CASE STUDIES / Hobby Gaming Tournaments Locator Search Engine for Wizards of the Coast

DISCIPLINE
CHALLENGE

Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., is the leading developer and publisher of trading card, roleplaying, and other hobby gaming products, including Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, and Axis & Allies. As the company grew and launched online incarnations of MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games), customer feedback indicated that the current tools available for locating retail purchase and tournament play venues were outdated and inadequate. Wizards desired to create an easy-to-use, intuitive, web-based interface that would enable customers to locate retail stores and tournament locations worldwide. Wimmer partnered with Wizards to define the need for a new tool, called ‘Find a Game’, that would provide both basic and advanced search functionality, and would be able to retrieve data from the company’s Organized Play Information System (OPIS) and numerous retailer databases.

SOLUTION

The Wimmer team worked with Wizards of the Coast to develop a search interface, search engine, and results page with maps, based on the company’s website, Wizards.com. Wizards of the Coast provided Wimmer with art assets and style sheets for user interface design, while Wimmer offered the support of its managing directors and Executive Leadership Team to the consultant resource we deployed to manage the development process. In addition, Wimmer collaborated with senior stakeholders to prioritize integration of the new tools across Wizards’ existing brands, including Magic, RPGA, D&D Miniatures, Star Wars Miniatures, Axis & Allies Miniatures, and other organized play channels.

Technical skills used by the Wimmer team in this partnership included the following:

  • Technical project management
  • Development
  • UI Design

Wimmer Solutions leveraged a technical project manager with SQL expertise to execute on defined project goals throughout the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), on the basis of organized play event information drawn from OPIS data stored in a SQL server. The assigned developer created a data connector, developed a query mechanism to request information from two disparate data stores as specified by the end user, then created a method for combining data from both stores into a single data set formatted for delivery to the UI. Working with a design team, we then created updatable search UIs for embedding into existing brand pages, as well a search results page and customizable advanced search UI specific to particular brands and play formats. Our resources worked across writing and design teams to implement and integrate art and copy assets into final UI design in a manner consistent with existing company branding, and to create documents explaining the code base and interface design itself. Each UI developed needed to be consistent with existing branding, skin-able for individual products and easily updatable by Wizards’ core development team. Code needed to be implemented using technologies currently supported by the team, conform to industry best practices, and achieve compliance with Unicode and multi-byte character sets.

INNOVATION & IMPACT

As determined by subsequent customer satisfaction activities, the highly customizable tools Wimmer created significantly enhanced the user experience for gamers across the globe, facilitating tournament and retail store location, while maintaining consistency in branding across the site. Increased accessibility of Wizards’ products enabled the company to address the market more efficiently and drive greater traffic to their retail stores and revenue-building events.

The Wimmer team, through their technical expertise and model of flexibility in working with the client exceeded schedule, budgetary and quality client targets in their final deliveries.

CHALLENGE

After a large amount of customer feedback, Wizards of the Coast came to Wimmer Solutions to create an easy-to-use, intuitive, web-based interface that would enable customers to locate retail stores and tournament locations worldwide.

SOLUTION

The Wimmer team used technical project management, development and UI design skills to develop a search interface, search engine, and a results page with maps to allow users to locate nearby tournaments and events from their favorite Wizards of the Coast games.

INNOVATION

The highly customizable tools Wimmer created significantly enhanced the user experience for gamers, which drove increased accessibility of Wizards’ products, facilitated greater traffic and attendance to retail stores, tournaments and revenue-building events.