An online spot to test experimental designs and learn from the community.

Programming • Ux • Visual Design


We were a 1 1/2 years into our commercial release and we realized people weren't using our product as much as we needed. Our relationship with partners and the benefits we offered relied on getting people through 10 - 30 hours of content. The problem was the training was boring and repetitive and a sizable number of people just didn't want to invest the amount of time required.


Around this time gamification was a popular topic and seemed like a good fit for our product. The structure of our product lent itself to a wide range of game play styles and a number of people using the product were already engaging in casual games. At the same time we need to be careful embedding our training into games didn't detract from our core value proposition. We were offering solutions in the areas of memory loss, ADHD, driving safety and social cognition and it was important that the medium of the tasks didn't compromise the value proposition we were offering.


Testing game mechanics can be tricky. The interactions tend to be subtle and complex and many of the elements rely on timing which are hard to capture through storyboards or wireframes. So we decided to create quick prototypes that detailed 10 - 15 minutes of gameplay. These prototypes were posted on a website and we invited people from our target audience to play the games over a period of a week or two. At the end of each exercise there was a quick survey people had to respond to.


We tracked time people spent in the games, how often they returned and general questions around the games effectiveness. Through this process of exploration we came to realized the type of gameplay greatly influenced whether or not a person felt like the task could deliver on it's promise. Card games, word games and strategy games tended to be perceived as being much more effective than games of chance.


I typically had about a week or two to conceptualize the game, create art, and code a version that users could test.  Here are some examples of different games.


Word Wanderer offers a fun and novel twist on the classic word game. In Word Wanderer, a user guides an animated character named Jack through the forest by building words from the tile tray on the magical board. The goal of the game is to earn points by placing a total of 50 letters on the board in the shortest amount of time. The game adapts the level of play based on a user’s previous turn; the better a player does the more letter tiles they must use and thus the game becomes more difficult.


Fruit Monkey is a classic match 3 game where users collected fruits from the jungle and use them to build a juice empire.


Tiki Golf is a miniature golf inspired game with a Tiki theme. Each golf ball you sink into the putting green fills up the belly of a tiki god who lives in the hole. When the god is full it spits the balls out across the putting green allowing other tiki gods to catch the balls. Different types of tiki god live in different holes. Some can divert the direction of the ball; others can swallow the ball or spit out multiple balls. The goal of the game is to get a ball to the flag with the least number of moves.


You are in charge of a science lab that has gone out of control.  Your last refuge is to direct a handful of mice to clean up the mess using a mind control ray-gun.  As you go from level to level you have to solve puzzles by directing the mice to move blocks around the board.  As the game progresses you are given access to more elaborate contraptions that allow you to open doors, catapult objects though the air and teleport your mice to new locations.


This game was a classic resource management game where a user has to follow complex instructions in order to build resources for their town.