DisC_3.jpg
 

OVERVIEW

How might we reconnect online communities from games, that for reasons of limitations or fragility are now inactive, unpopular or dead?

ROLE: Producer, Researcher, Visual Designer

DURATION: 2 months | March - May 2019

ADVISOR: Geoff Kaufman

TEAM: Adin Adler, Adela Kapuścińska, Olivia Lynn, Aaron Meyers, Elizabeth Wang

 
 
 

00 CONTRIBUTIONS

 

As Producer, I kept the project on track. I supported the team in realizing our vision, communicating with experts and client, and keeping our scope.

As Visual Designer, I helped devise the goals of our prototype and integrate our research findings. I collaborated on the UI Design, specifically, working on wireframing.

 

01 BACKGROUND

 

I’m fascinated by the transient nature of online gaming communities. While much research has been into the forging and benefits of such relationships, their loss is much less discussed. For that reason, my inquiry and this project focused on MMORPGs that are inactive, unpopular or dead. What would it be like to reconnect with those people and celebrate those experiences?

I wrote a short piece on this topic here: How do we grieve online gaming communities?

 

02 RESEARCH

 

USER RESEARCH

We reached out to the online gaming communities through social media with surveys to gain a better understanding of user wants and needs. We collected data on user stories and nostalgia around games.

DisC_U1
DisC_U2

EXISTING WORK

We looked into other social apps that were made to find people or gaming groups. Most of these apps focused on developing new friendships. These apps were targeted at people without a community of friends in their games and only targeted games with large player bases.

DisC_EW

LITERATURE REVIEW

Our literature review provided us with important insights for the purpose of the design process:

  • There is inherent value for the user in reviving dormant ties. Studies show that reconnecting with someone you lost contact with creates more novelty and value than engaging with an active friendship.

    Dormant Ties: The Value of Reconnecting (Levin, D. Z., Walter, J., & Murnighan, J. K. 2011.)
  • Personalized social messages are effective at reviving social ties.

  • It takes ~2.5 months to restore "quality of engagement" for over half of ties.

    Reviving Dormant Ties in an Online Social Network Experiment  (Lim, E. P., Correa, D., Lo, D., Finegold, M., & Zhu, F. 2013, June.) 
  • Reconnection = more common for midlife adults. Our target audience likely is not connected by social media, so it is unclear if this applies.

    We Haven’t Talked in 30 Years! Relationship Reconnection and Internet Use in Midlife (Quinn, K. 2013.)
  • Getting shown the rules of a community before a user is allowed to post/respond is important.

  • Layers of moderation are required to be effective in a community.

    Moderator engagement and community development in the age of algorithms (Seering, J., Wang, T., Yoon, J., & Kaufman, G. 2019.)
 

03 USER JOURNEY

 
Prepared by Elizabeth Wang.

Prepared by Elizabeth Wang.

 

04 WIREFRAMING

 
 

04 VISUAL SYSTEM

 
DisC_VisualSystem
 

05 FINAL PROTOTYPE

Final prototype can be accessed here: DisConnections

 
 

Pillar I: Reconnections

Maintain old friendships with players and develop new relationships with existing players. This is built into the structure of our design prototype: users become ReConnectors. Through social media integration (ex. Discord, Steam, Twitch, etc), these connections can be taken into the games they’re playing, or into new games whose community they joined.

Pillar II: Maintaining the Community

Users can start communities for games they loved. Community engagement is promoted through forum and chat box participation. Users gain positions within the community as supporters and pillars (moderators), becoming role models in the community they are passionate about.

Pillar III: Capturing game moments and stories

Through forum-based interactions, players can archive, share, and relive past game moments in games that can no longer be accessed. All of your connections can also live these moments with you and share their moments back.

Pillar IV: Users can define a holistic gamer identity

We developed a robust user profile that emphasizes personal achievements, values and games that the user considers important to them. Allow players in niche games to feel pride in the time they've spent playing the game and the experiences they have collected over the years.

 
 

FEATURES

1. ADVANCED SEARCH

 
 
 
 

2. COMMUNITY SET-UP & MAINTENANCE

 
 

3. CUSTOMIZATION & IDENTITY BUILDING