Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells | Zynga

Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells is a match-3 puzzle game set in the Wizarding World. It has been awarded the Editor's Choice on the iOS App Store for the past 2 years while only been live for 4. I joined this team as a Senior UX designer, working on repriotizing the value of our content and improving player experiences.


New development feature


Sep 2022 - April 2023


My first 8 months on this team was mainly focused on addressing our revenue decline through features that would increase monetization and engagements. In order to return to previous peak engagements, we needed to prioitize core content over secondary, additional features. A revenue decline also meant that there was a lack of motivation and interest to spend.

Special Delivery was one of our solutions to provide players with additional ways to have fun, spend gold in the game, and earn a ton rewards. Not only was it a new feature that required building a ground-up experience, it also needed to tie back to our core content as to not overwhelm players with more events. Instead, we aimed to supplement them to drive longer-term investment.

Gather data to identify the problem areas

Our team entered this period of revenue decline and low engagement, which we termed Code Red, where product managers worked tirelessly to identify the problems and then collaborated with UX to develop strategies. To further investigate, we conducted research to gather data on daily average users, lapsed players, spend over time, desperate buy conversion rates, etc. Some of the problems were more focused on level design, reward tuning and economy rebalancing; others required robust feature work, redesigns and UX improvements. The latter is what I worked on to solve.


As a long-time player who logs in every day, I need motivation to progress through content.
As a player who is constantly grinding puzzles, I want side events for more novelty.


Get rewarded for their time and efforts


Increase daily retention and revenue


Create a simple but compelling feature

How might we reduce burnout and create motivation for our players so that we can improve player happiness and engagement metrics?
User problems revolved around dissatisfaction and frustration

Journey map illustrated that players' lowest point is when they're progressing through content, from feeling frustration to having low motivation.

Consolidated findings into these overarching user problems and solutions

As a result, these solutions are our overall project goals.

Special Delivery is one of our solutions to provide players with additional ways to have fun, spend gold in the game, and earn a ton rewards

UX Design

Build a ground-up experience
Tie back to our core content

Game Design

A non-match mini game where players pick from 4 unknown items (3 rewards and 1 bad item)

Complete puzzles to play Special Delivery

Open boxes to collect prizes

Howlers take prizes away, but bonus tiers have no Howlers

Complete all tiers to win the Grand Prize

Mapping the flow and determining UI prioritization
Prototyping our solution before transitioning to hi-fidelity mocks

Through prototyping early, we flushed out all edge cases and made necessary adjustments to the flow. We can also determine whether the layout makes sense when initiating action. In addition, during this phase, I began to spearhead the creative direction of the feature, guiding the concept artist for any art assets needed.

🔗 Prototype Link

How can the tier track animate forward to the next tier seamlessly and intuitively?

During the prototyping phase, I ran into this interesting UX problem.
As a player, I want to be able to seamlessly and intuitively understand tier marker progression towards the Grand Prize.

Testing the different options made it clear that Flow B felt the most natural with the least position shifting. The tier marker moving to the right at the end to the Grand Prize felt similar to edging towards a finish line or a goal.

Flow A: Center Marker
- Stays centered throughout

Flow B: Left Aligned Marker
- Moves right when its on the last set of tiers

Flow C: Left to Right Aligned Marker
- Starts left, moves right and stays right aligned till the end

Flow D: Combination of A, B & C
- Starts left, stays center, moves right at the end

Flushing out and finalizing visual design

Since UX leads creative direction, I collaborated with the concept artist to produce new art assets (i.e. prize boxes, background image, etc). All UI assets and layouts were my responsibility in which I also utilized existing assets from our design system.

To better visualize my contribution, I have a before and after concept art mock. The background, desk and parcels were found art that needed further development by the concept artist.

Special Delivery

As a player, when I first see this event, I need to have a clear path to be successful in it.

We have added a non-match mini game to combat burnout and repetitiveness; therefore, the first time user experience is so important as it’s the player’s first introduction to the event.

Before user testing, we had a soft flow in which we didn’t force the player to start the event. Once they do start the event, they get a free attempt to play. The issue they ran into was not understanding how to earn more attempts since the first one was free. I decided to change it to a forced flow so that the steps lead the player to win one puzzle and once they do, they would earn an attempt to play Special Delivery.


As a player, when playing this event, I want to see value in it and how it can help me in my core content and main progression.

One of our pillars is to tie everything back into our core content and main level progression.

We needed to make it feel like the player has earned something for their efforts. By giving them a chance to play this mini game for completing puzzles, they would thus feel motivated to engage.


As a player, when playing this event, I want to see a visual progression as I climb higher tiers.

As I’m getting closer to the grand prize, I want to feel like my prizes are also getting better and more valuable so I’m more motivated to keep going.

Learning Unity to help bridge communication with engineers

Part of our process for UX designers on this team was to implement all our UI onto Unity. It’s a software where I'm able to control how the UI looks and feels directly without having to do a typical engineer hand-off. To achieve the final product, I would also annotate properties and write functionalities as a guide for the engineers, tech artists, VFX artists and animators. It's pretty technical, but I learned tons about micro-animations, coding, performance, and how things are structured engineering-wise.


Working with the engineer, tech artist and VFX animator, I led the project to launch, ultimately shipping this feature within 7 months.
Below are screen recordings from the live product:


more puzzle attempts and wins

of players engaged with feature


average revenue per daily user

spend per attempt

✅ Engage players with a different mode and content, avoiding burnout and fatigue
✅ At the same time, re-prioritize progression towards main puzzles
✅ Create a new motivation through earning rewards


"I like having new content, especially ones that involve earning rewards that are beneficial for my club and puzzle gameplay. Time-sensitive features like Special Delivery motivate me to log in every day and maximize my rewards!"


Received user delight and sentiment via socials!

Key Takeaways

Drive cross-alignment

Communicate and collaborate every step of the way no matter how small you think it is. There was a lot of thrash from changing design direction, but clear communication definitely made the process easier.

Is all feedback good?

Pick and choose your battles. Weigh importance and priority of last minute feedback. As long as we focus on the MVP, we can ensure that production is complete within the timeframe.

Loop stakeholders ASAP!

Visibility to key stakeholders as early as possible. Starting weekly syncs during pre-production process to get visibility and feedback. I constantly led meetings, design critiques and stakeholder workshops.

Negative reviews ≠ bad feature

It’s ok if my decisions don’t accommodate every single user. I will continue to represent users to my best ability. In this case, a percentage of our users may not like gambling, but it’s still an opportunity for them to earn rewards. We got lots of complaints about the feature, but if we look at the stats, 82% of players engage with it which is a lot!