Today we announced a design competition in which we invite the whole community to help us find a visual style that will look and feel like Hattrick while still being modern, suited to mobile use and open to new functionality. With this blog post I will tell you a little bit more about how this will work and what we hope to achieve with it!
First, some background.
Any web business has to deal with the issue of how you can keep making your product better without disturbing the users that already loves your product, and who are used to a certain look and feel to it. The older a business is, the trickier this gets as more of your users will have been around for a long time. For Hattrick, this is – and has always been – something that we have needed to consider. At times, we have tried to confront users and push through new functionality and design, while other times we have avoided doing new things that we would have liked to do, fearing backlash from users.
Again, this is normal and it is completely understandable that users are sometimes skeptical of new things. Often they are simply right and should be listened to. Other times, all that is needed is some time to get used to what’s new.
Time for a New Approach
In Hattrick, we have spent the last year or so working on a few new pages, that are very important to the game – the Live Viewer and the Match Order, especially, but also the new Training Analysis page. While we love the new and more powerful functionality introduced there, it has been tough to get your acceptance for this new visual style. Some of you simply does not like the look, others don’t like the way you have to interact with these pages.
We have tried our best to iterate, improve, tweak, bug fix and so on – and we will continue to do that. But we would also like to try another approach, and see if there is anyone out there that has the vision to put together a design for Hattrick which will allow us to fuse the “old” Hattrick with these new, more feature-rich pages, and ultimately allow us to use this design for the whole web site and our apps as well.
We don’t think this has to be as hard as it may sound. We are certainly not looking for a revolutionary change. The winning design will probably be a sensitive revision of the traditional Hattrick design, something we can apply directly to the new Live and Match Order, but which in itself is modern enough to also apply to the whole site and our apps as well. We also hope that the proposals themselves will help spark a discussion in the community about what is important to keep in a Hattrick design, and what new functionality and design ideas should not be overlooked.
Over to the actual competition project. This is what we are looking for in the first stage of the competition, which has a deadline of December 1:
- We want to see two mockup pages, one for a revised Live Viewer and one for a revised Match Order page. There should also a shorter text summarising your ideas.
- The design should assume only functionality that currently exists – this is not the time to reinvent the game. (That may come later, but for now we want actionable designs!)
- We expect the designs to be a compromise or midway point between the traditional Hattrick and the new design style introduced by the new Live Viewer and Match Order pages. Examples of things to consider here are stuff like colour palette, text vs graphics, sizes and scales of menus, boxes etc.
- We would like to move towards a responsive design. That is, try to use the elements on the page in such a way that they can be displayed one way on a desktop and another way on a mobile screen, without the contents of the elements changing or the usability of the site being compromised in either scenario.
Do we expect this to be a perfect design on the first try! No way! We ask you to send in two mockups, to give you a decent chance to visually demonstrate what your ideas are, and to complement this with some text. The main reason we ask for this is to spot talent and good ideas. If you want, you can also include links to any other design work you may have done, but this is not necessary.
The match orders page
- When we close this first phase on December 1, we will do two things: First, we will welcome the community to vote for their favourites. Then we will reward the top 5 in the community vote with 1000 EUR each.
The popular vote, together with the discussions in the forums around the proposals, will give us a better understanding of the proposals we have received. Then we will take this to our upcoming dev meeting in early December, and pick which designers we will invite to continue working with. From then on, any collaboration will be purely professional, so we will have to agree a fee for any additional hours put in by the new designer. But we hope this can be a collaboration that continues for a long time, as we really do need a good freelance designer on our team.