Making digital sweepstakes fun
Plucky engaged Silicon Rhino to define, design and develop their idea on the need to digitalise sweepstakes. They had a clear vision, extract the experience of an office/group of friends sweepstake and make the experience relevant for modern living.
During the research stage we identified existing digital platforms that were email based (enter a group of emails and possible picks) so there was no interaction nor excitement in the whole experience, they also didn’t solve one of the biggest problems... organising and managing the money pot of the sweepstake.
Sweepstakes are common in the British office experience, where all participants would get together to draw names out of a hat and enjoy the banter as the different picks are unveiled.
Organising a sweepstake requires a fair amount of effort starting with finding the right amount of participants and collecting the participant fees from everyone involved. More often than not this will also mean finding last-minute participants when the sweepstake is short.
The social and organisational aspects of sweepstake have become more difficult in recent years due to the rise of remote and hybrid work. Plucky wanted to relieve the coordination effort involved and bring a sense of community back to enjoy live events.
Defining the game
The first phase of this project was product design, which involved the ideation of the core features for the product and the interactive design (how users will engage with the product). Once the core mechanics were agreed upon, our team produced low-fidelity wireframes and translated them into a final UI design for implementation.
For anyone who has taken part in a sweepstake, there is something special about the ritual of drawing your random name from the hat, which is crucial to the overall experience. Our team of product designers focused on this ritual as the core feature for Plucky.
The picking experience
In-person, sweepstake participants select at random from a bag of folded pieces of paper. The feeling of running your hands through these to make the right choice is quintessential to a sweepstake, so how can we translate it into a digital experience?
There were a lot of ideas thrown at the table and all of them were considered, but a unanimous decision was made to settle for the grid of tiles.
The grid allows users to have a clear overview of all the options available before making a decision, this permitted us to introduce real-time feedback as other participants also make their picks.
The tiles will become inactive and display the participant who took that pick in real time, adding a sense of pressure and excitement to making a decision.
By using a grid system we could also solve the scaling issue, as a grid works with as little as 4 picks to as many as you need.
What it could have been
We played around with the possibility of having a carousel of tiles users could swipe through before selecting their pick.
While swiping around the tiles was reminiscent of the feeling of touching different papers before making a pick, it was hard to provide an overall view of how many options were available plus see in real-time which picks were being taken.
We also debated the possibility of a dual view, allowing users to swap between the grid and the carousel but as with most things in life, simplicity is understated.
When creating new digital experiences/products, it's important to look at existing patterns your users will be familiar with, as they will intuitively know what to do in a given situation.
Once a user has decided on the tile to bring them luck, we need to add some theatre to make it all more exciting. What is more exciting than scratching a card to see if it’s your lucky day? This is something everyone has done at one point or another in their lives.
After picking their tile, the user gets prompted to scratch it to reveal their pick, during the design phase, we incorporated animations such as fireworks and a moving scratch hand to enhance the UX flow.
One of the most exciting aspects of an office/group sweepstakes is witnessing the reactions of your fellow competitors, whether they be good, or not so good - it’s all part of the fun!
So how do we replicate this in a digital setting? Once users have revealed their pick we ask them to react with an emoji. Emojis are now such a conventional approach to expressing emotion in the digital space this felt like the simplest and most intuitive solution.
When the draw has finished we show an animation revealing all the different picks and reactions, which aims to replicate the experience of a live draw.
The sweepstake flow/stages
Once we were confident the core experience of the product was established, we focused on designing all the different stages of a sweepstake to its digital counterpart.
Create a sweepstake and invite
Creating a sweepstake in real life can be time-consuming, so our goal was to make the experience as streamlined as possible.
Allowing users to simply select a sweepstake from a list of available events was the frictionless option, once the sweepstake is created the organiser can use social channels to invite the rest of the players.
We wanted to keep a sense of community and maintain the private feel of group sweepstakes, a decision was made so users could only join a sweepstake where they had an invite code.
Joining a sweepstake / Pre draw
As we mentioned in the problems section, managing all the money in a sweepstake can be time-consuming and lead to arguments.
Thanks to digital payments, Plucky users can simply pay the joining fee when joining a sweepstake. This allows for several things:
Every participant in the sweepstake has added their share
See the sweepstake pot grow as more participants join the sweepstake
Easily keep control of how many participants the sweepstake is missing.
Before the draw, this screen serves as the sweepstake’s hub, where participants can see all other participants, the total pot increasing as more participants join, a list of all the possible sweepstake picks, and a countdown to the opening of the draw, helping to build anticipation and excitement.
As soon as all participants have made their picks or the draw time has elapsed, the sweepstake moves to the post draw stage.
Plucky greets all the participants with an animated carousel of which pick each player got and their reaction to it, after that, we transition to a screen with a list of all the picks, the final price pot and a countdown to the results being published.
When the results for the sweepstake event are published, Plucky users get access to a leaderboard showcasing the winner(s) and how the sweepstake pot was distributed between the participants.
If you are a winner, the prize gets added to your Plucky account where you can withdraw it in as little as two clicks.
At Silicon Rhino we start off product design projects with a workshop. It’s really important to us to deep dive into the team’s motivation to launch a new product, while also gathering information about the overall direction of the product and design preferences.
Once the main product/feature flows have been established, the next step is to generate low-fidelity wireframes to make sure all the ideas translate well into the digital canvas.
It is at this stage that we can try all the different options on the table and make informed decisions (via user survey or ...) of what implementation will achieve the desired result.
We then iterate the wireframe with our clients and once it’s been approved we start working on the high-fidelity designs the development team will implement.
This project’s biggest challenge was to design a core user journey that was in equal parts engaging, fun, easy to use, and compliant within the different regulatory frameworks.
Plucky's MVP launched with the original concept and the early user engagement proved the Silicon Rhino design was successful, meaning the company could pursue further feature ideas for the digital sweepstake platform. This allowed us to revisit some of the ideas discarded in the original MVP design as we move into the next phase of product development.