Razer Synapse 2.0 – Gaming peripheral configurator

Razer Synapse 2.0 is Razer’s unified configuration software that allows Gamer to rebind controls or assign macros to any of Razer peripherals and saves all settings automatically to the cloud system. No more tedious device configurations when you arrive at LAN parties or tournaments, as the device settings can be pulled from the cloud, and play your game right away.

 

USERS

Pro-gamers who compete in e-Sports tournaments, split second counts to their winning.
Novice gamers who are attracted to the design of Razer peripherals, yet to learn about the advance features that the devices have.

 

TASK

Redesign the desktop software configurator to support the new cloud based technology.

Old design
Singular software configurator for each device, too many separate windows need to be opened.
Hard to localize into foreign languages due to the typeface used.
Software and hardware updates to be downloaded from separate website links.

 

GOALS

New configurator to support all Razer’s devices (mouse, keyboard, headset, etc), including licensed product lines.
New design should be able to be templatized yet still allow new features expansion.
Configurator must be easy to use for new user and pro-gamers still able to access advance features.
Create fresh new interface, yet still portrays the brand’s bold edgy character.
Users’ should also be able to access information about upcoming events and news from the configurator.

 

CONSTRAINTS

2-3 months limit for research, design and development.
Technical limitations due to short timeline.
Have to support both PC and Mac operating systems.
Interface to be localized into many languages.
Newly established one-person UX team.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

Did competitive analysis on what other gaming companies have done.
Gathered information, and eventually sign-off from stakeholders (CEO, Product Developer, Marketing, Developers).
Planned out information architecture, user flow and created wireframes.
Conducted quick usability studies with internal employees who are casual gamers and also pro-gamers who were sponsored by the company.
Produced the visual design for the user interface and provided design specs to Developers.

 

THE NEW DESIGN

Information Architecture
It plays a big role in making a less disruptive user flow and guiding user to easily find what they need in a short amount of time. It ensures that the new design to be easy to use, uniform and still allows future expansions.

Features that are configured often by user is placed on the first tab on the navigation. For example, users customize mouse buttons more frequent than creating new macros. This helps to reduce the amount of time user has to spend to make the changes on the software and focus on enjoying their game instead. Razer devices and the configurator should assist user’s gaming experience instead of being a hinderance.

The features that are product specific is placed on the last tab on the navigation. This allows a more consistent and organized navigation across the similar product line. For example, the “ADD ON” feature is only available on Razer Naga mouse and not on Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Gaming Mouse by Razer.

 

Interaction
For easy reference of the buttons or keys locations, a 3D model of the device that is being configured is included. User is able to click on individual label to correctly change the button settings.

In this new configurator, user is able to easily detect and customize the settings of any Razer devices that are plugged in into the system. The icon of the connected devices will appear on the dashboard on the bottom left of the configurator. Previously in the old design, each device has its own software configurator, thus multiple windows had to be launched individually.

 

Interface
Designing for localization requires good amount of horizontal and vertical spaces around the text area to accommodate longer text. It was tempting to use iconography, especially since the target user group is gamers. However, there is a lot complex features in Razer’s devices that might not be easy to be represented with icons and accompanying text would still be needed, which would end up needing more space instead. To safe the space, I decided to stick to using text for the navigation and menus, while the use icons are limited to action buttons, such as add, duplicate, delete, record and play.

As Razer does a lot of partnerships and licensing with game producers, the new configurator’s interface should be able to be skinned to different themes. Below is an example of the configurator being skinned into Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ theme when any of the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Gaming Peripherals by Razer is connected to the system and being configured.

Razer Synapse 2.0 - Themed with Star Wars™: The Old Republic™

"Razer

Top of Page