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Cozmo Mobile App

 

Cozmo App Overhaul

How might we help users discover all of Cozmo’s capabilities through the mobile app?

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Background

This is Cozmo. He can, among other things:

  • express emotions charmingly; he celebrates a win and pouts when he loses

  • autonomously path-plan and amuse himself

  • play games adversarially against human users

His “brains” live on his accompanying mobile app, and the primary target user is a child between the age of 7 and 12.

I was responsible for all UX design efforts on the Cozmo product line from June 2018 to company closure in May 2019.

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The Problem

The Cozmo team was tasked with overhauling the app. Users loved physical Cozmo’s personality but felt that “there’s not enough to do with Cozmo. At the same time, most users did not regularly use most of the app’s features, leading us to believe that there was a discoverability problem.

Ultimately, the business and product goals of all redesign efforts was to improve customer satisfaction before and during the holiday season, which is when the bulk of sales happen.

 
 

 
 

Digging Into the Problem

Discoverability Challenges:

Some activities that Cozmo initiates

Some activities that Cozmo initiates

Robot-side, because Cozmo is semi-autonomous, sometimes users had trouble understanding when they had control, when Cozmo had control, what Cozmo was doing at any given moment, and what he wanted them to do.

Based on the home screen, users didn’t feel that there was much content

Based on the home screen, users didn’t feel that there was much content

App-side, users weren’t accessing and engaging with a lot of content because they either didn’t understand how to unlock the content through the game mechanics, or weren’t compelled to.

 

Engagement Challenge:

Everyday, users had to fill Cozmo’s “Repair”, “Play” and “Feed” meters

Everyday, users had to fill Cozmo’s “Repair”, “Play” and “Feed” meters

The game design team had originally developed a pet-like system in which users had to feed, repair, and play with Cozmo everyday. Initially, this lifted engagement, but over time, the daily requirements became grating and was correlated with user churn.

The view in Explorer Mode, where users can drive Cozmo around

The view in Explorer Mode, where users can drive Cozmo around

In terms of repeated usage, open-ended features, such as Explorer Mode (shown above) or Cozmo Says, outperformed highly structured features such as Games and Tricks.

 
 

 
 

Design Challenge #1: Improve Discoverability

We introduced a “Cozmo’s Free Time” feature to highlight his autonomy

We introduced a “Cozmo’s Free Time” feature to highlight his autonomy

We had a few ideas for discoverability:

  1. Create a new “autonomous” mode where users let Cozmo roam free yet understand exactly what he is doing. Details on the design process are here

  2. Improve onboarding so users grasp human-robot-Cube interaction, app navigation, and game mechanics

  3. Reinforce onboarding concepts through design on individual pages

  4. Restructure and redesign the home screen so that features are easily accessible in a carousel

Successfully onboarding the user during the very first play session involves teaching the user to use and troubleshoot not only the robot, but the accompanying app, the robot’s Cubes, and the user’s physical environment

Successfully onboarding the user during the very first play session involves teaching the user to use and troubleshoot not only the robot, but the accompanying app, the robot’s Cubes, and the user’s physical environment

 

Design Challenge #2: Improve Engagement

A preview of the storytelling feature, Cozmo Performs

A preview of the storytelling feature, Cozmo Performs

We tested out a few different solutions to the engagement problem:

  1. Create an open-ended storytelling feature, Cozmo Performs where users can string together words and animations for Cozmo to act out and say. A detailed breakdown of the design process are here

  2. Surface high-performing features on the top level

  3. De-emphasize features associated with churn, such as Feed/Tune-up/Repair

 
 

 
 

Home Screen Explorations

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Play-testing Findings

A small sample of kids that played with Cozmo and gave feedback

A small sample of kids that played with Cozmo and gave feedback

Over the course of about 2 months’ worth of iterative testing iterations of the app redesign with 40+ kids, we found that:

  • Kids are very comfortable with scrolling and could find all of the content

  • Kids felt that there were “so many things to do with Cozmo”

  • Most kids had an “aha!” moment when they realized Cozmo’s Free Time showed them what Cozmo was seeing, and perceived Cozmo to be more high-tech

 
 

 
 

Final App Design: Before and After

Home Screen: Before

Home Screen: Before

Home Screen: After

Home Screen: After

  • We de-emphasized the meters

  • Kids were comfortable with carousel navigation

  • Kids are extremely literal when interpreting visuals, so we used very non-abstract titles and imagery

 
Games & Tricks: Before

Games & Tricks: Before

Games: After

Games: After

  • We separated Games and Tricks to reduce confusion

  • We locked Mini Games until users played one of the Main Games, where we provided video instructions on Cube placement, to reduce failure with Cubes

  • We added the “Play” meter to this view to reinforce that playing games fills the “Play” meter

 
Feed: Before

Feed: Before

Feed: After

Feed: After

  • Because users were often confused about how vigorously to shake a Cube, we made the hand-holding-Cube illustration in step 2 animate at about the speed that a user was supposed to shake the Cube

  • We placed a progress bar in step 2

 
Onboarding: Before

Onboarding: Before

Onboarding: After

Onboarding: After

 

Below is an app-walk through of the features that were changed in the app overhaul.

 
 

The Cozmo App is currently live and downloadable from the iOS and Android app stores.

 
 

 
 

Project Impact & Learnings

After we shipped the app redesign, analytics from the 2018 holiday season product usage showed that:

  • Our Amazon product rating increased across all markets. Ratings in Germany, our weakest market, grew from 3.1 to 4.1 out of 5 stars.

  • During Black Friday week, we sold 40% more units than above forecast, so much so that marketing moved up sales targets. Overall, we sold about 50,000 units above the original forecast.

We also learned that:

  • While we created the version of Cozmo that earned the highest product review ratings in company history, week-over-week retention did not go up. We learned that our efforts created a much better first impression on users, which fortunately drove ratings and sales up, but that engagement is not necessarily the KPI to look at for sales. Thus, I would argue that overall, we succeeded in improving discoverability but not engagement.

 

For the design processes of the 2 major features mentioned earlier, please see: Cozmo Performs and Cozmo’s Free Time.

See the  Cozmo Performs  project

See the Cozmo Performs project

See the  Cozmo’s Free Time  project

See the Cozmo’s Free Time project