Creating an app from scratch

From requirements to implementation

About the project

GameHouse Original Stories (GHOS) has multiple games in the app stores, and each month they launched a new game.

The problem

The biggest challenge was to get current players to play the new games. How can you make sure users understand there are more games like the game they are currently playing?

Mission

Give our engaged players a starting point from where they can discover and stay up to date about their favorite character in released and upcoming games.

My role

  • Wireframes
  • Prototype
  • Visual design

Wireframes & prototype

We hit a couple of bumps at the start of the project. Stakeholders were divided about what the app should be about, but after multiple brainstorm sessions and discussions we came to the requirements for the MLP (Minimal Loveable Product). I started with the wireframes and created a prototype.

Some of the wireframes of the first version

Visual design

The initial design was done by a designer outside the team. Multiple rounds of feedback and iterations took place, which ended up taking a long time. We weren’t satisfied with the design and didn’t want to wait any longer, so we decided to take on the design ourselves. In the end we decided that I would take full responsibility for the design. This way we could work faster and weren't dependent anymore on other teams.

First iteration, MLP (Minimal Loveable Product) implemented

Visually we want to have a clean and light interface, that’s why I chose to go with an off-white background. The games have beautiful art, so we don’t need a lot of extra visuals, this way the games will get all the attention they deserve.

One of the key features is the notification system, once you’ve responded to our question ‘Stay in the know?’ the card disappears and the content moves up. A lot of apps turn on notifications automatically, but I want the user to make that choice instead of sending notifications they don’t want.

Rebranding

One of the iterations we did for the app was a rebranding. GameHouse Original Stories got a new logo and branding guidelines, so the app also had to adjust to that.

Rebranding the app

Result

UA had to spend money to get our players to play the latest new game, because players weren’t aware that there was a new game out. With the GHOS app in place we saw a lot of downloads happening from the app, especially when a new game was launched. This saved a lot of UA money which made it possible to spend that money on actually getting new users to play our games instead of existing users.

An extra benefit of having the GHOS app was the ability to directly talk to our players without being dependant on other social media platforms. It gets harder and harder on Facebook and other social media platforms to get attention without using paid ads.

What I've learned

  • Setting up an app from scratch. Requirements, wireframe, prototype, visual design, working together with developers to get the app live.
  • Photoshop and visual design.
  • Getting feedback and learned how to respond to that. Don’t defend everything, but ask a lot of questions to completely understand the feedback.
  • Don’t be dependent on other teams. In this case it was design that took way too long because in the beginning we didn’t do it in our own team.

Iterations

User research and brainstorm sessions resulted in a lot of iterations. We've added more game information, created a news feed and made mini-games such as the card collecting game to increase retention. Later on we also added onboarding.

 

Next project

Rebranding