Party Starter

A Fun Project for "Embrace Your Geekness Day"

Conan's sword piercing a d20

Happy “Embrace Your Geekness Day!”

To celebrate, Simple Thread decided we’d create something fun; a simple on-boarding flow for a tabletop roleplaying game app we have discussed. At Simple Thread several people play Dungeons & Dragons, in addition to other tabletop role playing games (TTRPGs). One of the major problems for players is simply finding a group. While there are fervent pockets of players, they can be isolated from each other, even with the advent of the internet.

We had our quest! And so we set forth to find the best way to solve this problem.

Research

Just like with every project at Simple Thread, our first focus was the people. We had to understand their needs when looking for a new game group. So we interviewed a few friends who play TTRPGs to determine where their pain points are and how best to lighten that process.

Define

Once we understood our users’ issues, we began to develop our user types. We determined that there would be two primary types that the app would need to serve, Individual Players, and Game Masters. We took all of the needs we heard in our interviews and started to build archetypes for those two categories of users.

Individual Player

Key Behaviors

  • Has experience playing TTRPGs, having played in a few campaigns before
  • Doesn’t like running a game
  • Hates having to search for a game that matches what they’re looking for in a new game
  • Doesn’t like trying to wrangle schedules to play

User Needs

  • Is looking for a new group with which to play
  • Would like finding a game to be easy
  • Wants to play with fun people
  • Wants to play game systems they know or are interested in
  • Would prefer to play a specific style of game (roleplay heavy vs. dungeon crawl)
  • Wants to play based on their availability

Game Master

Key Behaviors

  • Loves TTRPGs
  • Plays multiple games at the same time
  • Enjoys running campaigns for their players

User Needs

  • Trying to find players for which to run a game
  • Needs a way to have players brought to them instead of having to search themselves
  • Seeking players interested in their style of gameplay (roleplay heavy vs. dungeon crawl)
  • Wants to run a game system they know well and enjoy
  • Doesn’t want to deal with managing scheduling
  • Wants to be able to explain the basic concept of the campaign they want to run

The next step was categorizing and qualifying our new users to best match them to a game group that they would enjoy. Across a few brainstorming sessions we had generated a list of questions to best match them to the most suitable game.

Reducing friction is critical for new products so we kept questions to a minimum. We then mapped out how each of our user archetypes would move through the sign up flow.

User flow diagram for Party Starter app
(Click to Enlarge)

Prototype

This is where the fun truly begins!

With our user needs never far from reach, we sketched and then wireframed the process. How would users move from sign up to a matched group? We kept things simple so we could easily iterate until we had something we thought was an optimal foundation from which to work.

wireframes for the party starter app
(click to enlarge)

Delivery

Once we had that foundation, we built up a small library of styles that we could utilize in the design. The goal was to keep things simple to increase user engagement in order to guide them through the process quickly and painlessly.

Mockups of the party starter app
(click to enlarge)

How did we do? Did we embrace our inner geeks sufficiently? Would this app be helpful for any of you roleplay gamers out there?

Give us some feedback so that we can incorporate it in order to turn this into a real product!

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