“It amazes me how many people are still on the fence about the WCRA. It really shocks me, because cowboys have looked for this kind of opportunity that wasn’t just for the elite—an opportunity of this magnitude that’s equal for everybody.”
-Trevor Brazile, 24 time world champion
When WCRA (World Championship Rodeo Alliance) came to Praxent, all they had was an idea. That idea was to disrupt the way rodeo athletes compete and earn money. The status quo was athletes chasing rodeo after rodeo hoping to perform well enough to earn money from riding their way to the podium. WCRA saw an opening. What if athletes could compete and earn points that go towards a jackpot rodeo? Now, competitive athletes can earn more than just money in their rodeo season, they can earn points towards a huge jackpot rodeo hosted by WCRA themselves. My role? Design an experience for cowboys and cowgirls (cowfolk?) to that's seamless and highly rewarding to users. I led UX and UI on the project.
The kickers: It had to be done in three months. There was no previous user base to research and test from. The stakeholders were former rodeo athletes and our research group.
The Gates Are Open
The Praxent and WCRA teams met frequently for knowledge transfer. We had to know exactly what needed to happen for users to be successful and WCRA needed to understand how long certain tasks would take. I began creating low fidelity wireframes to reflect the information I was receiving and validating it with WCRA. Post validation, I was able to start establishing baseline user flows and information architecture. Unfortunately, this phase just didn't have enough focus and investment. In an ideal world, we would've been able to test heavily against riders from all over the world, but timelines are timelines.
The primary use case we focused on was allowing rodeo athletes to "nominate" themselves for events. The athlete (in the beginning) would register for the event through an event's site and then come to WCRA to say: "Hey, I'm competing in this event. Here's $50 for my nomination so I can earn points and hopefully qualify for the jackpot event." This would allow WCRA to start earning revenue and allow athletes to start earning points.
As the early renditions of the app came together, it was time to start upping the fidelity on the UI. WCRA wanted a badass, edgy look to their UI. To achieve that effect, I decided to utilize high intensity photos from events as faded backgrounds as reminders to the athletes of the wild work they do. Next, I chose Barlow as the typeface. The slightly condensed serif was bold and crisp, but most importantly, legible at a smaller size. Taking a queue from the logo (their branding was truly nil at this point in time), I adopted the gold color for primary elements in the UI itself. Gold was a no-brainer as it existed in the spur of the logo and was what these athletes were chasing.
WCRA has exploded in the rodeo space as the leader in gamifying competition. Since may of 2018, over $7.3M has been paid out to athletes. That $7.3M was never there for athletes to earn before. Additionally, hundreds of athletes have signed up and actively use the app I designed to earn substantial additional income. Pretty rad.