FIFA is a football simulation franchise developed primarily for PC, Xbox, and Playstation consoles. As a UX designer on the FIFA 20 and FIFA 21 titles, I am responsible for the creation and quality of design deliverables with a primary focus on the FIFA core experience and the newly introduced “VOLTA Football” mode.
VOLTA Football was created with the intent to revitalize the FIFA Street game series (last updated in 2012). With a focus on player customization, personal expression, and arcade-style gameplay, VOLTA expands on the existing FIFA product by providing new and returning users with a casual alternative to the traditional FIFA experience. With an ambitious suite of features, including online multiplayer, single-player story, and character customization, VOLTA attempts to appeal to a wide variety of player types.
As a UX designer, I am responsible for maintaining and advancing FIFA's overall user experience. By joining EA during the middle stages of VOLTA's first year of development, I took on the role of the primary UX owner for the game mode. Additionally, as I am currently the most senior UX designer on the FIFA team, I work with the production and leadership teams to champion UX initiatives and improvements for FIFA 21 and beyond.
Working on FIFA 20 and FIFA 21, I have practiced end-to-end ownership of features, from concept to implementation. This process entails a number of steps, including UX workshops, low/high-fidelity wireframing, interactive protyping, and user-testing.
Over time, my role on the project expanded to include working directly with the Production team in defining and documenting "Change Requests". These smaller scale feature changes allow me to advocate for Quality of Life usability improvements that heighten the overall FIFA experience. By taking full ownership of UX-based Change Requests, I am required to define and document all aspects of the design within a Creative Brief. The completed brief is then passed on to the relevant development team for implementation.
The largest UX design challenge of working on FIFA is the product's yearly release schedule. As the development cycle for each release is so short, it is a reality that it is not possible to implement all intended work within a single year. Due to this, it is essential to be able to communicate the value of potential features or improvements in order to secure the required development time for implementation.
To achieve this, I have worked to introduce new rapid prototyping software for use within the UX team. By enabling ourselves to create more interactive prototypes much earlier in the development cycle, the UX team is able to more quickly present tangible value to the FIFA leadership team.
Another substantial challenge I experienced was the overall scale of designing for the new VOLTA game mode. As I was responsible for VOLTA's overall UX, I was required to look beyond individual features and understand how the entire mode came together as a complete experience. To achieve this, I created mode-wide site maps and interactive prototypes intended to simulate the experience of a user navigating between each sub-feature within VOLTA. This exercise gave me a deeper understanding of VOLTA and allowed me to identify and redesign a number of navigational friction points.
After the world-wide release, both FIFA 20 and VOLTA received largely positive reviews. I feel very privileged to have been a part of bringing VOLTA to life and feel it has helped me to grow as a designer. As the most senior UX designer on the project team, I was required to take on a self-directed role and quickly learned to take ownership of my work, while communicating with several other teams/disciplines.