It's tempting to think back a week and feel like nothing's moved a pixel. But step back a year, and wow – it's like flipping through a design portfolio of learnings and adventures. Every curve, every button, and every asset speaks a story of lessons learned.
For the design team, 2023 was a year of bold designs, innovative ideas and detailed documentation. They pushed boundaries, embraced challenges, and believed in design that turned our apps into a visual delight for our users.
Warning: This blog post contains high levels of creativity, learnings and inside jokes shared by the Bhoos Design Team.
The Rise of Snadder
2023 started with Snadder. It is a not-so-regular Snake and Ladder game, that actually needs skill to win rather than luck. Snadder is something different from our usual games, which are mostly app-based.
This web game’s assets underwent a complete makeover several times. The goal was to make the gameplay experience and the UI smooth and seamless. To add more drama, the sounds were also added to dice rolls, ladders, and snakes.
Snadder is a new game; hence, the brainstorming for the tutorial part was immense. The team questioned many people each time they made the tutorial assets. Each element in the tutorial part was mastered until all people understood the game clearly.
To add a touch of personalization, light and dark modes were introduced in the game.
Figma Files: From Chaos to Kudos
Where are all our design files?
Initially, there were separate Figma Files for different platforms – the Website, marketing, and more. However, in each of those files, all design elements were spread over a " Playground " section. True to its name, it is every designer’s safe haven, where they could brainstorm and experiment with all their ideas, says our Design Lead, Pravin Nakarmi. However, as our games grew in numbers, organizing design files was much needed.
The design team took up the challenge and transformed the Figma files from a chaotic labyrinth to a well-structured masterpiece. Each file was managed efficiently in a way that anyone could locate design elements in the files. The improved organization of design files has dramatically enhanced the ease and efficiency of navigating multiple design sections and assets. It also removed a lot of confusion between designers and developers.
It is safe to say that we traded confusion for clarity and complexity for efficiency.
Rolling Out: Ludo Legend
Yes, we also shifted a little from our genre of making card games this year. We dipped our hands at the most favourite board game of all time - Ludo. Now, you might wonder, does the world need another Ludo app? Well, our answer is a "yes" if it comes with a splash of fantastic features and a stellar UI.
The team started Ludo with basics because achieving smaller milestones is the key to understanding a lot. Gradually, we spiced things up by introducing exciting modes like Battle, Double Rush, and Custom – because why settle for the ordinary?
As Erik Adigard, Communication and Experience Designer, rightly said, "Design is in everything we make, but it's also between those things." Our designers took this to heart, crafting an animated lobby screen with subtle elements that brought the game to life - one such is the blinking eye animation of the bot in the lobby.
P.S: If you wish to learn how to make such animations, here’s how!
In Ludo Legend, we don't have tokens; we call them pawns, each with its own character. A great applause to our Digital Artist. Olisha Shrestha, who created a diverse range of pawns, from the meme boy Xavier to the iconic Rajesh Dai. To further enhance the visual experience, the team introduced various dice designs, ensuring that players never grew bored with the same old look.
All your Favourite Games in One Place
When the developers envisioned an all-in-one gaming app after being pumped up by the GameJam Hackathon, the design team recognized the immense potential and challenges ahead. To bring this vision to life, the design team was in full mode of exploration and learning.
Brainstorming sessions were fueled by caffeine and colours. To craft an exceptional user experience, the design team did great competitive analysis. Diya Manandhar, our Associate Designer, analyzed many game elements of other all-in-one apps to develop ideas. Understanding the landscape of similar all-in-one apps became a cornerstone, guiding the team toward informed decisions.
The latter half of 2023 was a period of intense ideation and rapid prototyping. The team generated concepts and wireframes and quickly transformed them into tangible prototypes.
Trial and error became the constant companions. Each asset, from icons to UI elements, was crafted, updated, and revised according to feedback from the Bhoos team. Here's our newest game!
“WHERE'S THE DESIGN DOCUMENTATION?” Shyam said calmly.
Our calm, collected design consultant, bless his soul, had enough of the haphazard ways. This year, the design team took his GENTLE nudges to heart and said goodbye to design chaos!
Most of the design works were driven by the intuition of what users might like and a little mix of competitive analysis. This year, the team focused more on researching different aspects of game elements and delivering better.
Each time the design team creates different types of elements, it is voted on by the entire Bhoos team in the Discord channel. To make things easier between designers and developers, FigJam discussions were initiated. Also, weekly meetings of the Design team were encouraged. This opened up a pile of ideas and resources.
The team worked towards documenting each design change, to retrospect or even go back to later if something did not seem right.
Designer’s Pro Tip: Never EVER delete any middle iterative design files. Read that again.
And with this, the year 2023 comes to a close for the design team.
A year of learning, growth, challenges and happiness.