Designing the Equestrian Sports Experience
The Concours Hippique International Officiel (Official International Equestrian Tournament of the Federal Republic of Germany), CHIO Aachen, offers Nations’ Cups in the five disciplines dressage, jumping, eventing, four-in-hand driving and vaulting. SAP is the official Technology Sponsor of the event, with over 350,000 spectators per year. For 2014, SAP Sports Sponsoring decided to deliver this years’ apps with a vastly enhanced scope and state-of-the-art user experience. The UX designers from SAP’s combined expertise helped identify and leverage the great potential of the original 2013 prototypes. Now, for 2014, the goal was to bring more value to the users, but also to increase reach and depth of the insights provided to users and sports media alike, without compromising simplicity and usability.
We wanted to create an app that was easy to use, right from the start, reflects Viktor Georgiev, Senior Strategic Design Consultant at the Design & Co-Innovation Center from SAP.–
SAP and CHIO Aachen: Audience Judge App Puts Fans in Front
Making Sense of Equestrian Data
To ensure a good and productive start, the User Experience Design team from SAP approached this design challenge with a sequence of Design Thinking workshop, first at CHIO Aachen and subsequently at the SAP AppHaus in Heidelberg. During these workshops, the CHIO and SAP teams collected, refined, and further developed ideas about which scenarios to build. Jochen Gürtler, Design Thinking coach at the Design & Co-Innovation Center from SAP recalls: “From user research, we learned that an overwhelming amount of important data accumulates through equestrian tournament events.” In competitions where judges assess all elements of riders’ performance in real time, collecting as well as tapping right into this abundance of data actually is invaluable. As the audience of CHIO Aachen is well known for their expertise, an important question was sparked: how to empower audience members to evaluate equestrians’ performance the same way as judges do?
That’s when the project team developed paper prototypes to create a user interface for an application to provide information about any given equestrian’s performance during the competition, such as individual marks, ranking, and schedule, in real time.
The User Experience Design teams from SAP created wireframes and tested them with riders and spectators. In response to user feedback as well as based on research by the architectural and technical development teams, a number of conceptual and usability corrections were made and the solution design was iteratively improved to reflect the actual event requirements.
This approach helped to bring the virtual team of SAP experts and our partners from CHIO Aachen quickly into a creative mode that sparked innovative ideas. Seeing the wireframes evolve out of these ideas was a great experience and a perfect basis for a great app,– reflects Henrike Paetz, SAP Sponsorships.
Enabling Fans to Be Part of the Game
With the new and improved version of the CHIO Audience Judge app, an innovative cloud solution powered by SAP HANA, spectators may accurately and quickly judge the performance of riders, vaulters, and horses, live at tournaments. The app runs on both smartphones and tablets.
To accommodate for different levels of expertise, the app allows users to switch from standard to expert mode. Spectators with little knowledge of dressage or vaulting rules or who would rather participate in a more casual manner, may submit their score using standard mode – just a few clicks per competitor are needed to be part of the audience ranking list. While in both modes, users can obtain information about the athletes and their horses, only the extensive, more complex expert mode allows fans to judge all elements of a competition, according to the official FEI regulations. Individual per-element scores are entered and tracked via an interactive timeline. Each score can be changed until the current competitor’s performance finishes. “Due to the app, spectators can be part of the game. They can compare their own scores with those of the official judges and the rest of the audience”, explains Alessandro Sposato, Strategic Design Consultant at the Design & Co-Innovation Center from SAP.
Another fan offering, the interactive CHIO Aachen Quiz, tests the players’ knowledge about equestrian sports in general and about the CHIO Aachen event in particular. Questions vary in their degree of difficulty and present candidates with three possible answers. When time is over after 20 seconds, the answer shows up with an explanation. Some questions are also based around visual perception with pictures of famous riders, horses, and locations.
The Day Challenge, another feature of the quiz, is newly created at each day of the tournament. It is playable twice a day, but answers are only available at the second time. This enhances the thrill of playing while learning more about the sport”, says Susi Benz, Strategic Design Consultant at the Design & Co-Innovation Center from SAP. Players can develop across several stages from “rookie” to “champion”. Social media is also integrated into the app enabling users to share their achievements on Twitter.
Making use of the SAP Gamification Platform, the CHIO Aachen Quiz has proven to be a fun and entertaining feature with quite a valuable informational component for the many fans who enjoy learning more about CHIO Aachen.
If you look at SAP as a company with its culture, that just makes us proud to have SAP as a partner. It is a great company: innovative, technically oriented, and always looking for solutions. That’s important to us: to come up with ideas that have a benefit for the users, not just something nice to have. To achieve this, SAP is the perfect partner for us.– Michael Mronz (General Manager, CHIO Aachen)