PFC First-Time User Experience 

Overview

Paradise Fortune Casino was facing challenges with early user retention during its soft launch, with a looming deadline for the worldwide launch. We urgently needed to address underperforming KPIs.

Utilizing insights from our Consumer Insights team, we focused on refining the First Time User Experience (FTUE) and a key gameplay feature, Star Surge. The improvements led to significant gains:

  • User retention increased by 100%

  • Average play session length grew by 20%

  • The number of spins per session doubled


My contributions

I served as the sole UX designer on this project, directly collaborating with leadership from various disciplines. My responsibilities included:

  • Developing UX strategies informed by consumer insights and UX research.

  • Creating design recommendations through heuristic analysis.

  • Suggesting features based on comparative studies.

  • Designing user flows and wireframes.

  • Providing ongoing UX support throughout the development process.

66.7% of users could

not explain how star

surge worked

80% of users could

not use star surge

effectively

83.3% of users did

not enjoy Star Surge

80% of users felt the

tutorial was disjointed

90% of users wanted

to spend more time

in slots

86.7% of users said

the tutorial was

too long

recommendations

Tutorial Progress Bar — To address the overwhelm new players experienced with the original tutorial, I suggested implementing a tutorial progress bar.

This would:

  • Provide a clear visual representation of progress, helping to set expectations and simplify the learning process.

  • Enhance user orientation and engagement, making the tutorial more structured and coherent.

  • Offer effective visual feedback through a segmented design that aligns with different tutorial phases.


Level-Linked Feature Introduction & Tutorial Shortening — In response to feedback about feature overload, I proposed a level-linked feature introduction system, similar to those in games like PFC.

This would:

  • Gradually unveil game features as players level up.

  • Significantly shorten the initial tutorial, reducing early player friction and boosting initial engagement.

  • Smooth the learning curve while maintaining excitement and anticipation throughout the gameplay.


Random Activation of Star Surge Feature — Recognizing the complexity of the Star Surge mechanic, we decided to activate it randomly during slot play.

This would:

  • Introduce an element of surprise and thrill.

  • Simplify the experience by removing manual activation complexities.

  • Allow players more freedom by eliminating the associated currency, which had forced engagement with unwanted features.

progess bar

I mapped out the FTUE and collaborated with Game Design to map the progress bar with the tutorial and the appropriate tasks.


  • I created a flexible design so it could have different tasks in the future.

  • I created a wireframe along with the user flow.

  • I provided UX guidance to the art and animation team as they implemented the finished feature. 

Level-linked features

Linking features to player level required a complete overhaul of the tutorial. 

 

I mapped out the current FTUE and made note of opportunities for improvement based on the feedback from our users.

Pinpointed areas for improvements players would appreciate.

Players expressed a preference for spending more time in slots. The original version of the tutorial put users in slot play briefly before moving through an animation sequence and forcing them to go through dialogue with the host character, Phoebe. 

Players expressed that they found the tutorial disjointed. Players were interrupted throughout the tutorial always being forced to jump back and forth between the slots and the island where story beats and additional mechanics were being introduced.

In addition to this, the tutorial had many forced interactions. These were used to teach players how core gameplay mechanics worked, but they were often introduced before the mechanic was being used. 

This applied primarily to Star Surge. The core game loop split elements of Star Surge across multiple screens which made it difficult to learn and increased the length and complexity of the tutorial. The way Star Surge was implemented made the entire game more complex and created a game loop that confused players and they simply didn't find fun.

Star Surge Loop

The original Star Surge loop had users needing to leave slot play in order to take part in tasks on the island.  This was a problem because:

It took players away from the gameplay they wanted to prioritize (slots).

The "build your own bonus" element of Star Surge created a lower return to players (RTP) in slot play.

Players did not enjoy the delayed gratification wanting bigger payouts sooner.

I collaborated with Game Design to simplify Star Surge. The mechanic would become a random bonus. This was better because:

 

  • It was something players were familiar with since random bonuses occur in many slot games.

  • It eliminated the need for users to navigate back and forth to the island if they didn't want to.

  • It made balancing gameplay easier

Updated tutorial

With a new plan for Star Surge and an understanding that we would introduce features when players leveled up, I created a new user flow for the tutorial. I focused on:

 

  • Putting players in slot play quickly.

  • Not forcing them to leave for the island or other features.

  • Providing visual feedback and tooltips in slot play

  • Linking features to the tutorial progress bar to give players incentive to keep playing. 

This is a high-level view of the full tutorial. I've included zoomed in examples of changes I made below.

Players were dropped immediately into the slot lobby, greeted by Phoebe, given coins, and instructed to tap on our most popular slot.

I linked the progress bar to the new benchmarks which were features tied to level. I also added tool tips and visual feedback explaining new features as they were unlocked. 

The island was also designed as an unlocked feature, following the principles of progressive disclosure. This approach was adopted to not only pace the tutorial effectively but also to deliver new information in relevant, manageable segments. An essential part of this strategy was designing in a way that minimized disruptions to slot play unless absolutely necessary. Thus, visiting the island became a tutorial requirement, but players could choose to do so at their convenience.

Like the island, Star Surge was also linked to leveling up. The user would trigger it upon hitting level 5. Once they finished the feature Phoebe appeared in the slot and explained that the feature could trigger in any slot.  

results

The team acted quickly to implement these design changes. Our KPI's increased significantly as a result: 

what next?

I was very confident in our direction. We had achieved significant improvements across our metrics. Although we were still not fully meeting our KPIs, the gap had considerably narrowed, and we also needed to adjust the game's economic balance.

From a UX perspective, conducting another round of player tests with the new build would be beneficial. I'd like to specifically reevaluate feature comprehension around Star Surge. Additionally, I want to assess user reactions to wins (RTP) and gather feedback on our events and missions systems.

Given our previous focus on Star Surge during testing, I believe further insights into other features could provide valuable information for adjustments, potentially boosting user engagement even more.

d1-d7 retention

lifted by over 100%

play session length

lifted by at least 20% across all days

spins per session

doubled

Problem Statement

During its soft launch, Paradise Fortune Casino struggled with early user retention. As the global launch deadline neared, it was evident that user engagement KPIs fell short of expectations. Immediate, strategic actions were taken to pinpoint and remedy these retention issues, with a focus on improving the First Time User Experience (FTUE) to boost overall satisfaction and meet KPIs for a successful worldwide debut.

Research and discovry

Based on consumer insights and previous player tests, it was evident that there was a lack of comprehension surrounding a significant core game loop feature, Star Surge. In addition to not understanding Star Surge. Users also thought the tutorial was long and that it didn't focus on the things that they cared about. 

product kpi’s

During its soft launch, Paradise Fortune Casino struggled with early user retention. As the global launch deadline neared, it was evident that user engagement KPIs fell short of expectations. Immediate, strategic actions were taken to pinpoint and remedy these retention issues, with a focus on improving the First Time User Experience (FTUE) to boost overall satisfaction and meet KPIs for a successful worldwide debut.

d1-d7 retention

play session length

spins per session

PFC First-Time User Experience 

My contributions

I served as the sole UX designer on this project, directly collaborating with leadership from various disciplines. My responsibilities included:

  • Developing UX strategies informed by consumer insights and UX research.

  • Creating design recommendations through heuristic analysis.

  • Suggesting features based on comparative studies.

  • Designing user flows and wireframes.

  • Providing ongoing UX support throughout the development process.

Overview

Paradise Fortune Casino was facing challenges with early user retention during its soft launch, with a looming deadline for the worldwide launch. We urgently needed to address underperforming KPIs.

Utilizing insights from our Consumer Insights team, we focused on refining the First Time User Experience (FTUE) and a key gameplay feature, Star Surge. The improvements led to significant gains:

  • User retention increased by 100%

  • Average play session length grew by 20%

  • The number of spins per session doubled


Problem Statement

During its soft launch, Paradise Fortune Casino struggled with early user retention. As the global launch deadline neared, it was evident that user engagement KPIs fell short of expectations. Immediate, strategic actions were taken to pinpoint and remedy these retention issues, with a focus on improving the First Time User Experience (FTUE) to boost overall satisfaction and meet KPIs for a successful worldwide debut.

product kpi’s

During its soft launch, Paradise Fortune Casino struggled with early user retention. As the global launch deadline neared, it was evident that user engagement KPIs fell short of expectations. Immediate, strategic actions were taken to pinpoint and remedy these retention issues, with a focus on improving the First Time User Experience (FTUE) to boost overall satisfaction and meet KPIs for a successful worldwide debut.

d1-d7 retention

play session length

spins per session

Research and discovry

Based on consumer insights and previous player tests, it was evident that there was a lack of comprehension surrounding a significant core game loop feature, Star Surge. In addition to not understanding Star Surge. Users also thought the tutorial was long and that it didn't focus on the things that they cared about. 

66.7% of users could

not explain how star

surge worked

80% of users could

not use star surge

effectively

83.3% of users did

not enjoy Star Surge

80% of users felt the

tutorial was disjointed

90% of users wanted

to spend more time

in slots

86.7% of users said

the tutorial was

too long

recommendations

Tutorial Progress Bar — To address the overwhelm new players experienced with the original tutorial, I suggested implementing a tutorial progress bar.

This would:

  • Provide a clear visual representation of progress, helping to set expectations and simplify the learning process.

  • Enhance user orientation and engagement, making the tutorial more structured and coherent.

  • Offer effective visual feedback through a segmented design that aligns with different tutorial phases.


Level-Linked Feature Introduction & Tutorial Shortening — In response to feedback about feature overload, I proposed a level-linked feature introduction system, similar to those in games like PFC.

This would:

  • Gradually unveil game features as players level up.

  • Significantly shorten the initial tutorial, reducing early player friction and boosting initial engagement.

  • Smooth the learning curve while maintaining excitement and anticipation throughout the gameplay.


Random Activation of Star Surge Feature — Recognizing the complexity of the Star Surge mechanic, we decided to activate it randomly during slot play.

This would:

  • Introduce an element of surprise and thrill.

  • Simplify the experience by removing manual activation complexities.

  • Allow players more freedom by eliminating the associated currency, which had forced engagement with unwanted features.

Level-linked features

Linking features to player level required a complete overhaul of the tutorial. 

 

I mapped out the current FTUE and made note of opportunities for improvement based on the feedback from our users.

Pinpointed areas for improvements players would appreciate.

Players expressed a preference for spending more time in slots. The original version of the tutorial put users in slot play briefly before moving through an animation sequence and forcing them to go through dialogue with the host character, Phoebe. 

Players expressed that they found the tutorial disjointed. Players were interrupted throughout the tutorial always being forced to jump back and forth between the slots and the island where story beats and additional mechanics were being introduced.

In addition to this, the tutorial had many forced interactions. These were used to teach players how core gameplay mechanics worked, but they were often introduced before the mechanic was being used. 

This applied primarily to Star Surge. The core game loop split elements of Star Surge across multiple screens which made it difficult to learn and increased the length and complexity of the tutorial. The way Star Surge was implemented made the entire game more complex and created a game loop that confused players and they simply didn't find fun.

Star Surge Loop

The original Star Surge loop had users needing to leave slot play in order to take part in tasks on the island.  This was a problem because:

It took players away from the gameplay they wanted to prioritize (slots).

The "build your own bonus" element of Star Surge created a lower return to players (RTP) in slot play.

Players did not enjoy the delayed gratification wanting bigger payouts sooner.

Updated tutorial

With a new plan for Star Surge and an understanding that we would introduce features when players leveled up, I created a new user flow for the tutorial. I focused on:

 

  • Putting players in slot play quickly.

  • Not forcing them to leave for the island or other features.

  • Providing visual feedback and tooltips in slot play

-Linking features to the tutorial progress bar to give players incentive to keep playing. 

This is a high-level view of the full tutorial. I've included zoomed in examples of changes I made below.

Players were dropped immediately into the slot lobby, greeted by Phoebe, given coins, and instructed to tap on our most popular slot.

I linked the progress bar to the new benchmarks which were features tied to level. I also added tool tips and visual feedback explaining new features as they were unlocked. 

The island was also designed as an unlocked feature, following the principles of progressive disclosure. This approach was adopted to not only pace the tutorial effectively but also to deliver new information in relevant, manageable segments. An essential part of this strategy was designing in a way that minimized disruptions to slot play unless absolutely necessary. Thus, visiting the island became a tutorial requirement, but players could choose to do so at their convenience.

Like the island, Star Surge was also linked to leveling up. The user would trigger it upon hitting level 5. Once they finished the feature Phoebe appeared in the slot and explained that the feature could trigger in any slot.  

results

The team acted quickly to implement these design changes. Our KPI's increased significantly as a result: 

d1-d7 retention

lifted by over 100%

play session length

lifted by at least 20% across all days

spins per session

doubled

what next?

I was very confident in our direction. We had achieved significant improvements across our metrics. Although we were still not fully meeting our KPIs, the gap had considerably narrowed, and we also needed to adjust the game's economic balance.

From a UX perspective, conducting another round of player tests with the new build would be beneficial. I'd like to specifically reevaluate feature comprehension around Star Surge. Additionally, I want to assess user reactions to wins (RTP) and gather feedback on our events and missions systems.

Given our previous focus on Star Surge during testing, I believe further insights into other features could provide valuable information for adjustments, potentially boosting user engagement even more.