Pick Up Games Basketball

PUG Basketball is a mobile application that allows users to find and create basketball games near them. Users are able to join existing games or recruit players for their own games.

Basketball Graphic
 

What is Pick Up Games (PUG) Basketball?

PUG Basketball is a mobile application that allows users to find and create basketball games near them. Users are able to join existing games or recruit players for their own games.

Problem:  

PUG Basketball was an idea initially born from the problem of not having enough players in pick-up basketball games. When speaking to other players (Empathy Interviews) at public basketball courts, these main themes appeared many times.

  • I want to play basketball but I don’t know where to go to find games.

  • I don’t want to drive/bike to parks to find an empty court.

  • We have an odd number of players and could use another.

  • I only want to play half/full court games.

  • It would be “cool” if I could find games with a referee.


My Role:

I worked on this project as the sole designer and researcher. I am responsible for the entire project from conception to final deliverables. This project was born from a problem I face and plan to build this as an iOS app or to pair with a developer to have this built soon. 


The different phases of this project included:

  • Empathy interviews to see if this was a problem that others experienced.

  • Defining the problem and goals to have a reference point to potential users needs and problems.

  • Ideating and designing a concept by creating a solution to solve for player pain points.

  • Prototyping the concept by building something a player was able give feedback on.

  • Testing the prototype with target audience to see if the concept solved their pain points and needs.


Target Audience:

Target users for PUG Basketball are people that play basketball in public-access areas that have at least one basketball court. 


User Goals/Flows:

  • As a user I want to view and browse public basketball games around me.

  • As a user I want to create a public basketball game.

  • As a user I want to specify game conditions like court size and referee status when searching or creating a game.


Ideation and Design:

Keeping the user goals in mind I created my first draft wireframe drawing. I actually sketched this out on a notebook, as I find, this saves time.

 
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After checking the wireframe to my user goals, I created minimal greyscale mockups in Sketch. Using the prototyping tool in Sketch, I wired everything together for an interactive prototype. With this Sketch prototype I was able to conduct mixed methods user research. Sketch also made it possible to send live weblinks to my interactive prototype to share with even more users outside of the initial usability test.


Below you’ll find the Sketch wireframes and the two main paths used for the research phase.

 
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User Research:

Mixed methods research was performed to make sure all user goals were met and achievable. Mixed methods consisted of task-based usability tests, and user interviews to discover sentiments behind the design and what improvements could be made. 


Test Participants:

The five test participants recruited for this study met the bellow criteria:

  • Were willing and able to test a prototype application.

  • Plays basketball in public-access basketball courts.

  • Starts or joins games with other players.

  • Age restriction: None


Study Background:

Participants were asked to perform tasks and provide feedback on the Sketch prototype from my iPhone 13 Pro Max. Standing next to them I observed and took notes on a laptop computer. All sessions took place outdoors at two different parks with public-access basketball courts.


Test Guide:


Instruction 


Hi, ___________. My name is ___________, and I’m going to be walking you through this session today. 


Before we begin, I have some information for you, and I’m going to read it to make sure that I cover everything. You probably already have a good idea of why we asked you here, but let me go over it again briefly. We’re asking people to try using a mobile app that we’re working on so we can see whether it works as intended. The session should take about 15-20 minutes. 


The first thing I want to make clear right away is that we’re testing the app and not you. You can’t do anything wrong here and there are no right or wrong answers. As you use the app, I’m going to ask you as much as possible to try to think out loud by saying what you’re looking at, what you’re trying to do, and what you’re thinking. This will be a big help to us. Also, please don’t worry that you’re going to hurt our feelings. We’re doing this to improve it, so we need to hear your honest reactions. 


If you have any questions as we go along, just ask them. I may not be able to answer them right away, since we’re interested in how people do when they don’t have someone there to help.


But if you still have any questions when we’re done I’ll try to answer them then. And if you need to take a break at any point, just let me know. 


About the study:

Today we’ll be performing a few tasks related to finding and creating basketball games for you to play in. We’re going to imagine this is a fully flushed out application and that you would like to play basketball today.


Warmup:

Typically, how do you find basketball games to join?

Tell me about the last time you started a basketball game?

Typically, when playing basketball, what type of basketball are you playing? (ex. Full/half court)


Tasks:

Task 1: 

Let’s imagine you’re traveling and in your down time you’d like to play some basketball. Using this app, show me how you’d find a game nearby to join.

[ ] Completed Without Incident [ ]Completed With Minor Incident [ ] Completed With Major Incident [ ] Assistance Requested/Granted [ ] Failed/ Gave Up

  1. Tell me about that interaction.

  2. What, if anything, did you like about that interaction?

  3. What, if anything, did you dislike about that interaction?

  4. What, if anything, would you change about that interaction?


Task 2: 

Let’s imagine you’re back home from your traveling and want to create a game on your favorite court. Show me how you’d create a nearby basketball game, specifically a half-court game with no referee. 

[ ] Completed Without Incident [ ]Completed With Minor Incident [ ] Completed With Major Incident [ ] Assistance Requested/Granted [ ] Failed/ Gave Up

  1. Tell me about that interaction.

  2. What, if anything, did you like about that interaction?

  3. What, if anything, did you dislike about that interaction?

  4. What, if anything, would you change about that interaction?


Follow up: 

What, if anything, would you like me to keep in mind as I continue to design this?

What, if any, Ideas do you have on how to make this app better?

If you were the designer, what if any, changes would you make?

What, if any, one thing do you want left as is?

What, if any, one thing do you think MUST be changed?

Do you feel this design was made for you? Why or why not?


Summary of Findings:

  • All participants (5) were able to complete both tasks without incidents, however participants still felt there was room for improvement and provided suggestions on how to do so.


  • After joining a game, participants saw “View Game” from the ‘Nearby Games’ page. A couple participants thought this could say “View Joined Game” instead to help reduce any confusion.


  • Participants also noticed there was no ability to cancel a game, one they created or joined.


Recommendations:

  • Change “View Game” to “View Joined Game” when joining a game, this helps with understanding and immediate recognition for what’s possible. 


  • Add the ability to cancel a game that the user has created or to leave a game the user has joined.


Iteration:

After observing and hearing the participants use the prototype app I went back into sketch and added UI elements to make it look more appealing. Recommendations from the participants and task/interview analysis made it into the most recent iteration of the design. 

 
 

What’s next?:

I’d like to next explore how players might interact with one another through the app. In the flow for joining a game, the final call to action (CTA) is to “Ask to Join”. In the next iteration of this design I will research how to handle requests and research if there is a way to group players with similar skills together.