Nintendo Switch – Case Study

Date: 4 March 2018
Services: UX/UI Design
Project Type: Personal

Introduction

Playing video games is always a new experience whether it’s good or bad especially when a new game console released with a new way to play. I wanted to start my first UX Design project with the Nintendo Switch navigation and categories included.

This new challenge was the begging of my trip in the UX world with methodologies to apply in an entire project like personas, user flows, surveys, flowchart, userflow, prototyping, sketching…

The product / Process

In that case where you don’t know the Nintendo Switch, it’s the last Nintendo’s hybride game console released the 3th March 2017. That game console focused on the way to play everywhere thanks to its portability to “switch” between TV mode to Tablet mode with controllers which can be attached and detached from a support or the Switch itself. It’s purpose as a new type of game console and Nintendo’s motto, is to create a new experience of gaming and something we haven’t seen before.  

Target Market

Thanks to Nintendo’s reports, we have a better idea about the different user across the wold and the way they use the console.

Users who installed the Nintendo Switch on their home and linked their accounts to the Nintendo Account in the U.S. are 18 or older and the most part gather the 19-34 years people. Regular users will be looking for playing and as quickly as possible to the game they wanted to play and know how many of their friends are online to play with.

img_usage_by_user
Trends Nintendo

About the Nintendo Switch gameplay trends based on registered Nintendo Account from users playing on the 3 different mode :

  1. TV Mode : where the Nintendo Switch is placed on the dock,
  2. Handled Mode : where the Nintendo Switch is undocked to play like a tablet,
  3. Tabletop Mode : where you flip the stand to share the screen for multiplayer gaming session.

The graphs overhead show the different play modes and we can clearly see that users are more playing in both styles.

The challenge

After a lot of hours using the Nintendo Switch (not only for playing), I noticed a few UX problems that can be resolved. That’s why I choose it to start my first UX case study and start my trip to know if someone else shares my problems and improvements to the game console.

My design process

I used my Design Thinking process in an iterative approach in order to : redefine problems, better understand users, the conditions of their use, how they think, behave, feel and empathise :

Design Thinking Process

In the Understand phase :

  • Empathise : helps me to more define problems,
  • Define : helps me to focus on the core problems defined before.

In the Explore phase :

  • Ideate : helps me to found new solutions to the problems,
  • Prototype : helps me to investigate the problem solutions generated previously.

In the Materialise phase :

  • Test & Validation : helps me to know if solutions matched with user needs.

Understand

Empathise

01. Market Research

My market research was based on the PS4, Xbox One and Xbox One X. It reveals that all of them contains several categories for games, a store with apps and games, achievements, multimedia features, theme background and a menu at the top.

02. Persona

I created provisional persona of potentials Nintendo Switch user based on online research, Nintendo data and my understanding of people who knew that used the game console. Those two different personas helped me to guide my decisions and priorities :

Jim : Almost 30 and daddy of two daughter, he loves his family and video games. He would like to list his games and knows when the battery will down because of hours of playing.

Lola : Doing a BA/BSc, she’s very social and creative. She begins to be interested of the video game industry and play sometimes with friends.

03. User Stories

I used user stories in order to deal with multiple context in which a player would use the Nintendo Switch and to understand their needs, motivations and desired outcome.

I created the following user stories based on the previous personas :

#1 

User : As a player, I want to create game folders, so that I can organize my games by category.

#2 

User : As a player, I want to navigate more easily on the eShop and have opinions, so that I don’t have to go on the internet to know if the game I want is good or not.

*= persona, **= action, ***= outcome

Define

04. User Flow

My user flow show the different routes and helped me to determine “red routes” and build out the design.

05. Red Routes

The red routes helps me to focus on what matter for users. It will describe at the best my persona’s key tasks when they are using the Nintendo Switch.

06. Pain Points

The red routes helps me to focus on what matter for users. It will describe at the best my persona’s key tasks when they are using the Nintendo Switch.

Thanks to the personas, user stories and red routes, I choose to focus on 4 pain points that are important for users :

  • Obligated to pass by “Controllers” to know joy-cons battery state

When you are on the main screen using your gamepad or grip controller, the only way to see the battery level is to go in the “Controllers” page unless you play in “portable-mode”. So you have two options :

  1. Waiting the notification about the “low battery” on one of your joy-con or gamepad controller ;
  2. Press “Home” if you are playing → Go to “Controllers” and check the state (Of course some games display battery level but not all of them).
  • Difficulty to navigate in the eShop page

Even if the interface is simple and friendly, the most important is the facility to navigate and control in an game user interface. Not only Lola but with some research, I found that a lot of people was worried and have some problem about it.

  • Lake of informations on the Home screen interface

Nintendo prioritize his main screen by “Games” the rest is a “Non-game navigation” and “System information and control assistance“ as Charly Deets said so well in his article about the “Nintendo Switch User Interface”.

  • Info is not precise on the “News” page

It’s clear that at the moment, Nintendo updated a new way to increase the information for their articles by adding an icon with the channel associated to the article displayed. But unfortunately, my case study was before this release… So I’ll make it with the ancient design.

Explore

Ideate

07. Low-Fi Wireframe

I drew out the main screens relevant to Jim and Lola in order to achieve their goals thanks to scenarios and needs :

And then I create all of them in Low-Fi :

08. Suggested Solutions

I found some solutions to resolve pain points and improve user experience :

  • Display battery level at the home page with state colors
  • Add the possibility to launch a game or a future app on the screen saver
  • Add in the “Multimedia” section “Apps” besides the Gallery feature
  • Add the feature to create folders in order to organize games
  • Organize the navigation menu by category
  • Informations about your games and friends connected
  • Add category for articles
  • Add the possibility to check “My Nintendo” account
  • Add rating information for games in the “eShop”
  • Add the possibility to list games by “category”
  • Redesign the entire eShop interface

Prototype

09. Hi-Fi Mockups

After sketching, found the pain points and potential solutions, it was the time to make it more real with some Hi-Fi Mockups using Sketch to design it :

You can have a glance between the last UI from the Switch (Nowadays it’s a little bit different) and my concept :

10. Prototyping

A tried to use Invision at the first time but the resolution wasn’t good enough to appreciate the entire prototype and test it in the good way :

Prototype - MarvelApp

Materialise

Ideate

11. Test & Validation

After some feedbacks and interviews, I had a better idea about the different users, different environments of play and different tasks on the console. I could only measure the « Satisfaction » instead of « Effectiveness » and « Efficiency » for the Usability : 

  • The ratio of + to – adjectives used to describe the product was: “really good work”, “intuitive”, “messy”, “cluttered”, “almost perfect”, “not fan”, « amazing ».
  • 73 % of users would love to have these features and user interface.

Outcome

  • Learning

Applying the Design Thinking increased my knowledge of this method and allow me to better know how to work in an iterative process. I really pay attention to improve the user experience and resolve pain points as much as possible by my research, tests and interviews. I also learned how to better use Sketch and his features.

  • Surprising insights from user research

Feedbacks from people on the internet was very important besides of interviews. A lot of different views, way to use, feelings, personal thinking about my concept and the current one. Answers was mixed between people who loved my concept even sometimes a few things was « messy, cluttered or not valuable enough » and others who weren’t fan at all. Surprisingly most people have played the game of providing constructive answers by sometimes stating the elements by points.

  • Challenges
Doing this entire project by myself was pretty exciting and interesting . I worried about feedbacks after my entire work but it was a good experience to know if I was able to do it from A to Z. I wanted to keep as possible Nintendo’s vision and UI.
The beauty about the UX community it’s they are passionate about what they do, ready to help, give and share insights, like one of my feedback who gave me a real estate of my concept, skills, point of view and insights.

 

  • Favorite design process

Sketching and make it real with colors, icons, pictures and so on ! Really fun to draw, erase and iterate once you think you have found something good. I used some tips and tricks from David Travis with his course on Udemy.

  • Surprising insights from user research

Feedbacks from people on the internet was very important besides of interviews. A lot of different views, way to use, feelings, personal thinking about my concept and the current one. Answers was mixed between people who loved my concept even sometimes a few things was « messy, cluttered or not valuable enough » and others who weren’t fan at all. Surprisingly most people have played the game of providing constructive answers by sometimes stating the elements by points.

  • Any last call to actions ?
The date can be add in the main screen and the game folder in a separate area from games with a button labeled folders.
Then I can mention at least two sections who needs improvement :
  1. Homepage : reduce the news boxes and replace the number of four by two and have more suggestions in the other « Latest categories ».
  2. eShop : add a button to search games directly, better manage whish lists and see on the home page games by category.

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