Live Sports Redefined

A mobile experience for real-time tennis predictions.
The Tournoi de Québec is a week-long international tennis tournament held annually in Quebec City since 1993. Its major sponsor, the National Bank of Canada, wanted to recognize its clients in attendance with perks and privileges; however, because tickets can also be used for friends and family, they were unable to know which of their ticket holders were clients of the bank.

To find the best solution, the bank submitted its task to a startup competition sponsored by the Montreal Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Registered startups had two weeks to brainstorm and pitch their idea. The winner was given eight weeks to see it to completion. That winner was us.

A picture of myself, on the stage, during the pitch competition. I had four minutes to convince the jury from the National Bank of Canada that we had the best solution for them.

Our team devised a fun and interactive web app for real-time sports predictions to be used at the match. Attendees of the tournament registered for access to the app at a promotional tent. Required registration fields included their seat number in the stadium and if they were a client of National Bank of Canada. With this information, National Bank of Canada knew precisely which clients were in attendance and where they were seated.
For this project, I worked as a senior product designer and business strategist. I guided every creative aspect of the project, from the pitch on stage to vision boards, wireframes and user interface design, to gathering user feedback and briefing the developer.

The Process

From the pitch to the final product, our app evolved quite a bit. Initially our idea was a native app users would have to download to their phone. The bank noted that asking spectators to download a new app would be unrealistic in a tournament setting, and asked us to take another look at the experience.

In order to better understand this point, we set up shop in the bank’s promotional booth at the Rogers Cup of Montreal, another tournament sponsored by the National Bank of Canada. From the booth we observed that people spend an average of only 15 seconds at each promotional booth, hardly enough time to explain an app and its benefits — not to mention the time it takes to download. Additionally, phone storage was an issue for most people. They simply didn’t want to download a new app just for one day.

Using this information, we shifted our idea from a native app to an SMS-based system. Attendees could opt-in to the game via a registration iPad at the promotional booth, then enjoy all aspects of the game via text and a web application.

The day after the Rogers Cup, I sketched my ideas and discussed the technical feasibility with the developer. From the sketches I created high fidelity interfaces in Sketch, which I then synced with InVision.

With these interfaces, I was able to do several things:

  • Create a high fidelity document to get all the stakeholders on the same page and get feedback as soon as possible.
  • Create a prototype in InVision to test the user experience design before coding began.
  • Brief the developer on all visual components so he could begin coding.
  • Train the promo booth staff prior to the tournament how to register people on the iPad and how users will play the game once they’re registered.

After several weeks of developments and iterations, the big day arrived. We launched the final version and the tournament began.

During the entire event, the developer and I were onsite gathering live feedback from users. Because the game was SMS based, we were able to connect it to Intercom, which we used as a live chat tool. We answered simpler questions via SMS and personally stopped by for more complicated issues. (After all, we knew where they were seated.) Each night of the week-long tournament we were able to fix issues so the next day’s users would have a better experience.

This project was really successful. The Net Promoter Score of our solution was 9.2. Thousands of people from all ages played our game during the entire week. A woman in her 60s even came up to me at the booth to tell me how excited she was to beat her husband in the game! And the National Bank of Canada uncovered a whole new way to entertain and recognize their clients during live events.
In this project, I understood the power of design. When people are discussing an idea, each person may see it differently in their mind. But as soon as they see that first draft, that’s when the real discussion begins. From there, things get concrete, and the project moves much smoother than it would on just theoretical concepts alone.

I’m a big fan of the do-it-fast-and-iterate approach. Fail fast if necessary, because failing is learning and learning is the only way to improve.