My Open Hockey: UX Case Study

An app to connect hockey players to games they want to play.

My Open Hockey Mobile App

Challenge:

Help to solve ice hockey players frustrations around showing up to the hockey rink to play open hockey only to find there are not enough goalies or players to play a proper game. Open hockey is a type of informal hockey game offered by most arenas where anyone is welcome to play, and players show up at the rink to sign up, pay and play.

 

Process:

This project marries my two passions: design and playing ice hockey. User interviews based on an initial problem statement led to a pivot in focus which led to a revised problem statement around which I synthesized the interview data using affinity mapping. Market research and a feature prioritization based on business and user goals helped refine the features. User-based card sorting helped support the information architecture of the digital experience. I applied the test, learn, iterate cycle with interactive prorotypes to user test and iterate on designs, and finally high fidelity designs.

 

Features:

– Preview of players registered for a game

– Payment for game session

– Registration for game

– Map/directions to hockey rink

– Player profiles

 

Result:

I created a refined prototype and presentation to be proposed to local hockey rink representatives in hopes of a potential partnership.

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The Problem Statement

My first problem statement was that it is time-consuming and difficult for hockey captains to recruit a team and for hockey players to find a team to play with.

After assessing the responses of several user interviews, I saw this was not actually an issue. Hockey is a social sport and users were finding teams and players through word of mouth. What I did find was answers to peripheral questions about open hockey revealed some unique frustrations.

I revised my problem statement to read: It is frustrating for ice hockey players to show up to the hockey rink to play open hockey only to find there are not enough goalies or players to play a proper game. I recruited additional users for interviews, updated my interview script, and used affinity mapping to find patterns in frustrations, user goals and needs.

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Persona

Created and refined persona based on user interviews. Two personas emerged; a beginner and more experienced player. I chose to focus on the more experienced persona as this would likely be the larger percentage of users. Although Justine is more of a beginner, and new to open hockey some of her needs and goals do overlap wtih those of Eric. Additionally, once she has attended an open hockey session more regularly, her needs, goals and frustrations will be more aligned to Eric’s.

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Competitor Research

The overall takeaway from competitor research was that they offer more complex tools with stronger focus on community, team management and event creation than on RSVP and attendance. This application is differentiated because it focuses on more simple tasks around signing up for an event.

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Feature Prioritization and User Flows

One key to the success of this application is buy-in from hockey arenas. I prioritized features based on the alignment of business and user goals.

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Wireframes and User Flows

This sign up user flow was used in initial user testing.

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Revised Wireframes

Since knowing the number of goalies and players who might be playing is one of the most important pieces of information for the user I chose to highlight this information on the opening screen of the app. Users are motivated to return to see how many more participants have RSVPed as well as which of their friends are playing which they can view in this game screen.

As accessibility was an important motivator, users have easy access to a map view of the rinks on the landing page and a link to google maps from the individual game pages

I decided to incorporate a MAYBE response as an RSVP option as a way for skaters to communicate that there was a chance they might attend, this might encourage others to RSVP and motivate the MAYBE’s to become YES’s – potentially triggering a domino effect for signing up for a game.

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Save Game User Flow

Saving a future game was a way to tease who might be playing future games, and help with that domino effect (games are open for RSVP only 24 hours beforehand to ensure that open hockey does not become just another pre-registration league).

I tested a toggle notification as well as checkbox notification, both with countdowns for game signup, users did not pay any attention to countdown and users unanimously hoped notifications would be a step after the save game or in the onboarding process.

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Onboarding High Fidelity Mockups

A user could choose to sign up after being presented with the three initial onboarding screens or skip sign up and discover the app more fully. If the user wished to register for a game or save a game, the user would be required to sign up.

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