Diamond Diaries Saga UX analysis

What is done right?

1. Quick and easy onboarding

Users need to be able to find what they’re looking for within three clicks. In this case, it would be users being able to play the game they’ve downloaded. Diamond Diaries ensures this for users. It doesn’t force users to sign up, making the onboarding process a lot quicker and easier, so users can start to play the game after just two clicks. This is very important because 17% of apps are abandoned when forced to sign up from the start (Source: Localytics 2017).

2. Intuitive instructions

Users are already playing Diamond Diaries and finishing levels whilst being instructed. Celia Hodent, a Game UX consultant said, “the most efficient way to teach something to someone, especially in the case of an interactive medium, is to let them learn by doing (in context).” Also, the instructions are very intuitive and straight-forward that after completing a few levels, users know how to play Diamond Diaries. No users want to be stressed trying to learn how to play games, when they want to relax and ‘play’.

3. Amazing 3D artwork and animation

The quality of artwork in Diamond Diaries is stunning. It captured each cities’ landmarks and vibes very well. Not only it has amazing artworks, it also has cute micro animations. It has pigeons flying around, cat chilling on the rooftop, flower petals falling down and it has Shiba Inu barking in front of the shop. These all keep the game very lively and provides many interesting things to be appreciated. Having great game interface makes users to be intrigued and want to play.

What could be done better and how can it be improved?

Adding more elements that could motivate users to come back to the game would be nice. Diamond Diaries is a very addictive game. It can be played until users are out of lives, and lives are charged quite fast (7-8 minutes for one life) and also sent as a gift from other users. So basically, it can be played endlessly unless users fail the level several times. It effectively makes users to keep play the game whilst they are playing, however, it would be nice if there are more elements that will bring users back to the game. After a big success of Candy Crush Saga, many Match-3 games were created. Users have more choice to choose from, so now, the game now need more than just the game itself.

User Research

I wanted to know about what age groups play this game the most, however, there were not many data of demographics available for this game. It was more difficult since match-3 is a game with wider demographics. So as an alternative, I looked at demographics of Kings and Candy Crush Saga. According to the Guardian, it said that King’s core demographic is women aged 25-45. For Candy Crush Saga, women were main players while it had similarly distributed age groups. So I decided to set the core users as women aged 25-45, and me being also in that age group, I asked 10 of my friends to play the game until level 21.

Interview

After playing the game until level 21 or more, I asked them to answer these interview questions. The questions included:

  • General opinion on this app
  • Favorite elements about this app
  • Least favorite elements about this app
  • How would you describe this app to your friends?
  • What age group do you think this game is appropriate for?
  • Is the mission clear enough?
  • Comparison with other match-3 games?

They all agreed that this game is very easy to play and have nice interface. However, when asked about the storyline, they were not sure what the story was about and some questioned why they are collecting the diamonds for. One interviewee was someone who played
Gardenescape, another match-3 mobile game, for 3 years now and she mentioned that other than playing the game itself, being able to decorate the garden as she finishes stages and see these visual progress make her satisfied.

Persona

As well as interview answers and researching all these age group is having difficulty with especially in COVID-19, I came up with persona to help me to understand.

Solution

I thought more elements to enjoy in this game would be nice and based on my research, I came up with three possible solutions.

1. Play apart together.

It’s always more enjoyable to play games with friends, especially in this pandemic situation. There are limited things they can do together. Just like King suggested, play apart together, not only competing for a higher score in the game, giving them an option to actually play together would give them more options to interact with each other.

2. Fulfill your desire.

People always find something to fulfill their desire. Now, people cannot travel around due to restrictions. Therefore, enhancing this traveling element in the game and providing the experience to at least virtually travel around the world would help users to fulfill the desire to travel.

3. Stay focused.

Having solid narrative helps to hook users and keep their attention, allowing them to feel like part of a story and to be more attached to the game. Most importantly, it makes the game more exciting. Diamond Diaries already has a storyline, that Lucy travels around the world, collecting jewels and recreating fabulous jewelries. Just adding more elements directly related to the story would help users to understand the plot and have more perspectives.

It can be applied like following examples.

Play apart together

Even being apart, stay connected with your friends! Cooperate with your friend and collect the diamonds together.

Fulfill your desire

Anything can’t stop you from traveling the world virtually.

Collect charms from each cities!

Find charms that represent each cities. These charms can be found after finishing the goal of certain levels. Be aware! It can only be collected within the given turns! Collected charms can be found in the travel diary.

Different cities, different music

Experience different vibes from each cities. Even from music!

Stay focused

Concentrate! Otherwise, your enemy will get it before you!

Thank you!