UI, UX, Branding
Ever since I was young, I would spend the majority of my life glued to a screen, engaged in an alternate reality. One day, as I was simply browsing YouTube, I stumbled across a live stream of Dota 2. Before I knew it, I had watched a 40 minute game, of something I never played before. It was stimulating. I've always known that Esports was a rising scene, what with gaming cafes and Esports bars opening all over the world, but with just a little bit of research, I was completely blown away. Esports had finally reached the Olympics. The most recent, crowd-funded prize pool for Dota 2, "The International 2017", was over $24 million. Esports is huge, and it's projected to reach $1.5 billion by 2020. With that in mind, I had expected for there to be many established websites dedicated to the world of Esports - but there weren't many. Small sections of ESPN, Fox Sports, Red Bull, The Score Esports...it felt like it still wasn't being taken as seriously as it should have.
With that in mind, I decided to create a dedicated website which could showcase the vast world of Esports in all it's glory. Live streams, statistics, patch updates - I wanted a resource where you could find it all.
I wanted to give the website a name that would be instantly recognizable by gamers everywhere. "GG" or, "Good Game." Gamers all over the world, in every language, end a match with "gg." I wanted to represent the phrase as something that is communicated between gamers. Everyone says it - and that's what sparked the idea of morphing the letters to look like speech bubbles. Quotes, even. It was edgy, modern, yet still spoke true to the gaming culture.
Esports is just like any other sports. There are leagues, teams, players, positions - the list goes on. With no great Esports resource available, I actually spent most of my time looking into established sports websites. I interviewed some friends who were into sports (as I don't follow any) to understand what they deemed most important. Rumours, trades, stats, comparisons - it was all information that could be applied to my Esports website. I then surveyed other friends who followed Esports, and used my own knowledge and opinions to formulate a good base. There's a lot of information in the world of Esports. On top of all the similarities it has with sports, the game is always changing - literally. Game updates (patches) are released every so often, changing the meta of the game, which drastically affects how players interact and perform. I tried to include as much necessary information as possible, while still keeping things legible and clean - and ultimately retaining the culture feel of gaming. It was designed for users who absorb information quickly, and would promote the user to browse within a specific game's section.
One of the most important aspects of the Esports community is watching videos on demand (VODs). While you could just find videos on GG's YouTube channel, the website offers more functionality. You're able to filter videos based on the game, event, teams and player - making sure you get exactly what you want. This feature also allows you to "hide spoilers" which, when shown to others, was thought to be incredibly useful. Some people, including myself, hate spoilers. By checking this box, you're only shown the first game in a match, ensuring you never know the results until you finally watch the video.
Stats are not only important for people in the business, but also fun for those who enjoy it. A quick overview of the most important/popular statistics attracts the user and promotes further digging. Using League of Legends as the example, you can dive into a variety of stats for different regions, splits and stages.
Looking into player statistics is something that many gamers enjoy doing. They like to compare regions and players to see who is better at what. The chart allows for a quick change in viewing orders, as well as filtering between name, team and position. By keeping everything in one chart, it makes the entire experience much simpler and the user has more freedom in selecting what they want, versus multiple charts and extra buttons for comparison.
Let's say you only watch games within your region, as many people do. You probably have a favourite team, know the rivalries and want to see how each team fairs against another. Data visualization becomes one of the funnest ways to represent information, and lets the user play around with settings to see exactly what they want. If there's too much information on the chart to the point that it becomes cluttered, you can simply select individual teams and compare stats with ease. Hovering over nodes will also display details, giving the user a much more engaging and insightful experience.