Live Sports Redefined
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.
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.
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.