Watch. Play. Stream. Repeat.
Loco, one of India's most popular interactive gaming platforms launched its mobile platform in 2018. With an easy-to-follow approach that offered attractive incentives, Loco spread like wildfire with users. The vision for the app further expanded when it was acquired by Pocket Aces, who hoped to transform it into a full-blown entertainment platform.
The game operated on a simple principle: you play, you earn. Majority of its users came from tier two cities, towns, and rural areas due to increasing smartphone and internet penetration. But the original app had been 'Designed by Dev’, was limited to three-screens, and wasn't positioned to fully support the diversification they intended to achieve.
To evolve Loco into an entertainment platform that catered to a wide array of needs and users, the team needed to redesign the in-app experience from scratch, and make it more delightful for the next million users to come.
- Understanding audience behaviour in-depth to solve known user pain points and predict focus areas of expansion
- Incorporating user feedback and exploring multiple avenues of engagement to refine the app
- Modifying the visual language and improving accessibility to evolve into an all-new, truly desi casual gaming platform
Understanding the audience behaviour in-depth to predict focus areas of expansion
When Loco was launched to the masses, it only featured a simple real-time quiz that could be played at scheduled intervals. The app gained users at breakneck speed, especially because of the cash prizes associated with the quizzes and the engaging hosts. But there was very little insight on if and how they interacted with the app otherwise.
To understand what the users sought from the game and predict possible focus areas of expansion subsequently, a design sprint was conducted. The team spoke to users aged 18-35, who had either used the game before or continued to use it.
This exercise brought to fore some very interesting user insights:
- Users played in groups with friends and family, making the app a great night-time activity to connect and enjoy together. However, the app had very limited social sharing capabilities.
- Even though members of the audience lost out and got eliminated mid-game if they answered a wrong question, they stuck around as viewers and watched through the whole live-quiz game show, which meant that there was scope to engage with the users beyond just the live quizzes.
- The game had cash prizes for the winners that were divided between everyone who answered the questions correctly, but majority of the users expressed that they were looking for other rewards beyond that too.
With all these insights in hand, the team set out to evolve the original app to suit the changing needs of the audience, while also ensuring that the app had a distinct identity and was visually captivating.
Solving for known user pain-points and introducing gamification for a layered app experience
The original app only featured three screens that all catered to the live quizzes. But after uncovering the above mentioned behavioural user insights from the sprint and deciding to evolve the app, the team created new prototypes that brought much more to the table.
Firstly, social sharing was enabled to allow the users to notify their friends, share questions answered as screenshot with others, and the results if they won. More games were added onto the platform, ensuring that even if users lost in the live quiz, they would have other avenues of interacting with the app.
Thereafter, the home page was made attractive and more content was added, along with the ability to play past quizzes and send reminders for upcoming live quizzes. Multiple pieces of trivia and current news and affairs were layered onto the page as an experiment to see if users responded to it.
Beyond the cash prizes, further emphasis was laid on introducing gamification throughout the app. Users could now earn coins as well within the platform by answering questions, and then use these coins across the games. This created a virtual economy, and allowed the users to earn more rewards even on small wins, and not be limited to cash only prizes. A few more features were brought in too to make the user profile richer, including profile stats and reward badges.
Incorporating user feedback and exploring multiple avenues of engagement to refine the app
With this foundation in place, the team then took the new prototypes to the users through another design sprint to understand and refine the concept further. Upon showing the prototypes to the users, it was observed that users liked engaging with their peers on the app, wanted to play various games, and also positively reacted to the idea of being able to earn coins on the platform along with real cash prizes. However, there were a few other crucial elements that needed to be addressed.
Firstly, navigation was difficult throughout the app, and there was no way for the users to get incentivised to earn more coins or cash, because the home page did not have any apparent markers. To tackle this, the current prize tally was added to the home screen so that users could clearly see their win amounts.
To further give clarity to users on how to earn coins an onboarding guide was created that ensured that users could engage with the app to its full potential.
Thereafter, small one-question trivia bites were added to make it easier to earn coins and get ahead in the game. Each of these questions clearly showed the users how many coins they could earn from answering that, and their current tally right on the same screen.
Additionally, an option was added to buy lifelines during quizzes from the coin balance, encouraging users to play more on the app. As a secondary form of motivation, the leaderboards were improved as well and now included streaks and achievements, and even a friends' section for easy comparison.
To boost interest otherwise, engagement modules such as ‘Hippo Gyaan’ and ‘Fun Facts' were added, that showed viral trivia that audience could answer at their convenience. Having multiple channels of engagement such as these proved to be very appealing for the users, and helped the team focus on what worked better for the audience.
Modifying the visual language of the app for a fun, approachable, and a 'truly desi' feel
Loco had come to be known for having a great game show experience, with a very entertaining mascot. But the app in itself lacked similar characteristics and treatment and therefore, it required the team to look at visual design from the same lens as they looked at the experience. For the new changes to still be captivating for the users, the team needed to figure out how to make the game much more immersive.
A visual design workshop was conducted with all the stakeholders to build the visual language and character of the platform. Questions around what mood the game created, what kind of emotions the team wanted to evoke in the players, and what personality did the game want to portray guided the visual interface decisions.
The team realised that above all, Loco had to come across as fun, approachable, and desi. The visual language was modified to reflect an Indian carnival with multiple shops, where users could play and get rewarded in each one, i.e. various games, alongside the central live quiz. The app featured bold patterns, large text and bright lettering with a defined visual UI that emulated the look, sound and feel of an Indian gaming arcade.
Improving accessibility and evolving into a brand-new casual gaming platform ready for the next million users
With a brand-new app in tow, the team set out on a final usability study journey with users from varied socio-economic backgrounds, aged between 18-26. The new iterations were tested on a static home screen, with a live quiz and card-sorting techniques to to understand if the visual design elicited the right emotions as was intended.
During the study, the team observed that the users enjoyed the game a lot more than before, especially thanks to the high contrast visuals and clear cue cards. The game was also made more accessible, through the introduction of several local Indian languages.
The Loco team adopted the sprint process in-house, and were able to create a fun game that no only gave abundant opportunity to the users to play and earn, but also allowed for further expansion to add more avenues in the future.