The Codenames boardgame designed for online.
with a Project Manager
and Fullstack Developer
“How can we make the Codenames online experience more user friendly?”
Codenames is a popular boardgame. Due to the pandemic, boardgame cafes were not an option for those who wanted to play with their friends. Online alternatives began emerging up after a couple of months, but there were complaints on the user experience and confusing UI of the game board.
We wanted to apply UX practices to improve the online experience, while trying to maintain the boardgame experience as much as possible. Our goal was to produce an MVP, then iterate to improve.
- Market research
- The 'spymaster' tab is available to all the players. An individual may click on it accidentally, ruining the game
- The timer option is only available when creating the room and is easy to miss, making it hard to use
- Once a user becomes a spymaster, they can no longer become a player
- the game must be reset and all users must choose their roles again
- Not intuitive: first time users have to interact with the UI elements to learn the interface, even if they are aware of the rules of the game
- Create a userfriendly UI
- Break down the options to reduce cognitive load and make the user's goals for each step more concise
- Separate the spymaster and player gameboards and their user flows
- Switch teams and roles
- 'Game start' button available to spymasters
- prevents users from switching roles or teams and start the game
- Reset Game/New Game
- Track score
- Declare winner
- List of players and their roles
- Color contrast for accessibility
Nice to haves:
- Chat function
- Game log
- Keep track of each team's wins over multiple rounds (given that it is in the same room)
- Bigger text
WIREFRAMES of the gameboard
We are currently working on coding the MVP. The next steps will be to begin user testing, getting more feedback, and iterating on the process. We will also work to implement the 'Nice to have' features. Hopefully we will be able to get it to a point where the users don't need to be on a video call to play the game.
Balancing the requirements of the boardgame and user experience was an interesting part of this project. I enjoyed breaking down the steps, separating the flows, and simplifying the gameboard. In the beginning, I was worried about designing with strict requirements while also trying to simplify the development side of the project. Ironically, I found myself having more creativity within those restrictions and collaborating with others.