As a user, I want to understand what a team competition is and why I am part of it. I want to understand what team I’m on, how my team is doing, and how I am doing. I want to be able to chat with my team and with the other racers. I want to feel engaged throughout the entire month.
I started with an office-wide playtest. I seeked out volunteers, eventually creating two separate groups. I wanted to test different UI on each team, so I had the groups working towards individual goals instead of against each other, and I used different naming conventions for the teams (Team Orange and Team Seven). I set up ‘race tracks’ for each team (if we had any extra board space, I would have used two separate white boards to keep the users from comparing, but alas!). For Team Orange, I set up a race track that would include laps. Each lap would take one fourth of the total goal, so there would be four laps total. Team Seven had one month long course. My hypothesis was that users with laps would feel more of a sense of accomplishment because their progress would carry more weight. I set up HipChat rooms for each team to mirror what would become the chat functionality. I chose the goals by multiplying the number of teammates by 28 (days) and by 8,500 (a challenging but achievable step goal per person per day).
Next to the race track, I set up a list of the teammates. Twice a day (once mid-day and once at the end of the day), I would update the board with the current stats. I also left up the progress from the day before because users (my co-workers!) went home at 5 and many of them ended their days with different progress than they left with. Once daily I wrote an update in each HipChat room letting the groups know how they are doing with respect to their goals, and congratulating those who finished their cards the day before.
When the competition was over, I sent out a survey to get user feedback. The survey was simple with only three questions (after asking what team the user was on): What did you like? What didn't you like? What would you change?
Now that I had a basic understanding of how the mechanics would work, and how people felt about the concept, I was ready to start mocking up the web version. We were building this specifically with one client in mind, so much of my design guidelines were delivered from high up and had little leeway. The competition UI had to be able to serve up to 10 teams with up to 500 people per team. In order to make implementation as quick and easy as possible, we decided that the team competition should reflect and use the same visual concept as our Derby feature. We would need a way for teammates to chat with each other and to the teams they are competing against, and an easy way for users to see how they are doing and how their teammates are doing. We would send progress emails to the users and administrator.
We had to decide how we would score the teams in a way that would be fair (so that, for example, if one team happened to be more athletic, the other teams still had a chance). We did this by basing the scores off of the binary measurement of step goal completion rather than the total number of steps. This works because Walkadoo serves users card goals that reflect their unique and historical walking activity. There were a couple of problems with this. One is that Walkadoo is built in a way that we don't expect any user to finish all of their step goals- the average is about 30% goal completions. So, if one team has a 40% completion rate, they are really doing great, but it doesn't sound like a very good number... in school that would be a failing score! The other issue is that using percentages in general tend to be less user-friendly than numbers. We moved on with this decision, however, because we needed to prioritize things in order to get the feature out in time.
A weekly email would be sent out to each of the users in the competition, and to the administrator who created and is in charge of the competition. I worked with our content designer to create customized messaging to our users depending on how many of their step goals they completed in order to optimize our ability to coach and help out.
Before rolling the Team Competition feature out to our clients, we tested it internally. I worked with our testers throughout the month-long experience to gather feedback and pinpoint areas in need of improvement.