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Bachelor's thesis

My design partner and I worked six month together, writing our Bachelor’s thesis with Massive Entertainment, a Ubisoft studio.
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Our intention

design the digital distribution platform Uplay with a focus on social functions to increase user engagement.

Problem definition

Massive Entertainment had identified a need to increase their player engagement on their platform Uplay. 

 

Their players had described a perception that Uplay is only used to start and run games from Ubisoft. This even though there exists and have been features improvements for different usage. 

 

We will address this problem by designing social functionalities through the platform. We will also focus on creating a profile page for the individual players.

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Design process

We applied a design process that we customized based on the mission and the challenges we had. What impacted our design process the most was the limited time we had for this project. Even if the project lasted for a long time, it wasn't full-time. 

Define

We started by defining our goals and how we would structure our thesis. Some steps had to be done and included to meet the different and challenging criteria. To take time, in the beginning, was something that gave us a good foundation. 

 

We also planned meetings with Massive Entertainment and reached out to them ahead of time to get more information about Uplay. 

Research

Our research was based on both a literature study but also interviews. The interviews were with both users but also on employees of Massive Entertainment. The information we got helped us navigate and begin working. We also evaluated Uplay to find its strengths and weaknesses.

Ideate

Our interviews resulted in a rich set of information with many different motivations. Combined with the literature study, we had enough data to begin creating different personas. From that, we could make different scenarios that helped navigate us during

the project.

Design

Our design phase started with us doing individual sketches and these sketches then got further developed. During the design phase, we had both internal but also external critic reviews. After a bunch of iterations, we had our design foundation for our prototype. 

Prototype

We created a mixed-fidelity prototype where the flow was predetermined. This was so that when we tested our prototype the experience would be similar for all our users. It would also guarantee that everything we wanted to test was included and seen.

Validate

The validation consisted of users completing tasks but also got to talk about their experience. It was interesting to hear what users valued based on their motivations, goals, and past experiences.

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Learnings

During the six months that we worked on our Bachelor thesis, I learned a lot about myself as a designer. I also learned more about digital platforms and social functionalities. A key insight I got was to often reflect on my behavior as a designer and take time to think. I will take these insights with me for future design deliverables. 

Key takeaway

Our main focus was how you can create social engagement in a way that is not toxic. Our design solution succeeded in creating reflections about the user's own and other users' social behavior online while gaming. This is something we believe is important to keep working with. A more socially sustainable community in games is beneficial for everyone.