PlayStation Compass - App Feature

Platform: iOS & PlayStation 4/Pro Console

Tools: Photoshop, Sketch, Illustrator, InVision

Scope: 4 months

Role: UX & UI Designer

Overview: PlayStation Compass is an app feature based to work within the PlayStation Store for the mobile app, and the PlayStation 4 video game console. The purpose of the feature is to help the users discover and curate new games and enhance their gaming experience.

Problem

More than ever before, people are taking up video games as their go to entertainment of choice. One of the most dominant gaming platforms of choice currently is Sony PlayStation. There are a variety of genres to please all the various tastes for gamers.

With independent development and Triple A (AAA) production of video games, there’s so much to sort through. In this case my plan was to focus on the PlayStation Store. With the push of platform holders offering games digitally, consumers are having a hard time at discovering new games.

The search bar and drilling down through categories is not enough to find your next game to purchase and play. At the same time, game titles are getting lost, because there are so many games coming out on erratic release schedules.

Value Proposition

With the PlayStation Store, the objective is not to overhaul the existing store in its current state. I want to establish a sole area where the gamer can make the choices based on their gaming habits and preferences. Currently the PlayStation Store has a section called “Just For You”. Our proposition is to replace this area, and create a more custom controlled curation section to help gamers make a better choice and discover new games. That is my objective to offer with PlayStation Compass.

User Research

Based from the research and interview I conducted, people were familiar with the PlayStation Store. However the navigation and finding new games that matched their preference was not being fully met. 

The PlayStation Store currently aggregates past games played to make broad suggestions, and those results would be displayed on constant in the “Just For You” tab. It became apparent that with PlayStation Compass, if we can provide the user for more of a tailored questionnaire, and smart filter form it would give the user more control in a personal curation. From my user surveys and interviews, I came away with the following insights:

Personas

For the developing the personas, I wanted each one to experience PlayStation Compass on different platforms. With Rachel, she is a growing demographic within the game streaming culture. People you livestream their gameplay sessions on Twitch or YouTube. Her access to the PlayStation Store will be via the mobile app.

For Edward, he’s had to scale back on gaming online with his friends due to scheduling conflicts. There is also now the responsibility of planning his entertainment budget accordingly. Thinking about extending the life of his gaming purchases, by knowing what could be available ahead of time. His main interaction with the PlayStation Store would be sitting in front of his television using his PlayStation 4 game console.

Journey Map

This journey map will illustrate the current path that Rachel experiences using the existing PlayStation mobile app. You’ll notice that her path, hampered by pain points that gradually recover by opting for another search method.

User Flow

For the user flow, the focus was building out how to incorporate the module for My Compass, and the Questionnaire section. Earlier conception I thought of creating a separate mobile app for Compass from the existing PlayStation App. The PlayStation App already does this with functions like Messaging and Communities as their own mobile standalone. I felt it was strongly needed to be incorporated into the existing PlayStation Store on mobile and console.

User Interface Design

The logo for PlayStation Compass follows the idea of incorporating the “sacred symbols” into the design; square, cross, circle, and triangle. I wanted these symbols to basically mimic the placement of the current PlayStation controller, with a waypoint needle. The colors are the same as used in current PlayStation branding.

The newest addition was creating a set of icons to classify the game genres that were mentioned prominently in the user research. To reduce complications of adding existing large tabs to state what was on sale, versus Flash sale, versus PlayStation Plus I developed a flag icon to go over selected game tiles.

Wireframes

High Fidelity Screens

Usability Testing

From early user test results of the mobile app, the results have been positive with PlayStation centric users. The familiarity using the existing design aesthetics established with the core mobile app, Users appreciated a much less bombardment of search results.

With the console version of PlayStation Compass we had much more room in the layout to accommodate body text copy associated in the listing.

Prototype - Mobile App

Prototype - PlayStation 4 / HDTV

Takeaways

PlayStation Compass has a viable potential to be implemented with the current build of the PlayStation App and the current PlayStation 4 gaming console. As game development continues to flourish, there needs to be a more attuned method to discovery and curation for users. 

Analytics

While I did not have access to PlayStation’s proprietary data analytics, it’s safe to say that the incorporation of their data mining can power Compass to greater possibilities. 

Sources of Data

More data can be obtained from game save files on local storage and cloud servers, to help drive users to purchasing future game titles ahead of release.

Classifications

Future classification of games could also include development studios and not just publishers. As game developers explore new game types such as the battle royale phenomenon, possible additions to the gaming categories or sub categories could be required.

Artificial Intelligence

With the advancements to voice interface and machine learning, PlayStation could be well positioned to develop the next phase of a built in AI Assistant bundled into PlayStation Compass. With the next generation of PlayStation console in development, the access to more computing power to help curate a more tuned selection in the PlayStation Store.