King Community redesign

The old King Forums – a.k.a. King Care – were in need for a new design in terms of form and function.

Although it wasn’t so long ago since it was rebuilt by an external company, the problems in terms of value and functionality were big for both players and moderators.


My role

The Community team had ownership of the old King Care platform. The redesign was my main project as I joined Player Support Tech to take care of the redesign.


Redesign Plan

  1. Gather needs & problems
  2. Research of platform ideas and information architecture
  3. Content structure & validation through testing
  4. Brand alignment validation and re-test
  5. Release! ?
  6. Adapt theme to mid-core game Legend of Solgard

1. Gather needs & Problems (short list)

  • Diverged traffic
    The v.1 of the forum was never taken down but it was still reachable from google. In addition, it had a popup trying to lead users to the newest version. This was no only confusing for users but also inefficient from an operational point of view with a duplicated forum.

  • Ineffective social features that didn’t show value to the players or a call to action

  • Navigation
    Confusing, getting 3 different types of navigation depending on the section of the platform.
    Besides, the main nav under the game banner, was more based on a practical approach for moderators than for helping players find what they looked for.

  • Tag cluttering and friction
    Posts could have tags that related to all games but would take a huge amount of space in regards to the content

2. Research on platform ideas and information architecture

There were many interesting features we found on all sorts of social platforms. 

The main ones that made it into the final platform were:

  • A leaderboard where you could see the all-time top authors but also the ones in the last week
  • A guide for beginners available in the posting areas at all time
  • Gamification through badges

3. Content structure & validation through testing

The Community team had been collecting ideas on how the Community could look like in terms of structure and brought some rough mockups.

They went through UX inputs and refined in wireframes trying to accommodate all new functionalities in 5 sections:

  • Home
  • Thread category
  • Thread list
  • Thread
  • Profile

The proposed functional structure of the site was split in 2:

  • 2 sections for self service support
  • 2 sections for open discussion about events, ideas and other topics.

Testing

Before moving forward, we run a test through PlaytestCloud with a variety of ages and gender to validate this structure

Test cases:

The test cases were 4 for every tester

  • Support side
    1. FAQ
      “You have lost all your progress in the game. Where would you go to find help?”
    2. Video tutorials
      “You are stuck in level 9 and you need help. Could you show us where would you go?”
  • Community side
    1. Discussion
      “Find information related to the especial Easter Event happening soon on Candy Crush.”
    2. Ideation
      “Let’s say that you have a great idea for the game around getting collectibles when beating a level. Where would you go to share it? Can you try to post it there?”

They went pretty well and we got some extra learnings when testing such as:

  • Fake content can accidentally mislead your users
  • The elder ones tended to answer questions verbally without interacting with the prototype, so you need to be very specific in the instructions for non moderated tests
  • Language matters, and what makes sense to you can be very different to others. The ‘Ideation’ word tested very poorly in readability with problems both in pronounciation and understanding. Ideas is way easier to say, shorter and conveys the same message!
  • In high fidelity prototypes, users tend to think this is a real product and they expect it to behave the same way. Due to lack of UI feedback when posting a topic lead to some usability issues.

4. Brand alignment validation and re-test

We sat down with the Brand team to align in terms of visual design.

At the time, the assigned brand color for a non-game environment was orange with a colorful combination of the rest of King colors.
Brand helped us to redefine the brand to this specific context, making it lighter and clear.
The orange was removed and a lighter design applied keeping colors to a minimum:

Testing

Besides testing the renewed design and changes from the previous feedback, we wanted to test what word performed better for a video tutorial section. We split the test in 2 groups: some using the “Video” and others using “Tutorials”.

We also presented several touch points for solving an issue, as a user might opt for looking at what others were saying while others directly go to the FAQs.

Once more the testers helped us a lot on closing the final designs, with very few refinements needed to be done.


5. Release

After design, we worked on its implementation with an external company. They were involved from the very beginning of the project so we wouldn’t ask for anything crazy, and they were very helpful in guiding us with the vision of the platform.

We succeded in having it up and running for King’s next big launch: Candy Crush Friends in October.
You can find it here!

The rest of the games followed a month later. Hurray!

In-game link in Candy Crush Friends

Candy Friends would be the first game linking the Forum inside the game EVER.

I made a couple proposals for linking the Community within the UI inside the game that the game studio very kindly accepted and implemented some weeks later and that you can still find today.

The proposal for the game’s landing
The live version

6. Mid-core theme design

After successfully migrating all games to the new King Community, we wanted to migrate the one from Legend of Solgard, one of King’s publishing games.

As part of the midcore genre it needed a new face.

I worked with the designers from the Brand team that proposed the color scheme and then applied it to the designs.


Conclusion

The complete redesign of an entire platform was a long and heavy project, covering many challenges.

I aimed to design something solving the the long reported needs and wants of both our players and the Community team.

It makes me extremely proud of the result: 22 King forums and thousands of players posting daily.

The King Community has opened a new door to collaboration between players and King like never before. Even internally, with different game studios now actively collaborating with the Community team in creating engaging content for millions of players around the world.