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Simplifying Features for New Users

Improving user retention in the Sporting Kansas City app

First Display

~ An Overview

The Problem

FanThreeSixty offers data-driven solutions to create the best possible experience throughout every aspect of a sports fan's journey.

50% of the fans who were new to the Sporting Kansas City app would install it, but after the first or second game, they would delete the app resulting in continued user drop off and loss of capital for Sporting Kansas City.

Sporting Kansas City App

An overview of the Sporting Kansas City app

The Challenge

Due to this, I was asked to be part of a summer associate team focused on creating a solution to improve user engagement and preventing new user dropoff.

We were asked to focus on sharing the newer features and options in the Sporting Kansas City app with new users. We kicked off the project using the following problem statement:

How might we improve user retention by enticing Sporting Kansas City fans to use the app during and after soccer matches?

Pausing for Clarity

My Role:

I was responsible for the initial ideation, research, prototyping, testing, and the design of the project.

The Team's Solution:

We implemented targeted calls to action on the home screen in the Sporting Kansas City app.

The Result – This is a spoiler! Click or tap here to show the result.

The team and I implemented targeted communication cards with calls to action on the home screen detailing each part of the app. This helped new users easily learn about and understand the features packed into each part of the app.

      Take a look at the final prototype.

1.   Researching the Problem

A Cognitive Walkthrough

Before diving in, we wanted to understand how fans used the Sporting Kansas City app. We began the project with a few cognitive walkthroughs from new and current app users, then interviewing them.

We learned that new users were dropping off of the app for two main reasons:

  • New users couldn’t find what they wanted to see because of the multiple avenues of content
  • Most new users were primarily focused on matchup stats not scanning tickets or ordering food

A cognitive walkthrough with a user

A Competitive Analysis

To better understand how we could improve the app, we analyzed similar apps that helped share soccer content with users, such as the LA Galaxy, Sounders FC, and New York City FC apps.

We found that in comparison to other apps, the Sporting Kansas City app was a bit challenging to use. There were plenty of features, but there was a lack of clarity for finding and using the features.

Competitive Analysis

Competitive Analysis of the Sporting Kansas City app features to similar apps LA Galaxy, Sounders FC & New York City FC

2.   Ideation

Understanding the Fans

After honing in on the pain point we wanted to solve, we sat down and created a user persona and discussed what we could do to help new fans better understand the app. Our primary ideas were targeted communication cards and simple notifications.

We discussed our ideas and decided on targeted communication cards since they would provide a more straightforward approach to helping each user learn and understand the app’s features.

User Persona

User persona for a user of the Sporting Kansas City app

Dissecting the User Journey

We looked at the Sporting Kansas City app's current user journey to understand why new users were missing key aspects of the app.

As you can see below, users struggled to find different content within the app because they were hidden or not straightforward.

User Journey

The User Journey in the Sporting Kansas City app


The team and I discussed the potential approaches for onboarding new fans. I made a few sketches of the app’s home section. This helped us to visualize our design decisions before wireframing and testing.


Initial sketches of communication cards in the Sporting Kansas City app


Once we had a key idea of our users and the best approach for the app, I created a few wireframes showing what targeted communication cards could look like.

This helped the team and I iterate on the onboarding options and hash out the look of the prototype for testing.

First Wireframe

The initial wireframes for the communication cards in the app

3.   Prototyping & Testing

Designing the Prototype

Using the sketches and wireframes, I designed the initial prototype for testing. I used Sketch to design and InVision to prototype because of the ease of understanding and lack of a learning curve for my teammates.

Initial Prototype

The initial prototype with small communication cards at the top of the screen

Interviewing & Testing with Users

The team and I tested our prototype with newer users of the Sporting Kansas City app to understand how targeted communication cards would help them understand and become familiar with the app’s content.

Testing helped us improve our design and gather unbiased feedback from each user we tested with. We heard the following:


"I’m not sure where I need to tap and how it makes the app any better. I wish there was a way to know where it would take me before tapping."


"I like how it shows me what features are in the app and explains them. It’d be nice to see more of an explanation for each area, though."

4.   The Final Design

Redesigning from Feedback

By utilizing the feedback we gathered when testing, we understood what parts of the design needed improvement. We understood what parts of the design that would benefit each fan’s experience and what hindered it, helping us easily refine the design.

We made the calls to action clearer and added a description for each communication card. Our goals were to help new users clearly understand the app while making it easier to explore the app’s features and content.

First Prototype

The first prototype screen versus the final design with clearer communication cards
Second Prototype

The second prototype screen versus the final design with clearer communication cards

Testing the Final Design

The team and I tested our changes with a set of users that hadn’t tried the app and a set that we previously tested with.

We learned that the new changes helped bring more clarity to each part of the app. Through targeted communication cards, new users better understood the app’s features and felt the cards would help them use the app more often.

Final Design from Testing

All refined screens of the final design

"The text and buttons are much more helpful. I feel like I know what to expect when tapping on each area.”


"As a newer user of this app, I feel relieved that there’s some guidance at the start. I didn’t know what I was doing with the original app.”

The Final Designs

We shared our findings with the design team and explained how targeted communication cards helped draw users in while learning more about the app's features.

      Take a look at the final prototype.

Final Design

The final design detailing the communication cards which help users better understand the app

Pushing to Staging

Our designs were pushed to the staging app before release, and we saw how they would populate for new users of the app. Unfortunately, Sporting Kansas City and FanThreeSixty parted ways before our designs could be pushed to release.

5.   Reflecting

Looking Back

This project was an incredible experience that was full of firsts. This was the first time I worked in a company setting and on a small team tackling a problem. I learned many different approaches to the design process and the importance of working with multiple people on a team. However, I also dealt with a few struggles throughout the project, which helped me grow as a designer.

Team of Associates

The group of associates I worked with throughout the summer

What I Learned

As the sole designer on a small team, I learned how important it was to communicate with my team members who didn’t know much about the design process.

This ensured that we kept the user in mind each step of the way during the design process. Clearly sharing my findings when interviewing users helped solidify our decisions when we struggled to move forward.


An interview with a user of the Sporting Kansas City app

What I Would Do Differently

Throughout the course of this project, I relied on my understanding of the design processes a bit too much. Occasionally, I was hesitant to reach out to other design team members or associates who could help.

While it took me a bit to move forward because of this. I realized that it wasn’t the right approach, and it doesn’t hurt to ask for a bit of help or guidance when needed.

Since this, I’ve changed my approach when working on projects and ask for guidance when I get stuck in similar situations.

The Team at FanThreeSixty

The team at FanThreeSixty bringing the Sporting Kansas City app and other apps to life

Thanks for Reading!

I appreciate the time you’ve taken to read through my case study to get an understanding of my process. If you have any questions about my time at FanThreeSixty, please reach out! I’d love to discuss it with you!

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