NCSA is a web-based service that helps high school athletes and their families make the transition to college-level athletics. They educate their customers about recruiting and available opportunities, connect young athletes to the right college coaches, and guide them through the entire process.
To accomplish this, the product team at NCSA knows it needs to learn what features to prioritize in order to increase client satisfaction. To do this, NCSA turned to serious games.
Because the usual techniques for market research, requirements gathering, and idea generation take substantial time, effort, and sometimes money, NCSA added serious games to its toolkit. Rather than replace traditional techniques, serious games supplemented them, providing alternatives in many situations:
- Feedback on the NCSA site. Having clients sit down in a group and play Speed Boat helped establish what they liked and did not like about the service.
- Product awareness. Product Box helped determine how much knowledge the user group had about NCSA’s products and services, and got participants thinking about the topics under discussion.
- Prioritization in the product roadmap. Buy a Feature helped the company know what to prioritize on the roadmap they were creating for their clients, and helped the company internally in determining whether or not to build a new feature.
- Core benefits analysis. Finally, 20-20 Vision asked NCSA’s clients to compare and rank the company’s existing features.
By understanding the customers’ priorities, NCSA could determine which features to build out, which to kill, and where reorganization might be needed, such as in the site itself, or in the way the company understood its priorities.
NCSA uses serious games both in both ad hoc and ongoing ways. For example, when executives have an important question, such as why the site is becoming more popular than expected with a particular market segment, the product managers at NCSA can use serious games in combination with other techniques to provide a rapid, reliable answer. This case study shows how serious games can benefit an organization providing product services if they become a part of the organization’s skill set, much like learning how to use web analytics to glean answers.