September 18, 2021

What new users want

Chess.com is eager to redesign their website and has invited users to submit their ideas. The winner could take $10,000 and potentially a job. User experience designer Jessi Shakarian has some clues.

Money prizes and possibly a Chess.com job are at stake.

As a user experience designer and a fairly new chess player, I had a really interesting time navigating online chess. I understand that in their redesign contestChess.com is looking to balance their user base of returning players (that, in itself, is varied by ability) with streaming viewers with newcomers. This is actually a really poignant moment for the site to pose these questions: How should the site exist? What is working? What isn’t?

Chess players and user experience designers have something in common – we formulate plans before the opponent, or the user, makes a move. The job of the player and the designer is to adjust and modify the plan based on information. It’s about problem solving within context.

Visual components is one of the last tasks in a redesign. More important is to make sure the site makes sense.

When you hear design you think of the visual components, but that’s actually one of the last tasks in a redesign. One of the more important things is to make sure the site makes sense, and it’s an important thing to do right now. The “Queen’s Gambit” has been hooking a lot of people on chess. How does a website engage that new user base while keeping returning users? This is the question every business must ask. Chess.com is marketing itself around being an online source for all things chess. “Queen’s Gambit” came out in the pandemic, and that was a lightning in a bottle moment for the sport as a whole. Online chess can use this moment to try something new.

This is the task Chess.com has requested when it comes to user experience:

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