The digital age sees things go viral every couple of hours for no reason, but this trend seems to be here to stay. For the uninformed, Pokemon Go is a game by Niantic studios that comes with a social prerequisite; you actually need to go out and walk about to progress in the game. Already better than crushing rows of jellybean, you say. We hear you. Picking up similar ideas and methods from their previous augmented reality game Ingress, Pokemon Go allows you to walk around catching your favorite canonical critters in places you encounter in real life (yes we do mean that there is a ponyta running about in your neighborhood park).
In fact, the game is yet to be released in several major Asian and European countries but has still generated more downloads in a week than Tinder did in nearly 4 years. That is just phenomenal. Reducing stoic adults worldwide to a giggling mass fan boys, the game has also made sure people are actually getting a bit of exercise and spreading goodwill in the process. Win-win, surely.
image source: game rant
But, for all its popularity, what can the app do better from a customer contentment angle to interact and make the user experience better?
After a few nights of catching growlithes and pledging allegiances, we noticed a few places where the app is missing openings to re-engage with users via Push messages and keep them hooked. I mean, we're self confessed fans, but sometimes we all need a little PUSH,
Push alerts on the GO - Ok the game is fun, but who wants to walk around literally peering into the phone all the time? I know I'd rather multitask, catching pokemon on the go while walking my dog or something. But right now, you need to keep your app open at all times to get alerted. This basically means once I turn off the app, or the phone automatically changes screens in my pocket like it annoyingly tends to do, I'm completely disconnected from the game, even if I'm literally walking through a horde of pokemon on my route.
Right now I use a touchlock app to counter this issue, but there really needs to be an option where the game can be allowed to run in the background. This is where dynamic push messages can come in handy, since the user won't actually be looking at the screen in such instances. Sending out short buzzes as and when they walk into a Pokemon will do quite nicely indeed. If they chose to have the tracking mode on during a previous futile hunt, a carousel push alerting them that the particular pokemon has respawned nearby would definitely bring them back to the app.
image source: independent.co.uk
Update Pokedex after crash - As you would expect from a game with overwhelmingly positive virality, the app keeps crashing quite a bit. This is especially frustrating, especially since it tends to happen right after you've caught a Pokemon, and you have no idea whether it broke free
In such cases, a push message if the app crashes, along the lines of 'The Pokemon you caught was successfully added to your Pokedex' with a relevant image/silhouette will go a long way in re-engaging the exasperated user and persuading him to come back to the app.
Team recruit Pushes - Now, this is an interesting one. We're not going to bore you with the details of the teams that are available, or recommend the one we think you should pick (let's just say it's a real shame if you pick Valor or Instinct). But, this is certainly an area where the app would benefit from dynamic Push messages in quite a few ways. The obvious one is to gather your location and send you data on other users of the same faction near you and where they're located (which is useful since you take down and defend what is called a Pokemon 'gym' with members of your own faction against the other two). I know that people right now are collaborating on social media networks for this purpose, so an in-built sidebar that lets them do this, and corresponding Push notifications for this, will be incredibly useful.
image source: magiquiz
Gym notifications - Remember the gyms we talked about earlier? Right now, there's no way for you to know if one of yours is being taken over by someone from a rival faction if you're away from the app. You won't have the slightest idea you've lost control of the territory and that your Pokemon has returned to you, until you actually go back to the app and check your Pokedex. A relevant Push notification would be extremely handy to react quickly when your defeated Pokemon is waiting to be healed.
image source: pastamagazine
So what do you think? You can write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and opinions. For now, we'll leave you with a heartwarming story on how people are using the game to make sick kids happy. And, remember, you gotta catch 'em all!
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