Using Gameplay to Make a Big, Boring, Complex Industry Approachable and Fun

Cordell Ratzlaff (Kapitall)
Design & User Experience
Location: 2001 Level:
Average rating: **...
(2.58, 26 ratings)

There is an enormous population of untapped investors who find traditional financial service sites intimidating, opaque, and dull. Many of these same people eagerly participate in equally complex systems offered through online multi-player games. While most people do not think of investing as a game, we intend to unlock this potential by providing access to financial information and analytic tools through an approachable and engaging user experience inspired by video game design. In this presentation we will show how we applied the following concepts from video games and social networking to create this experience:

  • Graphic overlays of streaming situational information
  • Insight into financial information through an object-oriented user interface
  • Drag and drop gestures to initiate transactions
  • Dynamic missions tailored to real-world events
  • Progressing through levels to reward activities and achievements

Gameplay can be a competitive advantage for web design. Many of the fundamental principles that make for a good game will also keep visitors coming back to your web site.

Photo of Cordell Ratzlaff

Cordell Ratzlaff


Cordell leads Kapitall’s interaction design and user experience. He is passionate about creating products that people fall in love with. He has designed a wide assortment of software applications and hardware devices for all types of people—from six-year-old girls to astronauts.

During a nine-year career at Apple, Cordell led Apple’s Human Interface Group, which designed major releases of the Macintosh operating system from Mac OS 8 through Mac OS X. As a Creative Director at Frog Design, Cordell designed compelling products for companies such as Disney, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, and DaimlerChrysler.

Born and raised in the Midwest, Cordell has spent the past 25 years enjoying the California sunshine.

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Tim Woods
05/06/2010 6:41am PDT

Too slow paced. Most people get the concepts of gaming, and that could have been outlined in one or two slides, but it dragged on and on. Eventually we got to the product, which started off interesting, but again went too slow. Also, the product demo was poorly displayed, with a black background, it was hard to see it properly, and actually looked quite poor, rather than engaging and interesting.

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