What is Taunt

Challenges & Research

Design Process

Prototype & Deliverables

Future UX Design & Envision

Reflections & Influences

Involve in live games, rather than watch only.

Taunt is an interactive streaming product enhancing E-sports fans' experience. I designed and launched it with the team from scratch within 5 months. We raised $4.75M as seed funding.

Pick, predict, and taunt your way to the top.
Challenge, being motivated to compete against fans around the world during live games. We have launched it in the App Store.

The Challenge

How to make E-sports live streaming experience more immersive, interactive and exciting for gamers?
E-sports fans were crazy about watching live streamings on TWitch of the games they  played. However, they havd no way to interact with the games or other fans while watching, but only chaotic and non-remarkable live chats.

Insights from team user research

Gamers love predicting & convincing others while watching live broadcast
while watching the lives. Yet, they could seldom actually show off in front of others fans.

Gamers want to play rather than just watch games.
They wish to get involved in to the live game.

Gamers love to recieve rewards for their own game experience
In-game limited items, skins & meeting professional players motivate them a lot

My role and team in this startup

UX, motion, visual, product... hybrid designer; Startuper

Designed to bring hundreds of audience into live Esports game interactively; Fulfill the gamers' demands of competitiveness and excitement, as well as business potentials

Collebrated with cross-functional partners; Pitched to CEO & the team

Worked closely with experienced colleagues with various backgrounds; Made each design process based on user research, perspectives from the team, business potential and feasibility.

Launched the product, envisioned the future product direction

We launched the product in 3 months. It recieved positive feedback and earned 308 new ysers within the first week.

Challenge 1
3 months only, from 30+ concepts to 1 launched beta

Fast-paced, daily team product, design & development iterations;
Intensive collaboration across 12 teammates (14 later) + 1 puppy;
Serve the most popular games: League of Legends & Fortnight.

As a fast-growing startup, we started every day with a standup + brainstorm meeting. We summarized, analyzed previous tasks and created sufficient plan for the following day. Everyone brainstormed, sketched and pitched ideas

After narrowing down the initial ideas, we made two to four design variations with fast iterations and made multi-fidelity prototypes by Wednesday. Then, the engineers involved more to build demos for the play tests on Friday.

Every Friday, we used half of a day to do some usability tests and A/B tests with participants. We collected their feedback and analyzed insights for the refienment. Then, we applied the whole cycle again and again until the product launched.

Challenge 2
How to bring interactive experience among hundreds of gamers
within small screens & various scenarios?

Teamwork created a visual computing algrisom, allowing me to design a mechanism from predicting only to competitively challenging(taunting) against players
We are also inspired by early test users' wishes and our office "poker games"

Among all variations, we tested and chose the "rotating poker-game" mechanism to allow all players to play against everyone in an easy and clear way. Such was decided by Friday test participants' votes and the best balance between the experience & feasibility.

Mobile + big screen experience: fulfill competitiveness & vanity

Except mobile UX for gamific interactions, gamers also wished to have the big screen integrated with live streaming and a way to fulfil their demands of competiveness. So the whole product IA was iterated into: 1. mobile as controller; 2. Big screen for live streamming & fulfill vanity and people reactions. Such brought the product even more interactive and exciting for potential users.

Challenge 3
How to create interactive, motivational, competitive experience & persuasive business potential?

Interactive avatar design: Martin

During tests, players wished to express themselves better during the "battles" and feel more reactions & feedback. So, Hanna, the design lead, Kevin, the senior designer and I co-designed our logo carton - Martin from scratch, with initial emoji & costume system. It's the player's virtual identity, helping create more immersive experience, self-motivation and connect users.

Polished interaction & visual designs
for better motivations & engagements needs

Gamers love appealing visual elements, motivating animations and responsive feedback to gain more sense of self-satisfaction and competitiveness.

Our strategy: designed with target users & in realistic E-sports live environments.

Though we were a small startup, we still made each design decision based on data and users' feedback to bring the most exciting and user-centered solutions. We worked not only in the office, but also with fans during weekly "play tests" and public game broadcast events. The pictures on the right were taken in a summer live event in Pioneer Square, Seattle. We demoed to fans there, observe them, and recieved live valuable feedback.

Taunt App: Game while watching live games, and win for game-related rewards.

Predict games, answer challenges & taunt other fans & rank!

Final Wireframe for the main UX

A Taunt game starts automatically as soon as a live E-sports game is on. It brings thousands of fans all over the world into one battlefield, syncing the game they are watching. Its mobile card game mechanism allows players to challenge others with their predictions of the match and the confidence of the player/team they chose to trust with least efforts. They can also use ability cards against others to "gaming more".
The fans will be more immersive to the live atmosphere, rather than watching in front of the screen only. It both improves live watching experience of fans and brings business collabration potential between E-sports and Taunt.

Prototype & Deliverables for implement

Challenge other players by predicting the game

Answering pop-up challenges to predict the current game's status. The challenges are generated by our AI system monitoring and analyzing the live game and popular topics among players. Correct answers will increase the player's points and gift him/her with a bonus card -- which can help the player win the whole Taunt game even more easily!

Taunt other players!
Show off your power & business potential

Like the abilities used in the live E-sports game, players can benefit by using "Taunt cards" in his/her deck to taunt and slow down other players. For example, the freezing card can freeze the player's interface, stopping him/her from gaining points or any other behaviours until he/she breaks the ice. Cards can be paid with money, which is another buisness model we were exploring.

Play & win for your own future gameplay

Taunt is never an individual mobile game. For all the reputations and items you may win in a Taunt game, that sync to your account of the game you were watching & playing Taunt for. For example, if you are playing Taunt while watching a Fornite competition, you could win the bonus items for your Fornite account by winning the challenges in the live Taunt game!

Physical interaction: Sync your excitement with the game's pace!

We want players to interact seamlessly, tapping on the screen is just first step. Players want to control the game at some key, exciting moments, so we offer them an opportunity to imitate what the character is doing in the live match with gesture control designs.

Show off your domination in front of everyone!
The Spotlight Jumbotron UX Design in an aggressive style that gamers love

To fulfil players' will to "be the best" and sense of achievement, there is also a big screen UX design aside from the mobile application. Such a screen will be projected in the public, for example, the offline match broadcast event. It will strongly show off players' performance along with the live broadcast going.

Quickly after the initial beta was lacunched, I was given a mission to envision what Taunt App in the future should be...

I started with the Insights from the users

Wish "Taunt games" to be more immersive & competitive?

Wish to be connected to the game fans' community even live games start

Wanna gain more sense of accomplishment by keeping using Taunt

Cleaner UI and more playful feedback with the interaction designs

Elevator pitches to CEO, won positive feedback & Implemented

After several iterations within two weeks, I did an elevator pitch to the lead and CEO with a concise presentation and prototypes of my solutions. The deliverable won the team's and his heart and some of them got implemented immediately into the latest update.

And it's exciting for me that the team was convinced by most of the feature designs and have implemented/started to implement them in the latest updates. For example, the reputation system and more interactive in-game emojis.

Launched the product with team,
+ 308 new users first week

It's exciting to see my designs were implemented and impressed not only my team, but also the potential users that joined our closed beta tests. Though it was still on its early stage, it won a rating of 4.6 out of 5 and 300+ new users within the first four days. Also, it was used officially during the live LCS-NA game series of League of Legends.
However, the startup shuts down during pandemic.

I continued as a contractor UX designer, re-designed for growth & developing more motivational mechanisms

I loved the team and they also loved me a lot, so did the CEO. Thus, the team recurited me back as a UX Designe contractor (as they had no budget for a full-time).
I was driven by passion. I then re-designed Taunt's official website, more interactive cards and projects integrated with more popular games

Design at this young startup grew me up

Fast-paced startup atmosphere taught me a lot: how to iterate designs and demo weekly & rapidly; how to plan user tests, recurit participants and analyze feedback with team and investors; how to polish details with limited resources...
Not only my skills were much more polished so that I can achieve better balance between concepts, designs and feasibility, but also collaborations between my experienced teammates, pitching to CEO and investors, communicating with users face-to-face shaped me into a better teamworker, communicater and a leader...

The team was noticiablly fast growing & were designing for more scenarios.

After successfully launching the open beta, the team has built more connections and collaborations with media and big game companies. Since then, Taunt has been known and growing even faster... Check out one reviews on ESI and Forbes about Taunt (first time to have my picture on Forbes lol):