Warcraftpets.com Chart: Usability Workshop

A Bit of Background

I play a little game called World of Warcraft (WoW). I’ve played this game since it came out and it’s one of my main hobbies. In the game, I collect battle pets, level them up and try to defeat pet battle masters (sound a bit like Pokemon, well, yes it’s very much like that).

Pet battle teams consist of three pets that you choose. They then face off against the three pets of the battle master. Each pet comes from one of ten families and those families have strengths and weaknesses against the other families.

Getting lost yet? I promise this will get back to usability in a moment, but it is kind of proving the point that to create a usable interface, you have to understand what is being used.

So, to be an efficient pet battler, I’d like a place to go to figure out what pet families I should use against the different battle master teams.

Enter Warcraftpets.com

It’s a great site with tons of information for the WoW pet collector and battler. In particular, it has a chart of the strengths and weaknesses of the pet families.

warcraftpets.com pet families info

There are a couple of charts in that section, here’s the one I was using most:

cheat sheet from warcraftpets.com

Basically, it’s a chart where you can look up what family you’re pet is (let’s say beast) and then see what families it is strong against (critter and humanoid) and what families it is weak against (flying and mechanical).

Sounds good, right?

Well, it’s great information, but I found myself reverse engineering the information that I really wanted.

I knew what family I was attacking (because I knew what pets the battle master had) and I wanted to choose the best pet out of my available pets.

Flip the Information to Make it More Usable

So, here’s my redesign of the chart up on the web.

And here’s a screenshot of the first entries:

screenshot of my battle pets table

What did I do exactly? I flipped the information, so that you start with the enemy pet family. Then you can see what family you should choose to take less damage or to do more damage against that pet.

I also simplified it by taking out the information of what families the enemy is strong against. I’m assuming you have all families available or you want to know what family you should level up to do the best against that enemy.

The Key Is Understanding Your User

It all came down to what I needed to accomplish my task as a pet battler. If you aren’t your user, you better make sure you get the level of knowledge required to design the interface for your user.

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