COGS187A: Week 4-Personas and Storyboards

Author: Jacob Browne

Team Members: Wesley Chan, Chris Korkos, Pargat Singh, Kathy Vo

(Let it be known, Kathy was under the weather this week. She was there physically and mentally on Thursday; there in mental projection on Tuesday and Wednesday. We are very pleased with here recent return and timely recovery; and we wish her all the best).

Here is the story.

Come Tuesday, we were presented with a lecture in usability heuristics (by the best professor on campus, Professor Mary Boyle). This presentation was chock-full of nuggets; these nuggets are the precursor to the BBQ or ranch dip that is implementation. Often hailed as the “Ten Commandments” of designing interfaces (and I think, are worthy of being noted here), they read as followed;

  1. Visibility of the System State; keeping the user informed on what is going on behind the scenes of the screen (i.e. a light on the keyboard which signifies the CAPS LOCK is on).
  2. System and Reality Parallel; keeping established conventions in line (i.e. right hand favoritism).
  3. Control; the user must be in control.
  4. Consistency; touch screens and discrete positioning of certain objects.
  5. Error Prevention; i.e. did you mean to delete your week’s work on your thesis paper without saving any of it?
  6. Recognition over recall;
  7. Flexibility and efficiency ;
  8. Minimalism; less is more.
  9. Error Recovery; I always want to go back.
  10. Help and Documentation;

This led us to wondering, thinking, what are some….

Guiding Questions for the Wack Panther:

How do we best design for our people? What information is vital to the user, what information is frivolous? How should we sculpt out the possible interface schematics? What do we want our users to know about other users? What do they want to know about other users? How will the messaging scheme work? What questions should we be asking?

Consolidation of User Identities;

We consolidated all of our user personas and storyboards, considering all forms of video game users. There is nothing more fun than roleplaying as your users (which is essentially what we did). We considered all walks of life; from the 70 year old “Nintendo 64 changed my life” male to the underrepresented 23 year old female user, who just wants to play League of Legends without being cursed at for being female. Here are some of the gems;

A 35 year old MLG gamer; lonely, but not for long!
An elderly man who seeks someone his age to raid with
Jane, a young woman who seeks friendlier companions

Feeling Sketchy;

We began to conceive our wire-frames(interface, home screen, relevant buttons, links, etc.). Keeping in line with the “Ten Commandments”, we delved into the necessary functions of our app. Here are some worthy instant replays;

Kathy and Wesley in-action
Thought Representations in totality

This was an exceptionally enjoyable process. When deliberating what the app needs, it is vital to balance usability with what the user needs and the most aesthetically pleasing screen.

Pertinent questions for each screen raised a cataclysm of intense thought; why do we need a login screen, what are some of the best login screens in town, how do we get from one screen to another effectively, etc. Concerning login screens, birthday or holiday themed login screens on an app you use frequently is always pleasurable to the user (i.e. Google’s representation of the word “Google” based upon what day it is).

In augmentation, error reduction should be taken into account as well; should it read email address or login name? We employed ideas from many successful apps, ranging from OkCupid to BofA. For instance, button layout should be more horizontal than vertical, as it is easier to accidentally click a cluster of vertical buttons than horizontal ones (as seen in OkCupid “Love Compatibility”). Given the success of these apps, it is important to note what makes it successful in terms of design and why people choose to use it over other apps. Most importantly, why do these design choices benefit our app?

The future holds further development of…


We hope to hone in on what functions the user needs as we develop more sophisticated, more profound wire-frames.

See you next week.