Star Surge is a core feature to Paradise Fortune Casino. A casual mobile casino and island builder game. The Star Surge mode functions as a coin fountain, completing a cycle of currency conversions in game that facilitates the core gameplay loop.
Day 1 and 2 player retention was below product's target during soft launch. I collaborated with UX research to perform a significant live study which led to far reaching design changes to Star Surge to help aid learnability to boost early player retention.
I was brought onto this project after it had already been in development for years. Despite this there was a lot of churn in work and the team was struggling to get it to release. I was the sole UX designer as we were going through a crunch to hit soft launch.
Because of the fast-paced nature of the development for this product, art and design never had a chance to stop and verify some of the design decisions being made. Star Surge as a feature was a constantly moving target that we weren't able to take a wholistic look at until the build was live. This proved to be problematic as we found out player retention was not hitting our goals.
Significant Live Study
Once we were able to access data from live players our product team noted that player retention for days 1 and 2 were below our target numbers. There were some theories about why this might be, but we needed more information about why this was happening. We wanted to address the highest drop at the earliest part of out retention funnel. Data analysis revealed that players were completing their first Star Surge but dropping out before performing another one.
I brought the information I had about this issue to our UX research team who were in the process of developing a significant live sample study with players.
Consumer insights performed player testing called a significant live sample study(SLS). One important finding from this work was that players were not understanding and using Star Surge in their play sessions.
Players cited often that they did not understand the feature and players that did understand how to use the feature often said they did not feel it was worth it.
There was other work happening simultaneously around the Star Surge feature that dealt with effects it had that carried over into other screens. In addition to this one of the observations from the testing was that players were skipping over adjusting their bet levels in Star Surge and they just didn't seem to understand how it worked. Because of that I decided to focus the scope of this work onto the main popup that occurs in the slot machine. My hypothesis was that if we focused on the heuristics of the main popup where the feature is activated we could increase the learnability of the feature and drive up user engagement with it.
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Challenges And Improvements
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