Word Mine by Sensible Object has won the GRAND PRIZE in the Alexa Skills Challenge!!!
Pulse Labs provided user experience testing during the development and creation of Word Mine, and we're thrilled that the game has received some well deserved recognition. We've known the Sensible Object team since we were both in the inaugural class of the Alexa Accelerator, and we've been proud to work with them ever since.
Sensible Object is an awesome gaming company that designs tabletop games and voice applications. Earlier this year, Pulse Labs helped Sensible Object test When In Rome, their first "voice originals" game that combined both concepts, which they developed during the accelerator. The experience was so valuable that, while building their next game, Word Mine, Pulse Labs user testing and validation were incorporated from the very beginning.
Through three rounds of usability testing, Sensible Object gathered feedback from Pulse Labs panelists and strategically incorporated it into their skill design from its very conception, allowing them to tailor their game to match real users’ expectations and desires.
They started their first round of testing with two skill prototypes for different styles of gameplay based on the theme of mining for words, along with several alternate skill names and descriptions reflecting possible themes. Usability testing revealed that 86% of Pulse Labs panelists preferred one of the two game versions due to its more gradual increase in difficulty. The game’s mining theme was also validated by a 71% approval rating.
After this first round of testing, several panelists recommended that the game create an incentive for earning points, such as a daily leaderboard, or, as one panelist suggested, a way to exchange points for hints. In response, Sensible Object created a reward system that aligned perfectly with the game’s mining theme: users earn virtual coins for each correct word, then visit a shopkeeper character to purchase tools that allow them to stay longer in the word mine. These changes were validated in the second round of testing, where 76% of panelists said that they would play the game again.
As the game had become more complex, however, it was prone to more bugs than the original version. Our final two rounds of usability testing helped to catch and document these errors, allowing the Sensible Object team to present their skill at its best upon release.
Currently, Word Mine has dozens of ratings with an impressive average of 4.4 stars, and reviews like:
I liked this game because it uses session management, different voices/sound effects, and keeps the user coming back for more each day. My only suggestion is that they publish the skill in other English speaking regions to max out user availability. Great game two thumbs up!
- Alexa Skills Review Podcast
This Christmas, put your Echo device to good use and play Word Mine with family and friends to make fun holiday memories! If you're still looking for a Christmas gift, check out When In Rome or one of Sensible Object's other awesome games, like their smash hit Beasts of Balance.
If you are developing a voice application for Amazon Alexa or Google Home and want to make sure it's ready to delight your users, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.