PokerKZ

PokerKZ came to us at a critical time for their startup. They needed an iPhone app to help scale the company. We were tasked with designing a native experience that would engage users and help them migrate from their existing desktop application.

Not only did we need to create an immersive mobile experience, we also needed to help develop a robust API that would reliably communicate with iOS devices. This was a real money gaming app – we couldn’t afford to gamble with the users’ money.

P1

Design

Our goal was to design a user experience that would keep people engaged. After all, the longer users remained engaged with the application, the more money PokerKZ made. Since their target market was users with high disposable incomes, it was also important to the client to create a chic and high end look for the iPhone app.

We wanted to do more than just design a good looking app – we wanted an experience that would build the user’s trust. That’s why our design was based on an environment that allowed users to open the app and explore the game without having to sign up. This was a key user experience decision because it allowed the user to understand what the app did before they spent money.

To ensure a bespoke tailored look for the iOS app, we programmed all animations from the ground up using the CoreAnimation library that’s packaged with the iOS SDK. Making this decision was tough because it meant a later release date for the app. However, it was the right way to go. Sacrificing user experience for time to market on an app that required pleasing aesthetics is never a good idea.

Creating an experience that was intuitive was our number one goal. We wanted to make sure that the user’s hand was held each step of the way. The sign up process stuck closely to this vision for the app by showing the user why they were entering information and how it would help make the best tutor matches.

P2

Technology

PokerKZ allowed users to play with real money. This meant that the system had to be as secure and reliable at all times. We began by looking for solutions that would allow the server to create an open connection with the client for real time communication. We quickly realized that we couldn’t do without Socket Programming. Next we began searching for existing libraries that would help us speed up development.

Luck was on our side back then, and SignalR had just released a beta that was compatible with iOS. In conjunction with AFNetworking, an opensource networking library for iOS, we were able to send encrypted data packets in real time and built reliable exception handling for lost packets.

Augmented teams

We couldn’t have created such a wonderful product without the close collaboration with PokerKZ’s development team. We effectively used Scrum to integrate both of our teams to meet deadlines. However, like any project, there were hiccups. It took us a couple of weeks to figure out how to closely collaborate with teams in four different geographic locations. Requiring us to change our work schedule to accommodate the client team, which was initially difficult but the payoff was immense. The processes we developed then are still used in-house today. We brought a truly revolutionary product to market creating a mobile team that learned about the product and built it from scratch in less than 6 months.

Never stop learning

Once again, Wizrd taught us that there is something to be learned from every project we work on. From user onboarding to making tasks as easy to complete as possible for the end user, we find ourselves drawing on a lot of the lessons we learned on Wizrd in our daily work.

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