Call of Duty Spec Ops

Brief

Activision's Call of Duty Companion App team approached our classroom for Interaction Design and challenged students to consider how can Call of Duty companion app create social features that keep players engaged with the game and each other. After the concept phase, I teamed up with three other students to develop on the idea of onboarding.

Problem

Players, particularly new players, can have trouble navigating such a dynamic game like Call of Duty (CoD). This type of obstacle has shown to discourage players from continued gameplay and enjoyment. So, how might we give players a welcoming experience using the companion app and help introduce them to the many different aspects of the game, all while building a community around said experience?

Solution

Spec Ops, or Special Operations, are missions, with a set of objectives, for players to complete within a week in order to get achievement badges, in-game rewards, or XP. Players can complete these by themselves, but this feature encourages them to play with others, whether to get an XP multiplier or cooperative-dependent badges.

Client

Activision

My Main Role

Project Management, User Research, Facilitation, Information Architecture

Team

Aaron Guhin
Chase Nguyen
Marcelo Layera

Tools

Figma, Notion, Slack, Discord

Timeline

7 Weeks

Prototype

One of the final deliverables is the interactive prototype.

Presentation

The final presentation about the Spec Ops concept.

My main role: Project Management

My main role in this project was as a project manager, while also facilitating workshops. My tasks involved managing the team, scheduling meetings, creating agendas, assigning tasks, communicating with stakeholders, as well as recruitment of participants.

Tasklist

A casual task list on Notion was used to keep track of the responsibilities of the team members. It also helps the team aligned on the different tasks we need to do in order to complete internal deliverables and external deliverables (assignments).

Participant Recruitment

For the initial research part of this project, I wanted to experiment with a centralized recruitment process for usability testing. I know in previous projects and classes, each team did their own recruitment individually. However in this project, all teams need to do usability testing on their prototypes, but have different criteria for what type of participants they wanted. This makes wonder if I could create a recruitment system for participants for all the teams in my class. We cannot interview our own friends and family members due to biases, but we can pool our friends and family members together for other teams to test.

I created the following form to gather participants for my entire class.
In the end I was able to collect 96 participants,
and assigned two to five participants that matched each team's recruitment criteria to 18 teams.

Usability Test Scheduling

In the later stage of the project, where Activision provided testing participants form their own participant base, I scheduled interviewees using Calendly.com, and scheduled emails with clear instructions. We contacted six participants and four responded to us and were able to participate in testing our prototypes.

First Email
Subject: User Testing Session with Call of Duty Companion App

Hi ___ (name),

Thank you for signing up to participate in our user testing research project! I'm a student user researcher from Santa Monica College. I’m reaching out to you by recommendation from Activision’s recruitment team. I would like to schedule with you a 1-hour usability testing session on Zoom to test out our prototype for the Call of Duty companion app. The result of this testing session will help us with our course project in collaboration with Activision to improve the user experience of the app.

Please select a time that works best for you in this Calendly link: https://calendly.com/asdjfehfehhd (insert Calendly link)

Your help is greatly appreciated!
Second Email (after participant books a time) 
Subject: Instructions for Call of Duty Companion App User Testing 

Hi ___ (name),  

Thank you for signing up to do a 1-hour usability testing session for the Call of Duty companion app on  _______ (fill in time and date they selected). My colleague ____ (names of the researcher) will be meeting with you then through this Zoom link (Which you can also in our scheduled google Calendar event): https://us02web.zoom.us/j/xdsfasdfasdfas  (Insert Zoom Link)

To join the session, simply click the zoom link while on your desktop computer, and follow the prompts to join the meeting.  Before your session, please be sure to:   

1) Prepare a laptop or desktop computer to join the meeting, you will be asked to share your screen during the testing session.
2) Sign the consent form which I will be sending over shortly through Adobe SignPlease be on the lookout for an email from Adobe Sign. You will be consenting to us taking video recording during the testing session of you and your screen share. We will not share this video recording with anyone other than for internal use in the research. You have the option to consent to us using screenshots of our testing session for our portfolio during our testing session.  

Again, thank you so much for helping with this project!
 
Third Email (on the day of interview) 
Subject: Call of Duty User Testing Session Today (11/24) at 1:30 pm 

Hi ___ (name),  

Here is a reminder of the Call of Duty Companion App User Testing on _______ (fill in time and date they selected). My colleague ____ (names of the researcher) will be meeting with you then through this Zoom link (Which you can also in our scheduled google Calendar event): https://us02web.zoom.us/j/xdsfasdfasdfas  (Insert Zoom Link)
To join the session, simply click the zoom link while on your desktop computer, and follow the prompts to join the meeting. The meeting password is:  ___ (fill in password).  

Before your session, please be sure to:   
1) Prepare a laptop or desktop computer to join the meeting, you will be asked to share your screen during the testing session.
2) Sign the consent form which I will be sending over shortly through Adobe Sign. Please be on the lookout for an email from Adobe Sign. You will be consenting to us taking video recording during the testing session of you and your screen share. We will not share this video recording with anyone other than for internal use in the research. You have the option to consent to us using screenshots of our testing session for our portfolio during our testing session.  

Again, thank you so much for helping with this project!

Fourth Email (after interview) 
Subject: Thank you for participating in Call of Duty Companion App User Testing

Hi ___ (name),  

Thank you again for participating in our user testing for Call of Duty Companion App! Your input is greatly appreciated. If you have further feedback for us, feel free to let us know by replying to this email! 
Here is our contact information for future reference. 

Di Xu
example@gmail.com
Chase Nguyen
example@gmail.com
Have a great rest of the week! 

Design Process

My role in the design process is to facilitate workshops to allow my team to organize our research and insights so my involvement is mostly in the parts of the project before the final wireframes and hi fidelity prototype.

Scenarios

Creating scenarios helps us empathize with our users and think of their needs along their journey when interacting with the product. These scenarios are based on each of our previous research in an earlier phase of the project.  I facilitated the workshops where we created these by explaining reasoning for them, creating templates ahead of the meetings, and assigning tasks.

User Flows

The user flows help us understand the current way people interact with the product. They are based on the scenarios that the team generated.

Storyboards

We created storyboards for each of the user flows to further tell the story, and empathize with our persona.

Lo-Fi Prototyping

We chose to focus on the new user Victoria, and created prototypes to test a few flows.

We used this prototype to test whether the information architecture makes sense to the users, and collect into to help us prioritize features.

Testing

We used this prototype to test whether the information architecture makes sense to the users, and collect into to help us prioritize features. We were able to test with four participants to gather insights.

Four main insights emerged:

There was no onboarding to this experience, the users didn’t understand early what it is.

Adding players is most important feature. But the users didn’t see it early enough or it was not easy to access. They didn't know this option is coming.

Social management could be more involved. How do you connect people over achievement

Wireframes

After the testing, we agreed on the main pages to prototype in order to illustrate the concept, and present it. Marcelo and Chase collaborated with the rest of the team to create these wireframes for feedback from Activision, as well as creating the final hi-fi prototype.

Reflection

Shared experiences promote empathy
We were able to empathize with the players through playing the game ourselves, as well as conducting interviews and usability testing; allowing us to understand their problems on a personal level.
Proper research drives design
I wanted to hone my skills with communication and managing a project. This experience has helped me understand the role project management plays. It's a support role that helps everyone collaborate and use their time more efficiently. Clear organizational tactics had been deployed in order to effectively recruit participants and execute all project goals through remote collaboration.
Project management makes collaboration smoother
Through this process I learned that research is very important in informing design decisions. Using workshops to generate insights was quite helpful. It takes some effort and design in order to set up workshops for good results. I would like to work on this more in the future in order to facilitate teams.