Xoo Inc is a social gaming startup and a long-term client of Konsult. For over a year, I worked with Xoo as their head of design, handling everything from product definition to app design to marketing. Over this period, I worked on three products: Curious, Watcha Doin’?, and QUESTion. Each one is a refined successor of the previous products.
Curious is the product that started Xoo. It’s aim is to keep friends in touch and become closer. It allows private group games where you and friends are asked different types of questions. After answering each of you guesses what another person answered, and whoever guesses the most correct (knows their friends the best) wins the round. The questions can be multiple choice, sliding scale, or free form. The questions would start casual and delve more into your life and your values as you and your friends get to know each other better.
Since this is the first product of the company, I explored many different types of visual expression. We evaluated visual identity from the child-like appearance of Candy Crush to the modern look of Apple. Our final decision was a modern look with strong colors, so to fit the sophistication of our target audience and convey a since of spontaneity.
We started with the freeform and slider answer modes and tested the game with 20 users. The feedback was that it was too complex and sometimes chose questions that were inappropriate for the familiarity level of the players. Given the complexity of the AI, we decided to scale the app down to a single question and answer mode.
Watcha Doin’? preserves most of the game mechanics of Curious, while focusing on taking photos and guessing photos. Using photos instead of text as the main mechanism allowed the game to be more friendly to casual players who are on the go.
Watcha Doin’? was released in late 2014 and featured in by the App Store. However, most players stopped playing after a week, citing the long wait between game plays as the main reason they never formed the habit to play the game long term. This was congruent with feedback we received during beta testing, so a change was quickly approved by the executives.
I lead the product pivot process, where we all focused on our mission at the company, brainstormed potential ways to achieve our mission differently, and inspired a new idea that functioned vastly differently from the previous games but maintains the core value proposition.
QUESTion is a platform where you can ask and answer questions while learning interesting things about your friends and people like you. The primary interaction of QUESTion is a stack of cards with… questions! You can choose to pass, answer, or send to a friend.
Answering questions allows you to see which demographics you relate the most to. For example, you may be a 25-year-old in California, but your opinion is most similar to 65-year-olds in New Hampshire. Sharing questions with friends allows you to privately chat and ask followup questions. The goal of the game is to make the process of asking and answering fun, without the need to wait for others to binge-play.
The design constraints were time and money. We needed to get a testable prototype out without burning any more funds. Because of this, I minimized the use of icons and images in the app and used bright colors and high contrast to create a visually interesting UI.
Branding and Marketing
Aside from my main responsibility of guiding the product and the user experience, I also created the branding and marketing materials for Xoo.