In 2011, Zynga Poker was a underperforming mobile game that had lots of potential due to a shared user base of 4M Facebook players. It suffered from poor navigation, cluttered interface, and no emotional connection with the poker player.
My role as the UX Lead was to design a great experience for a poker player who wanted to quickly play for 10 minutes on their mobile device. Questions going into the process were abundant. How many taps does it take to get to a poker table? Is it easy to find the right stakes for the player’s bankroll? What would increase the play session time for a player?
The process started with deconstructing all features, prioritizing core user actions and organizing them in an intuitive navigation. Next step was to create high-fidelity wireframes and quick prototypes using click-through PDFs to test on the device. With rapid prototyping, we were able to troubleshoot and prevent any snags in the user flows. The basic premise of the design was to have the player get into a game within one or two taps without the complexity of learning about the stakes or poker game types.
With the visual style, the team pivoted away from the Facebook game and create a luxurious lounge feel that would feel more welcoming and warm than what was offered in the poker game space. As the UX team designed, we also created a toolkit to insure that art assets could be scaled to all resolutions with less effort.
Once the new design was launched in September 2011, it took one year for the game to grow from 250,000 to 1M players. For two consecutive years, it was in the Top 10 grossing game in the App Store and Google Play. Subsequently, we grew from 3 people to 12 people working on iOS and Android and designing new features to keep Zynga Poker mobile as one of Zynga’s most popular games.
With the success of the Zynga Poker mobile game, the Facebook game was in need of a facelift. As Zynga's most successful and longstanding game franchise, visual parity between both platform was important.
As Director of UX, I worked on the both the real money gaming poker game and the play money game. We produced this video to promote the social aspect of Zynga poker.