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Exit Game Website – UX Review

May 16, 2015

Last year I had the chance to take part in an Exit Game during a Christmas party event. You may now ask yourself what exactly an Exit Game is.

The short answer: it is a lot of fun!

The long answer: an Exit Game is a so called live escape game. You play with a few other people in a team and you are “locked” in a room and have a certain mission to complete. You do this by solving riddles in the room full of secrets within about an hour. If you loved playing adventure games like “Day of the Tentacle” or “Monkey Island” or reading books about Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple like I did, you will definitely love this kind of game!

I was really happy that LAUNCH/CO, the company I worked for, arranged that game for Christmas. We played in a “battle mode” in two similarly-equipped rooms at the same time (boys vs. girls). It was so awesome that I decided to play another game (mission) this year with some friends.

Recently, the Exit Game company moved to a new location and created some new missions. They also relaunched their website.

homepage

The new website looks and works way better than the old one:

  • the homepage shows a quick intro video which gives you a good first impression of the missions
  • the website uses a fancy “curtain effect” (stationary background images and scrolling content)
  • the website is fully responsive and looks great on tablets and mobile phones
  • there is generally much more useful contextual information – on the main page for example you can see the next possible booking date for each mission and book it directly

You can also find cool little details like the hover effect in the main navigation that scrolls the letters to numbers (similar to a combination lock).

hover

 

BUT, while planning and booking a mission, I noticed two little things that could be improved:

1. Anchor tags for missions

While organizing a mission I had to send the link to the mission I had chosen to my friends. What I did was opening the website and clicking on “missions” in the main navigation menu and on the subpage that displays the missions I selected the relevant mission. Then I wanted to copy the link to this specific mission from the address bar of my browser and send it to my friends. But at the end of the URL there was no anchor, which means I couldn’t copy a link that would lead directly to the section of the mission I had picked. So I had to send a link to the “missions” subpage and the name of the mission, and my friends had to scroll down to the chosen mission.

It is a tiny detail and there are just four games you might have to scroll through, but nonetheless a direct link would be very convenient and more precise.

While reviewing the website I noticed the following: when you open the homepage and scroll down, you get an overview of the available missions. If you click on one of them here you end up at the corresponding section on the “missions” subpage with an anchor.

Based on my observations I would recommend two improvements:

  • When clicking on a mission on the “missions” subpage, the browser should not only scroll down to the appropriate section (as it does now) but also the URL should be updated with the anchor of that section. That way you could simply copy the URL from the address bar of your browser and share it with your friends, and they would end up at the correct section without scrolling.
  • Additionally, it would be great if the anchor also appeared in the URL when you simply scroll through the mission sections. This would have the same advantage: the URL could be easily copied and shared and would point to the exact mission you were looking at. I haven’t seen this technique on many websites yet, but technically it could be easily implemented using Javascript.

2. Participants options

The booking process is well-thought-out:

  • it opens in a new window and you can completely focus on the booking process
  • you get a clear overview of all the steps in the whole process and information about the expected time effort needed for each step
  • you can switch the language during each step
  • the confirmation email contains valuable information to prepare for the game and a ICS file for your calendar (also easy to send to your team members)

The only thing that really confused me was the screen where you select the number of participants.

list_participants_current

First of all it is not that easy to figure out what belongs in each row if they are not separated by lines. Especially when there is so much blank space between the data on the left and on the right side of the table. I would even recommend a hover effect that makes sure that you clearly see which row you select and what data belongs to that row.

The second thing I don’t understand at all is why there are select menus instead of radio buttons. You should be able to choose just one option here. With the select menus you can choose more (this might happen unwillingly if you change your mind about the number of participants and forget to unselect something) and then you receive an error message. This could be avoided by using radio buttons.

Also, each select menu has only two options (0 or 1) and this should not be put in a select menu anyway, because it requires an unnecessary click (one click on the select menu and one click on the preferred option). A radio button just needs one click to activate the certain option.

This would be my suggestion with dividing lines, radio buttons, hover effect and selected status:

 

One more tiny thing to mention is that in the table the word “Spieler” is not translated to “participant” in the English version and the same applies to the error message when selecting too many options.

Conclusion

Beside from the two things I noticed I really like the new website and I am definitely looking forward to my probably awesome next Exit Game!

In case you want to check it out yourself: exit-game.de/en

 

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