Gather: Social Networking for the Magic: The Gathering Community

Overview

Magic Card

Context

Magic: The Gathering (MTG) debuted as the first trading-card game in 1993 and was an instant hit. Nearly a quarter of a century later, the game boasts over 12 million players worldwide, with over 12,000 different cards published in 11 languages.

Learn more at magic.wizards.com.

Problem

Magic is a social game. As they say in the community, “it’s not about the Magic, it’s about the gathering.” So it is somewhat surprising that, although the community houses a robust and varied online presence, there is no existing social network for connecting players face-to-face. And despite Magic’s long-standing success, diversity remains an issue within the surrounding community.

Target Users

Teens and young adults (approximately 13-35 years old) with an emphasis on attracting diverse user groups (i.e., women and minorities).

Proposed Solution

Gather: a social media hub for the MTG community. The app will include social services such as profile creation, friending, and messaging, location services for nearby card shops and places to play, upcoming events listings, and a searchable cards database including features like a deckbuilder and wishlist.

User Research

Interviews

I conducted 8 interviews with a variety of potential users between the ages of 20-30 years old. Of these, three were male and five were female. Their experience with Magic ranged from “I’ve heard of it,” to “I’ve competed in tournaments.”

Take a look at the results:

User Interviews "Tell me about your experience with Magic: the Gathering." Results include keywords like 'friends,'camraderie,' and 'social.' Social Connection "What do you wish were different?" Results include keywords like 'misogynistic,' 'people of color,' and 'male-dominated.' More Diversity "How much time do you spend online?" Example response: 'Oh lord, that's unquantifiable.' "What do you spend your time online doing?" Responses reference ten different social media websites How Might We... create a digital experience that appeals to a diverse variety of both novice and experienced Magic: the Gathering players, connects them in a welcoming space, and helps to foster a more inclusive community? Gather logo

Personas

Based on the participants of the user interviews and research on the Magic: the Gathering community, two personas were developed to represent the target user group. One (Jesse) embodies the current user population and the other (Monica) characterizes new and potential users.

Persona: Jesse
Persona: Monica

Journey Maps

Next, a journey map was created to illustrate Monica's progeression through various touch-points during her interaction with the product. Although the map showcases an ideal journey, it also highlights potential pain-points at each step of the process.

Monica's Journey Map

Design Process

Flowchart

To get an idea of the requirements for the deisgn process, the first step was to create a map of the application's information architecture.

Flowchart

Wireframes

Simple mock-ups were created of each landing-page. Here are just a few examples...

Wireframes

Branding

The branding drew heavily from the fonts and colors used by Wizards of the Cost for Magic's branding, for consistency.

Branding

Prototype

I developed a semi-functional prototype using Adobe XD. Below are a few select pages from the original prototype, which would be modified after usability testing.

Events
Browse Cards
My Decks
Profile
Map
Friends

User Testing

Methodology

The tests were conducted remotely via UserTesting.com and consisted of:

View an example test here.

Findings

The Good: Users liked the concept of the app as a social media service for MTG players. They specifically liked the "easy-to-use navigation", "simple layout," location service, deck builder, image search, ability to connect with other social apps, and the in-app messaging function. Most users said they were highly likely to download the app and would recommend it to a friend.

The Bad: The biggest pain-point for users was confusion about how to use the in-app location services. Participants also noted that the social app connection feature should include a larger variety of social sites more common to the user-base (such as Discord and Reddit).

Revised Prototype

Try it out: