5 WOW’s we felt after user testing software with soccer fans

WARNING: This post might subconsciously inspire you to listen to your users and test your ideas.

The story below is about Foosio, an online game for soccer fans where you get points based on real players’ performance in real life, in real time. This has been one of my fave UX projects ever.

The game

Foosio was created by a bunch of funny and open-minded guys from Hungary. They asked us to redesign their game with more of what we might call “the UX approach”.

In Foosio’s game, the phrase “fantasy football” means that you get points based on the soccer players’ real performance.

  • We started by compiling user personas for them.
  • We sketched out the current user journey and simplified it.
  • We then designed a new mobile wireframe, first on paper, and then in an online version with interactions, using prototyping tool Axure.
  • We carried out user interviews with soccer fans, and we ran tests and iterated. We gave our testers an interactive prototype and watched them perform real tasks with it. We iterated test by test and always adjusted the prototype based on the latest results. By doing this, we were able to develop the design and the concept simultaneously.
  • We did interviews together with the tests, which helped to break the ice and get the testers thinking out loud. soccer fans love to speak about their favorite players, team, social events and anything connected to the game. We mainly invited soccer fans from England and Hungary, and also carried out some remote tests with German fans as they are the games’ main target group.

WOW #1 – Users inspire great value propositions

We spent a lot of time trying to create a shiny value proposition highlighting the unique values of the game. But it didn’t work. Users read it for the first time and repeated the important words, but it turned out that they had no clue what the game was about.

So, instead of thinking about a perfect and increasingly abstract value proposition, we just listened to the interviewees, and they gave us simple but more understandable variations for it. We simply asked them: “How would you recommend the game to your friends? ”…and it worked:

Foosio, your live soccer manager. You are the manager. Every matchday. Live.”

WOW #2 – Cultural differences between soccer fans

In Foosio’s game, the phrase “fantasy football” means that you get points based on the soccer players’ real performance. The expressions mean a lot to someone born in the UK, who has grown up playing fantasy football during boring school classes.

But, as we found out, it means nothing to a person from another part of the world. It even misleads them because they think that it has no connection with reality. So, after many tests with English and non-English fans, we concluded that we have to be careful with wording and be responsive to the user’s previous experience.

WOW #3 – Users want limits

The version of the game at the time, there was no budget or limit to building up your dream team. You have the freedom to pick whichever 11 soccer players from any team.

But the users asked for a limited budget to enhance their game experience. They thought that they could spend the budget more uniquely and smartly than other users.

WOW #4 – Users love to personalize things even if that does not affect their game results

In the game, you could set your team’s formation and check it on the field view, with the players lined up in a row. The position of place of your players are lined up in a row.

As you get points based on the real players real-time performance the position of your player on your game pitch does not influence your results. But we have a lot of videos showing that the users tried to move them and create their own formation, just for fun. And you know what…what the users want they should get.

WOW +1 – The users’ character influences their behaviour within the online game

You don’t even need user interviews, just go and watch soccer fans behaviour during and after a match. You will realize that they are very proud to promote their favourite teams to the world.

Group identity is important and they love to compete with other club’s fans. So we decided to:

  • build in a group chat and let the users celebrate with each other
  • invite competitors from other fan clubs
  • have a customizable profile, and show their favorites to others.

As a UX researcher I must say that I feel very lucky because to the Foosio guys that they were so enthusiastic and participated in all the tests, and watched the videos instead of doing other things. It was easy to draw conclusions together with them instead of spending time trying to convince them about something that was obvious to the users.