Bela Blok Pro

• 4 min read

Tracking the score in a game of belote is traditionally done in a notepad, but the goal is to save trees and replace paper with an app.

Bela Blok Pro cover picture

About

Living in 🇭🇷Croatia means great food, beautiful coast, and playing Belot (A.K.A. Bela).
The game Belot has a somewhat complicated way of tracking score. Tracking the score is traditionally done in a notepad, but with App Store Gold Rush some apps have emerged to help you with it. Although they beat pen and paper, they are not good. And the worst part is, we're still using them today.

Recently, the app we used the most was removed from the App Store due to lack of support from the developer. It is time for a change!

My Role

Since this is a personal project, my role is to create everything from scratch. From visual identity, through UI/UX design, to coding the app in the end.

Current Solutions

I'm going to focus on the most used app for score tracking in Belot. It is, although not great by any stretch of the word, better than all the competition.

  • It takes up to two taps to start score input.
  • Score input screen is not intuitive. Two score input categories are mixed into one number which leads to a very confusing experience.
  • The app was created with smaller phones in mind. Most of the UI does not scale well for bigger phones we have today.

Objectives

Aside from the awful UI, user experience in any of existing apps is horrible. The score input is very confusing and some elements are difficult to read and understand. My objective is to reinvent score input and significantly improve on the UI.

  • Halve the number of taps needed for starting the score input.
  • Make score input process as frictionless as possible.
  • Design must scale well and work on iPhone SE, as well as iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Prototype

Final score input flow looks like this

Solving Challenges

Starting the Score Input

  1. User can now choose the team they want to input the score for right away from the main app screen.
  2. The score fields were made to feel like a tappable elements.

Simplifying the Score Input

Since one part (declarations) of tracking the score is based on recalling the round just played, there are often corrections when inputing the score.

Moreover, declarations are just combinations of numbers 20, 50, 90, 100, 150 and 200. There is no need to use the number pad to input them. They can be separate buttons.

Mockups

iPhone SE (1st Generation)

Here's a mockup of the app on the old iPhone SE

What I Learned

I learned that you shouldn't take things as they are if you don't like them. As I'm currently using an alpha version of this app, I realized it has made my life just a bit easier. That is why I will finish this case study with my favorite quote from Steve Jobs:

Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.

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