Zynga — CityVille Mobile

Experience Design Director

 

Key Responsibilities

Establish product design direction

  • Define core design direction, values, and principles

  • Research, strategy, testing & validation

  • Visual design direction for UI

Hire, mentor, and manage design team

  • Across project lifecycle (pre-production, production, launch, and live phases)

Product strategy

  • Triangulate with leadership “what should we do and why?” based on business & user needs, and build corresponding roadmap

  • Prioritize timing and scheduling, scope feature designs, etc

  • Evaluate key metrics, qual and quant data from various sources to define goals and drive overall strategy

 

Design Pillars

A set of core pillars help limit our scope, keep us on track and drive process and culture in the design team:

Focus on ROI

  • Knock out the highest value work up front

  • Do as little work as possible to learn as quickly as possible

Driven by prototypes

  • Whatever best communicates direction at appropriate fidelity

  • Sketches / whiteboards / storyboards, task completion flows and loops, state tables, Keynote / design software prototypes, software prototypes, animated sequences, etc

  • Communicate, get buy-in, and learn what works and what doesn’t as quickly and cheaply as possible

1 + 1 = 3

  • Pairs and groups of people are smarter than the sum of their parts

  • Highly collaborative — Put heads together to solve tough challenges

  • To be successful, sharing information across the team is key — Knowledge is power!

Data helps your gut

  • Great design comes from a healthy mix of gut feeling and data-informed choices

 

Craft, Quality, & Execution

Some examples of design team output at various stages, from high-level strategy to pixel-perfect shipped UI:

Exploration & Discovery

 

Task Flows

 

Wireframes & Low Fidelity Experience Design

Browser prototype: http://adobe.ly/28SW4hs

 

State Tables & Interaction Design

 

Mock-ups & High Fidelity UI Design

 

Iconography & Visual Design

 

UI Elements & Components

 

Recap

Mobile games are super fun, challenging projects. They’re built on small screens with high user expectations for polished graphics and bouncy, snappy animated experiences—so clearly defined product design direction is paramount for the team to maintain efficient forward momentum while maintaining quality.

These constraints continue to inform and influence the products I build outside of gaming today.