Project 3: Baltimore Ravens (service design)
Tools: Lean UX, Sketch, InVision
For our first group project in General Assembly UXDI14, we were assigned teammates and designated ourselves roles within a Lean UX framework. I volunteered to serve as project manager and had the pleasure of working with @SamanthaLanni for visual design and @ElliotSonnenblick as user experience research lead. We immediately sat down as a team to agree to a schedule that included stand-ups (lead by Elliot) every morning and, given that we only had limited in-person time together during workshop hours, we also agreed to an evening check-in as well.
Once we had a project plan, we turned to the client brief we’d chosen.
The [Baltimore Ravens’] M&T Bank Stadium is one of the most praised stadiums in professional football. The Ravens are looking to build on their fans stadium experience. They want to leverage their current mobile app to give game attendees tools to better discover everything the new stadium has to offer and to simplify the processes for purchasing concessions and merchandise both at the counter and from their seats.
We agreed to focus on a mobile game day app that would work best with the in-stadium Wi-Fi.
For the first day of pre-design sprint work, we independently researched the professional sports marketplace to better understand where the Baltimore Ravens and NFL fit. We pulled out some key pieces of information as a starting point:
- NFL is the most attended sport in the world
- Facebook is the #1 social media tool for fans, although the NFL leverages Twitter quite a bit
- 3/4 of fans have smartphones
- Women comprise 45% of audience and the NFL wants even more
- Ravens home games average 71,102 attendees which is more than there are seats in the stadium
- 2013 M&T Bank Stadium $35M upgrade that included widening the concourses, new and improved concessions, high speed Wi-Fi, and installing two 24’ x 100’ RavensVision high definition screens in either end zone.
Knowing that we wanted to improve an existing app, we also took a look at what other teams offered. Some of the features are already a part of the Ravens’ app, including live replay and stats, although some features require a Verizon login to participate. We were particularly impressed by how many teams use the VenueNext platform to provide concierge services to the entire stadium and thought there would be more opportunity to engage fans with social media and the gigantic RavensVision screens. But first we needed to know what the people wanted.
We independently constructed a list of questions to create a screener survey. Together, we compared what kind of questions we generated. Some of us had a more open-ended approach while others kept to a very clear multiple choice format. We agreed that we would limit the number of open-ended questions in our survey and save those for more in-depth user interviews. The final survey included a mix of basic demographic information to understand our user and specific questions about their live sports experience. To maximize responses, we posted the survey to Reddit and shared it in with our individual networks, including LinkedIn and Slack.
1. Please select your age
3. Are you a sports fan?
4. How often do you attend a live sporting event per year?
-1 to 3 games
-4 to 6 games
-I can’t even count! (every game, every week, every sport)
5. Who do you attend sporting events with?
6. What do you purchase at a live sporting event? Check all that apply.
7. How do you pay for your items at a live sporting event? Check all that apply.
-Mobile (Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, etc.)
8. Do you explore the stadium/visit areas outside of your ticketed zone?
9. What is your favorite thing about a stadium experience? (140 characters max)
10. What is your least favorite thing about a stadium experience? (140 characters max)
Results and Reflection
The survey garnered 37 responses before the client presentation, with an almost even split between the 18–29 and 30–44 age range. Occupation was a free field so answers ranged from “unemployed” to “computer janitor.” In retrospect, the demographic information wasn’t completely necessary as we would be able to complete user personas during interviews and it used up 2 of our 10 total questions.
We had originally designed the survey to opt-out people who self-selected as not sports fans, but were unable to build it out that way and failed to include a 0 option. However, given that there was no strict interpretation of what a “sports fan” is, it was useful to get less active attendees feedback as well. To that end, the survey showed that attending a live sports event is primarily a social activity with over 75% of responses noting they went with friends. In keeping with the social theme, food/drinks received almost 90% each of respondents’ purchases; merchandise came in at a distant 21%. Credit (89%) was the primary tool for purchases, although cash (38%) had a respectable presence as well.
Our last few questions were perhaps the most enlightening. Exploring the stadium came back at a 49/51% split between yes and no, and the free field responses broke down into a couple of trends. Best included the fans, the atmosphere/energy, the live action; worsts included crowds, wait times/lines, costs.
Once we had completed the initial screener survey, we selected interviewees to probe further. We went back to the open-ended survey questions to see what, if any, we would want to explore one on one with real potential users. Comparing this list to the responses from the survey and the client brief, we developed the following:
1. Describe the process when attending a live sports event.
2. Why do you go to a live sports event? [Explore likes/dislikes: atmosphere, social experience.]
3. How often do you leave your seat? Do you explore the stadium during the game? Why do or don’t you walk around?
4. Tell me about why and how you buy things at the stadium. What do you like or don’t like? [More info about what you do buy, why you buy what you buy.]
5. How do you get to the game? How do you get home?
Of course, as with all conversations, we encouraged further exploration if interviewees felt passionate about a particular topic.
Results and Personas
We had a broad range of user interviews, reflecting a diverse age group and mix of genders and ethnicities. While there was diversity in our interviews, their feedback was clear:
The Baltimore Ravens need to improve their current mobile app to give game attendees an in-stadium tool to better navigate the stadium and to simplify the process for making purchases both at the counter and from their seats. It is also important for users to know wait times throughout the stadium to avoid missing any of the live play.
The unambiguous feedback from a diverse response group allowed us to develop three personas to represent our users.
Taking what we’ve learned about sports fans, the live sporting event experience, and the existing app, we developed an improvement to the existing app that included three key features.
During a design studio exercise, we independently sketched out the features by hand and submitted the results to the design lead to combine into one cohesive idea. We reviewed the original prototype to make sure it contained our shared and individual feedback gained during the research week.
Borrowing the design sprint framework from Agile, we developed a prototype using Sketch and conducted a series of tests, including A/B testing for the icons and usability testing to confirm the functionality. We then iterated three times until arriving to an MVP to share with the client.
After a condensed series of daily design sprints, we were able to deliver a hi-fidelity clickable prototype to the client to showcase our three key features. We encourage you to check out our in-stadium mobile app and explore everything M&T Bank Stadium has to offer.