Interview with our designer about the new QuizWitz website

Dear lab cats

This week’s development post will be about our new website and our designer Katia. We thought it was about time we introduced the people in our team a little bit more. At the same time, you might learn something from the way she works. This post will be a little interview with questions about her work at CatLab and her interests.

The Website

Our new website will approach different people in their unique way.  We created different content for different audiences. A quiz creator will search in a different way than a party quizzer. Someone who loves to play online and talk to people in the community on the other hand, will look for even different terms. We added screenshots at the end of the post if you’re interested, you can also visit them here:

The Interview

First things first though. Here’s our little interview with the designer of the QuizWitz community and website. Do note though that the party game itself was designed by a freelancer before we even knew Katia!

So, what do you actually do for CatLab?

At Catlab I have a varied job. Last year I created the designs for the Catlab-website, QuizWitz-website and QuizWitz community network. I also developed those first two websites. Besides that I’m a helping hand in the front-end development of the game and the social platform.
Furthermore I like to do some social media management so I started the FanFacts-tweets.

What do you study now?

At the moment I study Devine at Howest University College in Kortrijk. Devine is a contraction of design and development so the degree is divided in those 2 parts.
I’m going to my second year where I will learn more about Javascript frameworks, 3D Motion Graphics, API’s, …so I’m very excited to start the new academic year.

How do you keep up with the industry? Are there any blogs or sites you follow regularly?

I follow a few inspiring people on Twitter which helps you to stay up to date. I also like to check inspirational projects on Behance and Codrops. Next to that, I follow some inspiring Facebookpages like CSS Design Awards , creativeBloQ , you the designer and many more.

Could you walk us through the steps you follow when you create a website?

First I like to brainstorm about the content of the website and how to visualize it. In this stage I like to browse through Behance, Pinterest, awwwards.com and cssdesignaward.com
When I’ve got some nice ideas I start sketching and wireframing. After that, when I’m happy with some sketches I start the digital design in Illustrator. At that moment I also brainstorm about some nice effects and I keep good UX in mind.
When the digital design is finished and I got some feedback from third parties, I start with the front-end development.
In the last stage I add some animations and try to test the website as well as possible on a lot of different devices.

Do you look up to any inspiring people in the field?

There are some people I keep an eye on, but it changes because I’m still learning and exploring my way of working. It also depends on the fields they are active in.

Photography

Branding

Webdesign

Illustration/Character design

Can you think of any tips and tricks that might help other people too?

Take your time to get a good result. Relax from time to time and start over when you’re not 100% convinced.
It’s harder to change your design and code afterwards than to start from a strong, well-considered idea.

Screenshots of the new website!

 

Dolumar goes open source

Dear lab cats

We have fascinating news about our first game which we made back in 2008: We decided to make Dolumar open source!

What?

As of now, the game’s code is accessible to everyone. The game will remain online and you can still play, but if you want, you can start using its source code to mess around. Got any ideas for our persistent browser-based game Dolumar?

Find everything you need at GitHub and start puzzling!

Why?

Though Dolumar was once a thriving community, this has faded over the years. Until we can do a complete remake, we decided to enter the realm of Open Source with it! We know people from many different backgrounds were present in the community, including coders and game developers. We want to give them a chance to host their own Dolumar games, or perhaps push some interesting changes.

Great!

This opens up new possibilities for an old and rusty, but unique and challenging game we loved to play ourselves! We hope you can see some treasure in there.

If there’s any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us. Also, don’t forget to share this news with the world!

How QuizWitz defines the roles in its community

Dear Labcats, dear developer friends

As you might know, we’re working on QuizWitz. It’s a party quiz game with its own community, something our mentor at StartIt@KBC knows a thing or two about (this is an understatement). He urged us to get to the bottom of our platform and its future users. This post is an overview of what we defined so far. (You can also read this post on Gamasutra!)

The Community

A community is like a little society in itself, and in a society everyone fulfills another role, just like in real life. In QuizWitz, users will do very different things depending on why they join or come back to the game. From the ‘why’ we can also deduct the ‘what’, and that’s a valuable insight for any developer.

If we know how and why it will be used, we can not only understand our users better, we can reach out to them and provide the right care and features. This means it’s not only a marketing tool to get to know your future players better. It serves a bigger purpose. To do this exercise, we imagined QuizWitz in 5 years time, being a vibrant ecosystem.

The Roles

We decided to define 4 roles for our community. We imagine each of them has a preference in terms of features. First of all, we tried to define the ‘why’ and ‘what’ starting from our most important game elements.

The overview below shows our three different feature categories: The multiplayer mode, the community network and the single player mode. Depending on why the user joins the community, he or she will have other goals. Those are shown between the brackets behind the role names. The colored features are the favorites per role.

As you can see, the first role we call the Tourist. They’re a fun bunch looking for a quick game with friends or family. They also like to explore and play single player mode if struck by boredom. This role doesn’t register upfront and doesn’t engage too much in the community.

The Journalists are a whole other story. They love to mingle with other users and let their voice be heard. They register to comment and rate rounds, as well as play quick games against friends. They love a bit of everything and like to test their knowledge against Professors.

As Famous Quizzers play to grow in the multiplayer rankings, they will organize fun evenings for their friends and family. They also love to show them who knows the most about these topics. They will create their own rounds about topics in which they feel other quiz creators missed things.

Professors like to play against other Professors, but their favor testing their knowledge about different kinds of trivia. They love to explore the network on their own and give feedback, as well as create unique quiz rounds about topics they know much about.

Conclusion

We believe QuizWitz has everything to facilitate these different roles, though we still have a huge job ahead of us. It’s a good thing we’re no quitters! Every community needs its players, so please do share the QuizWitz name and fame.

If you have any thoughts or comments about these roles, please do leave your paw in the comments below or tell us on Facebook, Twitter or in an email!

Thanks a lot and don’t forget to kiss the cat goodnight!

QuizWitz update: Game controller designs and the feedback evening

Dear lab cats!

Past few weeks of July, we’ve been updating the codes on our CatLab website and designing a new version of our game controller views! So tests were necessary, and that’s why we organized a true “QuizWitz play and action evening event for awesome people”!

Feedback Event

We didn’t call it that of course but we organized a fun evening with some friends from each of us to create a diverse group of ‘test subjects’. There were drinks, snacks and feedback from 12 people (we just didn’t have the space for more)!

It was a fun evening with lots of quiz questions and winners! As people left for home, we immediately started to plan our next fedback evening. Here are some pictures but we have some more on our QuizWitz Facebook page!

Controller designs

The game controller screens were an issue to tackle. We wanted to give players more instant feedback as they answered questions. Our designer Katia came up with some fun designs you can see here. Better yet, test them in action in QuizWitz directly!

Roles on the platform

If QuizWitz is to become a living and vibrant community of people, we have to see it as a tiny society. By defining roles people can assume, we can reach the right people and design the right features for them (and you). We’re working on that by thinking ahead, looking at what different people will be doing on QuizWitz in 5 years. More on this will follow later in August.

Screencast

Lastly, we’re preparing to create some videos in which we go over our updates and give insight in our development process. If you know any topics we should not forget, please do comment in the whiskers box below, or on Facebook, Twitter or send us an email!

As always, thanks for reading and don’t forget to adore the cat!

QuizWitz feedback by Atsusacon visitors

Last week we had a booth at Atsusacon, a Belgian convention about Japan and its culture, organized for the first time on our home turf, Ghent! We had a cozy experience with people staying to play quizzes about flags and even chocolate.

We installed some poufs for players to relax while they played, and they seemed to appreciate it. People played exactly 100 quizzes about Japan.

Our poll

We came prepared! As people finished playing, we would kindly ask if they wanted to fill out our feedback form. We created an infograph with those results. As you can see, everyone would recommend QuizWitz to their friends, and no one would never play! We think that’s a great result.

Although we were most afraid people would not understand how to set up a game, everyone seemed to be able to join a game with ease. Based on these results our players were between 18 and 25 years old and nearly half of them were students.

Next time, we will edit some of the questions to get more in depth information, and starting today, our poll is also online: ctlb.eu/qwfeedback​

Thanks again and thanks in advance!

Don’t forget to keep the cat inside during a storm.

QuizWitz will be at Atsusacon!

Dear lab cats

We have a short news update for next week! We’ll be present at Atsusacon, so come drop by and play QuizWitz. We’ll bring questions about Asia and its culture.

It’s been a while since Made In Asia kept our organizational skills at maximum level. Next week, we’ll be at Atsusacon in ICC Ghent on 18 and 19 July. We’ll bring questions about everything Asia-lovers hold dear, like the origin of bubble tea, the first manga and much more!

We’re curious about your preference. Would you rather play a quiz round with a theme of your choosing? Or with lots of different questions popping up at random?

Next to that, we’ll bring our buttons again!

[[{“fid”:”90″,”view_mode”:”default”,”fields”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”The CatLab buttons”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”We’ll bring more buttons!”},”type”:”media”,”link_text”:null,”field_deltas”:{“2”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”The CatLab buttons”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”We’ll bring more buttons!”}},”attributes”:{“alt”:”The CatLab buttons”,”title”:”We’ll bring more buttons!”,”height”:640,”width”:640,”class”:”media-element file-default”,”data-delta”:”2″}}]]

And if you create a quiz round on our platform about Asia, we might just use it at Atsusacon! We hope to meet you there

 

3 tools to flesh out your indie game business

Dear lab cats, dear developer friends

You’re feeling ambitious. Your game is nearly finished and you want to reach out to people with all the enthusiasm in the world! Then comes the dreaded question: are you sure you’re ready?

Building a healthy business is a big challenge. We creative developers tend to work on our game and expect the business side to follow. Even the best game in the world can fail miserably 🙁

Thanks to StartIt, we have found a new view on how we handle the market and our models.

(You can also read this post on Gamasutra!)

 

Define your Business Model Canvas

We’ll start off with a basic one. Just one page with frames to fill out. Each of them highlights a different aspect of your business model. This helps you to (re)define your focus and strategy.

It helps you to develop an effective game in terms of marketing position. A smart project defines its goals, cost models and value proposition as soon as possible. To get an even better view on the value proposition you can also use the Value Proposition Canvas.

The business model canvas was invented by Alexander Osterwalder in 2008. He started his company Strategyzer thanks to the huge success of his helpful tool.

 

Assess your business plan with the Pimento Map

The second tool is an online questionnaire that requires a critical mind of one’s project. It then grades its success rate. This number helps guide you in the right direction.

The Pimento Map makes you reflect on the vital elements of your project’s business side. You’ll be able to look beyond your game and take into account the different aspects a projects needs to be successful. Keep in mind that you should fill out the steps anew for each project.

The tool was created by three co-founders who did research in thousands of different businesses to find out what makes them tick. Learn more at

 

Be smart with the Crowdfunding Canvas

This tool is actually a modified version of the business model canvas. Fill in the frames to help you set up your crowdfunding campaign. Keep in mind it’s only the beginning of your preparations!

Most of you will think about crowdfunding and associate it with a web of communication channels, rewards and loads of preparation. This tool helps you to get a clear view of the most important aspects of your campaign. Focus on the why of your project and have the rewards follow that phylosophy.

Just a short translation: Waarom = why, project, propositie = proposition, infrastructuur = infrastructure, promotie = promotion, community, kosten = costs, doelbedrag = target amount.

The Crowdfunding Canvas was created by Dutch consultancy company Douw&Koren. If you have any questions about crowdfunding, they’d be happy to help!

 

Conclusion

We see these tools for what they are; interesting tools. We won’t claim they guarantee success, but they can help you to see the bigger picture and find out what your focus is. You’re entering a competitive business after all. We hope these tools can help you to achieve everything you planned out!

QuizWitz: The Leap Forward?

We’re EXCITED!

Why? Well, we made it into the StartIt@KBC community! And that is a big deal indeed. The organization is backed by some big companies, and that means big opportunities.

The StartIt@KBC community

What is it exactly, you ask? It’s a community of Belgian startups that want to change the world. Cronos, KBC and Mobile Vikings and other big boys aim to support adventurous people like us. We sent in our project Quizwitz last minute to win a chance to pitch for a jury of professionals. Needless to say it went smoothly.

What do we get?

That’s easy. We get an office space for 12 months where we’ll be around other startups,  all working on our dreams. Next to that there will be fascinating events where we can learn a lot and mentor will follow up our project, providing help where needed. Thanks to the vibrant community, we might get to work together with some intriguing people, who knows!

We’re planning a lot!

So what do we plan to do with all this victory? Another easy one! We want to be inspired and reach further. We will learn as much as we can from the people and the events. That way, we can keep doing what we love: create fun games!

One of the things we finished past weekend is the image tool for questions thanks to some feedback from a user! If you want to test QuizWitz, and help us with your feedback too, try it all on QuizWitz.com.

Thanks a million for your support, and don’t forget to hug the cat!

QuizWitz Update: User Experience

Dear lab cats

It’s the end of the month, and we hope you had a blast! Just like we had at the studio. We worked our bright and furry socks off and we’re ready to give you a thorough update.


User Experience

First of all, we worked on your experience with the game. We felt we provided little guidance to help you find your way. That’s why new users will now receive a confirmation email. Of course every account upgrade will receive a nice thank you note too. Next, we added tooltips to our buttons to help guide you on the platform. Whenever you can’t remember what a certain button does, simply hover over it for a second or two and a little explanation will pop up. Lastly, we started working on a tutorial, for which we present an early preview here!

Localization

Languages can be a boundary, but not for us! We created a simple localization tool and started translating the platform in Dutch. So from now on you can choose between two languages already. In due time, you will also be able to filter on language in the search menu, but for now, the collectibles are shown in the language the user selects for the platform. We are looking to add more languages in the future.

The future holds the tutorial and a FAQ, plus a translation for and improvements to the party game. So, what do you think about our new confirmation email, tooltips and Dutch translations? We’d be very happy to hear your thoughts and comments! Just drop them in the whiskers box below!

P.S.

Don’t forget it’s the end of the week, which means it’s time for the Weekly news quiz! Have you been paying attention to the news lately?

QuizWitz Dev: Promo Video

Dear lab cats!

This past week has been one of improving the QuizWitz creation tool, finishing a promo video and a surprising post on a news site in the far USA!

Improving the creation tool

Quite some stuff has changed. From now on, for example, a published beta round can be unpublished. That might help when comments make you aware of a horrible grammar error you made (unintentionally). You can tell how many questions you already added to your round more easily and you’ll be able to translate your rounds into another language in the same go.

Our own promo video

To make you ready for the game, our designer created a little movie explaining the QuizWitz features. Then, our composer friends then added some cool sounds and music. Press play below to see the result.

News post on a USA-based news site

Tuesday, we were surprised to find QuizWitz had been featured on the big USA news site The Inquisitr! They wrote about us with praise, comparing our web-based approach to platform-dependent apps.

Here’s a quote

QuizWitz seems easy enough to set up as a quick, casual party game but also robust in its options to allow for a serious, mental throwdown among friends.”

In revision, it has been a productive week, and it seems we made some new friends in the USA. So tell us, what do you think of our new video?