Case Study: House Party App

My Role User Researcher, Sketch & Wireframing, Information Architecture and Visual Design Client ‍House Party (Student Group Project) Duration ‍Two Weeks‍ Team UI/UX Designer & UI/UX Designer‍

The Problem

House Party is a social gaming party app, that allows users to group together to play face to face online party games like Head’s Up and UNO virtually. Our team’s project prompt revolved around the Epic Games acquisition of the House Party app, and how they would go about incorporating Fortnite into their business model. Since then, they’ve added a video comms feature into Fortnite that would bring up a video chatting window to the right of the game. Our team tasked with the task went about interviewing gamers to bring to light an overwhelming fact about the new add in and where to go from there.

Discovery & Research

Crucial Insights

User Interviews

  • Most users said that their chat time online is pretty constant most users use chat services daily. This would be for school or for just playing games.
  • Users look for the best video and audio quality when looking for a communication App.
  • Many users agree they do not like the integration of video comms into video games like Fortnite because they can be too distracting and lag your gameplay.
  • First time users of the app found it difficult to locate the Karaoke button at first. Once the users went through the categories of music and picking a song they found it difficult to turn off the music.

Contextual Inquiry

  • One user who had used the App in the past described it to be an “flavor of the month” type of App. This user said this was due to how the games were not flushed out enough.
  • Users “Can’t be bothered to look at video comms when focusing on gaming.”
  • “It is unnecessary to use video when playing competitive games as you do not have time to focus on anything but the game usually. It could also affect the fps as some of your systems resources are going to the video communication.”

Survey Insights

  • The survey insights painted a primary answer which was that 100% of users used Discord as their primary comms system and agreed that playing a video game while in a video chat would be too distracting.

So Far…

We found how to improve the user experience. But early on, we could tell from our research that House Party teaming with Fortnite was not an 100% a liked idea. This is because of the incorporation of video chatting while gaming was too distracting for users.

What House Party’s focus needs to be on is how to incorporate Epic Game’s current games and different party games that would work on mobile.

Interviewed users did not like the idea of FPS games such as Fortnite to have video comms compatibility.
Although both platforms support games, the type of games compatible for both platforms differ with their respected systems. Video chat with Fortnite we discussed is more a streamer feature than for a regular game player. This feature still can be used but is considered a niche idea.

When you open House Party App you are greeted with top and bottom buttons as well as your turned on camera for games and chat. Inbox and House Party connect shared repetitive features to connect with friends via chat messenger which we found insufficient. When we first opened the app there was no tutorial teaching us how to use the app and we had to blindly see how to even use the app. Though some icons were familiar in use there were some that we didn’t know how to use.

Interviewed users did not like the idea of FPS games such as Fortnite to have video comms compatibility.
Although both platforms support games, the type of games compatible for both platforms differ with their respected systems. Video chat with Fortnite we discussed is more a streamer feature than for a regular game player. This feature still can be used but is considered a niche idea.‍

Affinity Map

Persona Gamer Greg

User Persona Greg

From our Affinity map we outlined a persona named Gamer Greg.
This persona helped our team outline the type of person that would be playing House Party. Gamer Greg is social and a fun loving persona. He loves playing games with friends and mainly uses chat programs such as Zoom and Discord to currently connect with friends and family. Greg’s main issue currently is with the Covid19 situation. He mainly feels lonely and needs to find a way to connect with friends and family online socially.

Our team outlines a typical situation in which Greg is introduced to House Party he loves it but how do we keep people like Greg? How do we keep Greg continuously connect with House Party instead falling to victim to other types of social apps? Our team looked at House Party’s and Greg’s main problems and created solutions to those statements.

Problem & Solution Statements →

Problem/ Greg needs a way to be with his friends remotely because he misses the ability to play these games in person.

HMW / provide Greg a simple solution to socialize virtually so that Greg gets as close to the in-person party gaming experience as possible?
HMW/ incorporate Epic Games’ goals into the House Party app experience in a way that still makes sense to a user?‍

Solution/ By expanding the House Party’s integrated comms system and incorporating it into epic games’ client and store.

We can create an intuitive App for House Party that allows users like Greg to enjoy both worlds of social gathering and exploring new games.
This would be not only for a short period of time but can be used in a long term use as well.

Design

Now that out team solved those main issues we moved onto design. For our mood board we wanted to keep the main colors from the app. We took inspiration from other apps that we’re our clients competitors. We added an Epic Games section for connection and other mobile games to keep our users like Greg entertained and happy. One of our main problems is that we want users like Greg to continuously connect with house party instead falling to victim to other types of social apps. How might we do that? Our team looked at main comparative and competitor businesses that we found us and our users use constantly.

Our main insights from our C and C analysis revealed that House Party is in the middle when it comes to features that most of the apps have. As a team, we incorporated these features into our app as well as used ideas the apps had to combine into House Party App. For example, we really liked how Bunch Group Video Chat & Games didn’t open up the camera feature right away and by adding homepage the flow of the app better suited a better user experience.

Sketches

Initial Sketches and Development

Our new site map is more user friendly by connecting users like Greg to the main screen and is greeted with less options of main icons just covering the bottom page of the screen instead of both the top and bottom screen. Things are more separated and easier to understand for new users being introduced to the app. We improved the user flow by adding more easier step of not seeing the options all at once for Greg though it’s still the kind of same user flow adding playing games with family and friends. We all shared our drawings then produced an hybrid of our sketches. Interestingly, they were pretty similar in what we thought about after our discussions. This is what we came up with.

Mid-Fidelity and HI-Fidelity

Changes and Development of MidFi. Changes were made to the camera mode and friends section to make it more obvious to users what some icons are for.
Game and friends needed to be added to camera mode. The main page wanted not to be bombarded with faces and wanted featured games or favorite friends section. Changes and Next Steps of the HiFi. We found that the messages were awkwardly placed and the “Lobby” Navigation item was a bit confusing to non gamers. All of our users loved the simplicity of the flow. For our next steps our team would like to continue usability tests with more people.
We also wanted to expand the variety of games and contacting with other gaming companies.

View The High Fidelity Wireframes

EVANGELISTADESIGN

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store