Slam-Dunk Mobile Experience

The challenge! - Design a food-ordering experience for NBA fans while they watch a live game at a major sports arena in the US.

Why was this a challenge?

This wasn't a run-of-the-mill app that will be used while relaxing on a couch at home, or while waiting in a queue just to kill time. The app will be used inside an arena during a live game event. Arena is packed, the fans are completely engulfed in the game, are going crazy cheering the teams, noise level is rocket high. Fans want to emotionally stay with the game. Period. So how do we craft an experience that is minimal? An experience that is non-intrusive? An experience that will not let fans miss even a minute of game’s play? Still, from the business point of view, we wanted the fans to place their orders to achieve the business objectives.

Here's a short story of how we approached it..
Secondary Research

Studied the arena layout, seating layout, inside facilities, pick up stand locations, appearance of the pickup stands, their distance from the seats etc. This initial study will go a long way to inform design decisions later.

Environment Study

Arena is usually dimly lighted. There are the design implications. Can I just wave off my phone to grab the attention of the delivery guy if I have chosen in-seat delivery?


Fans are emotionally engaged in the game. They are cheering their teams. Will I even hear a subtle notification in such case? Will I even hear my phone ringing?


It’s super packed. You will have hard time to even get out to the nearest exit for a restroom break. What does it has to do with the order I placed? It has to do a lot. How will I navigate to the intended pickup stand? Which exit should I take? The left one or the right one? For in-seat delivery, how will the delivery guy even find me in this sea of similar looking audience?

User Narratives
“I am here to watch the game. Period.”

Experience needs to be non-intrusive and quick.

“Let’s do a selfie together”

Experience needs to consider social implications on mobile devices.

“Where on earth is my order?”

Experience needs to be transparent.

“I want a beer with the game. But can’t lose on even a single moment.”

Experience needs to be guiding.


Iterations. Iteration. And some more iterations.

It was important to design for social implications on mobile devices. An idea was to request an alternate number if the battery has almost drained out. This was critical since the users will be notified on their mobiles once their orders get ready for pickup.

Experience flows with time. Idea was to design an experience that guides users in their journey. The app can guide the users on the best time to place their orders so that the orders can picked during half time break.

Experience doesn't start and end within the arena. Idea was to understand the journey from service design perspective. For instance, the app can remind the users to recharge their mobile phones a day before the match. In-stadium experience is a lot of social aspects like clicking selfies, clicking the game, making videos.

Experience needs to understand the environmental aspects. The arena is jam packed, fans their loud for their teams. Idea was to devise ways to ensure the users do not miss on the pickup notifications. A subtle banner notification or a mobile buzzer?

Design Evaluation

We evaluated our designs by a role playing technique invented by Stephen Anderson. We wanted to understand if the conversation was natural, yet minimalistic.

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