UX Design at Blizzard Entertainment

Enhancing the experiences for Battle.net products for accessibility, product adoption and internal team efficiency.

About Battle.Net

Blizzard Battle.net is an Internet-based online gaming, social networking, digital distribution, and digital rights management platform developed by Blizzard Entertainment. For over 400 million gamers on Blizzard, this platform helps them to manage their gaming accounts, provides them with customization features such as installation and automatic updating of games, and community features such as friends lists and groups, cloud storage, and in-game voice and chat functionality.

Internship Snapshot

For the summer of 2020, I was seeking unique opportunities where I could learn and grow as a UX designer and make an impact towards a vast majority of users. As a fan of gaming and entertainment, I felt Blizzard could give me the exact opportunity I needed to fulfil my goals and fortunately got offered a UX design internship position. Throughout the virtual internship I was lucky enough to work on multiple challenging projects and collaborate with multiple teams. Find highlights of my work below.

Role and Responsibilities

UX Design Intern
  • Did a comprehensive accessibility analysis and redesign of the Battle.net app features such as settings and voice chat following the CVAA and WCAG guidelines
  • Conducted an end-to-end design sprint to ideate on the avatar selection feature on battle.net
  • Ideated on a platform tool that manages profanity and foul language use in the gaming community for developers and region language managers

Duration

3 months (June '20 - August '20)

Team

Battle.net apps product design team

Mentor
: Kevin Yeung
Product Manager: Cynthia Northrop

Tools

Figma, Confluence

01. MAKING BATTLE.NET ACCESSIBLE

As a part of the Battle.net apps team, I worked on assessing and improving the accessibility of Battle.net app features such as voice chat and app settings.

Deliverables

  • AA level compliance for the entire Battle.net app
  • Complete Keyboard accessibility
  • Visual Accessibility and color contrast

Process

Final Designs

Unfortunately the final designs are under a Non Disclosure Agreement. Here are some snapshots of the current design and an example of accessible wireframes with keyboard navigation order.

Takeaways

  • Designing for accessibility requires not only a complete understanding of the features, but also considerations in reducing the development time and offloading development work. 
  • User behaviour could be disparate, with each disabled gamer with different needs, mental models and keyboard navigation habits.
  • User testing is imperative for accessibility.

02. DESIGNING A PROFANITY MANAGEMENT TOOL

Badnames is a tool used by game teams to manage profane and foul language in the gaming community. The tool is a continually growing repository of blocked keywords managed by legal teams from all around the world in different game regions. The tool is used by game developers as a database to curb profanity based on their needs.

Problem

The platform teams at Blizzard established Badnames a few years ago for teams across different blizzard games to use and implement the tool. However, according to Badnames team, the tool is currently inefficient for data managers and developers, because of which it is not being used to its full potential. Following are some of the problems that the tool is suffering from.
  • Reduced efficiency for data managers to input the data as the current tool does not allow multi additions,
  • High technical entry barrier for new data managers, since the tool uses complex query features such as REGEX.
  • Lack of clarity of keyword tags since the languages are context depended and some keywords might fall under multiple levels of profanity.
  • Unstructured documentation for game developers to implement the tool using APIs.
  • Lack of bug reporting and tool support and quick query features.

tl;dr

What are the factors contributing to the lack of usability and inefficiency of Badnames?

User Research Overview

In order to understand the users, their needs and pain points, I, with my mentor conducted contextual inquiries and semi structured interviews with the stakeholders and users. This helped us identify what are the key features in the Badnames that we should eventually target.
Who?
Who are the primary and secondary
users of Badnames.
How?
How do these users use the
tool. What are their primary needs?
What?
What are the  most pressing
pain points of using Badnames?

Users

Through our analysis, we identified two target user groups. The interviews helped us identify the pain points and focus on their respective needs.

Solution and Impact

Using the results from our data analysis, I sketched and ideated solutions with my team to improve the experience of Badnames for both the users. The ideation led us to defining key MVP features following an agile process to upgrade the tool's experience.

Unfortunately the designs are under a Non Disclosure Agreement. Please feel free to drop me an email and I would be happy to share more.

Reflections

  • Designing for two user group required streamlining different data flows and prioritising the needs with the tool's functionality
  • Using the agile UX process, we were able to devise both immediate fixes and long term solutions for the tool.
  • Communicating complex technical functionality such as Regex required in-depth understanding of software development systems, something that I was lucky to have my background in as.
  • Localisation introduces another set of problems for adding keywords because every language has different connotations. To design a generic tool, we had to make sure that feature flexibility stays intact for scalability.

03. AVATAR REDESIGN

Blizzard Battle.net avatar selection helps gamers select a virtual avatar — a visual representation of themselves in the game world. The natural assumption is that players are motivated to create an avatar that represents some aspect of their personality or their affinity towards a specific game.

Problem

Even though the avatar selection provides a myriad of avatars to choose from, on an average only 27% of new gamers select an avatar. Furthermore, only 40% of these players ever update their avatars.
Current Avatar Selection at Battle.net

Process

After understanding the problem at hand, a team comprising of two other interns and I conducted a three week design sprint to ideate on solutions to increase the product engagement for Battle.net avatars.

Research Overview

Through our one week user research, I identified multiple gaps, and pain points of using the Avatar feature. The quantitative data helped us understand the trends and patterns of the feature usage and surveys and interviews helped us identify the user needs and painpoints.  Finally, we concluded our research with competetive analysis and benchmarking to discover how other platforms deal with the problems. Some of the major insights that targeted our ideation are as follows:
Choice Overload
Low feature detection
Personality reflection in Avatars
Avatar character awareness

Solution and Impact

Using the results from our data analysis, I sketched and ideated solutions with my team and redesigned the avatar selection.
Based on our research and analysis, we predicted a jump of usage from 27% to atleast 40%.

Unfortunately the designs are under a Non Disclosure Agreement. Please feel free to drop me an email and I would be happy to share more.

Reflections

This was my first time designing such a widely used feature for a large enterprise. I was extremely glad to have learned a lot about working alongside my fellow interns throughout the design process and learning from my mentors and experts in the gaming industry.