Dell Derby Dash
Client: Dell OEM Consumer Devices
Request: The client had a specific desire for a game that could be used on the web and at trade shows in order educate potential customers about how Dell OEM could provide value for new and existing businesses.
Challenges: A relatively short timeline
Timeline: 3 months
Creative Strategy: The client already had a concept in mind of using a "racing" metaphor to differentiate its OEM services from existing white box and retail store options. With knowledge that a full racing game would be too challenging for many of the target audience, we explored everything from text-based concepts, turn-based concepts, and full twitch-based real time play. With input from the client, we finally settled on simplifying the mechanic into a single button timing-based experience with a 2D downhill soapbox race that could run on web and mobile devices. The meat of the messaging, however, was in the multiple ways the soapbox racer could be designed and built.
Experiential Design: As the design lead and UX specialist, I was charged with charting the user's flow through the game. Initial flow diagrams were created and shared with the client for their understanding and approval. This documentation was used by the design and development teams later to plan for errors and edge cases.
Prototypes/Wireframes: Based on the user flow diagrams, I created a set of sketches leading to higher fidelity wireframes to capture the preliminary interface layout. Prior to development occurring, we brought the client in to experience a paper prototype created based on the wireframes. We observed his actions as he tapped through the interactive prototype of the soapbox building system. Gameplay testing would occur at a later time.
QA/Testing: We ran through alpha, beta, and final release cycles with testing sessions at each stage in order to collect feedback and continue improving the game play. We had very few QA team members with experience with game design. Because of this, it was necessary to rely heavily on myself as well as the development team to participate in long testing sessions in order to find bugs and make fine adjustments to mechanics and balancing.
Our team had no access to analytics after the release of the game, but the client expressed their pleasure with the final result. Engagement during tradeshows, especially, had gone up as players returned to try and post better scores to the leaderboard. The main risks that I had brought up during the early design process of creating an experience focused on dynamic game play, however, did prove to be a challenge. The desired messaging tended to get lost by players, the result of increasing the "fun" factor for a more engaging experience. However, it did help with Dell OEM brand recognition and with bringing potential customers by the tradeshow booth.
Role: Design Lead
Agency: Somnio Solutions
- Art Direction
- User Experience
- Technical Documentation
- Game Design