A Platform for Play.
In a move towards positioning itself for the future, social game maker Zynga recognized that it needed to establish itself as an independent go-to hub for online gaming, and endeavored to create an optimized game play experience for its millions of dedicated players.
Play your favorite game, or find a new one.
The launching point for this network initiative was the game portal zynga.com, which debuted in March of 2012.
A modular UI system provides flexibility in how games are featured. Personalized navigation gets a user quickly to a game. Activity from a player’s social graph provides a look into the action on the network.
In the 6 months following release, the site scaled to hosting over 1 million unique users per day, making it one of the largest dedicated gaming sites on the web. In addition, it scored a significantly higher NPS amongst regular users compared to players on Facebook.
An interface optimized for players.
A core component of many of Zynga’s “ville” style games is posting requests for game items to friends. To facilitate play for dedicated players, the “social rail” displays an activity feed where these items are displayed, but only within the circle of players on the site.
This interactive affordance changed what was often considered a negative aspect of Zynga’s games, and turned it into a benefit for the dedicated user base by providing easy access to game items and connection with other players in the community.
Account’s & Profiles
Building a new community of players
Zynga accounts allowed the building of a unique social graph, game perks, and other player friendly features, and furthered the business objective of establishing independence from other systems.
The player profile showcases a players identity within the network. Over time it evolved from an initial variation that focussed on friends, to integrating the Right Rail social features, to integrating an avatar creation system and virtual currency component.
Playing with friends is always more fun – especially live!
The platforms team integrated a live multiplayer feature within the hit game Bubble Safari, exclusive to zynga.com.
This feature matches up players & friends around the globe to pop bubbles in real time. Winners won “zCoins” redeemable for in-game virtual goods. A global leaderboard surfaces the best players in the network.
Behind the Scenes
Taking the platform from concept to completion
As the design lead for the project my output was often generating concepts to help define direction and diagrams to stitch the pieces of the puzzle together. The overall finished experience was, of course, a collaboration of product designers, visual artists, and our partners in product management and engineering.
As Franchise User Experience Director, I managed the team of designers working on the property, designed the overall interactive architecture, collaborated with product management and engineering to ship the finished product, interfaced with stakeholders at game studios across the organization, and worked closely with platform group leadership to drive towards our business objectives. I was lucky to collaborate on this project with such incredibly talented people as Rhiannon Bell, Virginia MacArthur, Amrafel Acosta, Mark Malabuyo, and many others.
More can be found in my Zynga archive.
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