a new user (primary persona).
We created a user flow that shows how our primary persona might interact with existing COD touchpoints as she struggles with learning how to play.
Our lo-fi prototype introduces users to Spec Ops missions and teams. Other aspects of the prototype included invitations and achievement badges.
Activision provided COD players for us to test with, and after testing, we asked the participants to rank a list of proposed new features.
We performed a card sort after usability testing and three major insights emerged. Additional insight details are discussed in the following sections: Onboarding, Adding Players and Achievement Badges.
USABILITY TESTING INSIGHT 1: ONBOARDING
Most of our testers didn’t fully grasp the Spec Ops concept early on. Even though Spec Ops is intended to help onboard people into Call of Duty, we neglected onboarding users to the app experience itself.
“Am I playing the game while I turn this on or…? So I’m not using this at the same time as playing…”
Our annotated wireframes show the series of onboarding overlays we added after testing with the lo-fi prototype.
USABILITY TESTING INSIGHT 2: ADDING PLAYERS
Social interaction is a shared motivator to play COD among the participants we interviewed. Inviting friends was the most important thing they saw with an experience like this.
“It’s better to play with other people. If I go into a challenge I want to make sure that option is there.”
However, the ability to add players is hidden at the bottom of the Spec Ops screen and isn’t offered early enough for it to be universally comprehended by our participants.
We relocated the section for adding players so that it appears on screen without scrolling, as seen below in the annotated wireframes.
USABILITY TESTING INSIGHT 3: ACHIEVEMENT BADGES
“Is Joe Smith as good as he says he is? I wanna see how good he is, so I can play with him”
While some players use achievements for personal collection and task completion purposes, other players find motivation in seeing what achievements others have earned in order to create a social connection.
Players can use a toggle if they want to display their achievement badges, as shown in the wireframes below.