From social network to future of the gaming industry, does Houseparty provide?
Austin lee and Mackenzie
Houseparty is putting their foot in the door of the gaming and streaming industry, hoping to be a competitor in the near future, how they might go about that is still up for debate.
First things first, we decided to conduct some interviews and see what people thought of Houseparty.
We gathered 5 users to interview and hear their perspectives on Houseparty and the types of streaming and comms services they use while gaming.
Here are some insights my team and I learned through these interviews.
Icons only work if users are familiar with them. Houseparty greets you with a camera in your face and 10 icons with a wide range of interpretations from our interviewers.
“Flavor of the month” is what the app was described as. From the games not being as fleshed out and how trendy the interface felt, users didn't see themselves using Houseparty Longer than a couple weeks.
In regards to the recent partnership with Epic Games, users said there was a reason they prefer voice chat. When users are in the an intense game being chased down by other players, there isn't much to distract that user, not even their friends videos on the side of the screen.
Lets take a look at other competitors from both video communication sites and streaming platforms.
Houseparty is in the middle when it comes to comparators and competitors with features. A look into its competitors like Bunch gave us some good insights into what we can incorporate into the Houseparty interface.
What I Learned
Users are not being listened to.
Features and updates are added that were not asked for. Users did not like the idea of FPS games such as Fortnite having video communication compatibility, especially when competitors such as Discord have dominated the field.
So what now?
Who Are We Designing For?
To understand the user even more, narrowing down who we design for is the next step. We decided to create a persona, Gamer Greg, you can meet him here.
Greg needs a quick and simple way to have fun playing games while being with his friends remotely because he misses the ability to play these games in person.
How might we incorporate Epic Games’ goals into the Houseparty app experience in a way that still makes sense to a user?
How might we provide Greg a simple solution to socialize virtually so that Greg gets as close to the in-person party gaming experience as possible?
The Map to
Before planning out the new interface of Houseparty, it was important to understand the current interface and phases the users would go through in the app.
I wanted to simplify the amount of pages in general, there were a number of features which were repeated on different pages. My group and I, along with the users we interviewed felt the same.
We made 4 main icons for the user to navigate through, each icon is specialized for its own purpose, leaving no space for features to bleed through other sections of the app and confuse users.
Sketch it Out
After collecting all our data, it was time for me and my group to go ahead and sketch out possible solutions, there were a number of ways we could go about it. The sketches below are what I came up with based off of all three versions of my teams sketches.
After finishing wireframes and prototyping our first draft, we went ahead and wrote up the tasks for our group and recruited people to interview.
For the next iteration of our prototype, there were some things my team and I wanted to focus on, making buttons more intuitive, creating an exciting and fun home page, and having user flows that engages with users and helps inform rather than confuse.
Houseparty being acquired by Epic Games was a decision that threw me and my team for a loop. Looking for ways to incorporate two far-away worlds that had collided with no warning was a challenge. But I learned many valuable insights through-out this journey, being able to trust the design process, always listening to users and knowing that working with others is a blessing especially when you can communicate effectively!