👽 Undercover Aliens

A hybrid physical-digital board game

CONTEXT Overview

As part of a Collaborative Toy Design Studio, I worked with peers coming from various disciplines (an industrial designer and 2D illustrator) to develop design solutions regarding the toy and game industry.

TIMELINE: 8 weeks

Role: Mobile + Web UI, User Testing, Branding

tools: Sketch, Adobe Illustrator & After Effects

The Vision

Our interdisciplinary team aimed to bridge the gap between the physical and digital gaming scene. Undercover Aliens is a hybrid board game that seamlessly incorporates the use of consumer electronics into traditional tactile methods of play, in order to facilitate face-to-face interaction and sociability.

Concept Overview & Gameplay

A spaceship has crash-landed on Earth, and each player is an Undercover Alien trying to blend in with humans. Players collect Cover, Falter, and Sabotage cards and make decisions that will affect their "Social Suspect Score", which measures the level of suspicion that humans have of you. The goal is to be the first player to reach a social suspect score of 0, therefore successfully assimilating and clearing all human suspicion.

Each card contains an NFC chip and, when scanned into our NFC reader, will play corresponding animations and instructions within the game app.

Production Plan

Background Research

Market Research

As consumer electronics have become a main source of entertainment for young adults and adolescents, a large amount of negative stigma around excessive screen time. Reports say adolescents are playing more digital games and lacking face to face social interaction due to consumer electronics. Over the past few years in the gaming scene, there has been a rise and fall of traditional tactile games, as well as a rise in consumer electronics.

Competitive Analysis

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User Flows & Game Architecture


Tasks executed throughout the user journey were mapped out and grouped into four separate phases:

  1. Connecting to a network: Users found it extremely difficult to use the mobile app to connect to their printer. This task was found to be “hard”, “confusing”, and “annoying”.
  2. Sending a document to print: Navigating the mobile application was “complicated” and some users were annoyed at the long-winded process to print a document from their mobile device.
  3. Checking manuals for troubleshooting: When users did run into general confusion with how to proceed with certain tasks, they attempted to refer to the manuals. However, this quickly lead to a sense of “information overload” and many found the sheer amount instructions to be “overwhelming”.

From the Out-of-Box-Experience tests and user journey mapping, it became evident that many of the underlying issues could be attributed to the HP Smart App. Our next step was to delve further into how we could address and mitigate these issues.

High Fidelity

A thorough analysis of the app's current state was conducted to identify major usability issues and frustrations.

User Testing

While developing the gameplay mechanics, we found it crucial to get user feedback along the way in order to make sure we had a functional and entertaining game on our hands.

We conducted a total of 4 in-person user tests with varying amount of players - two, three, and four player games.

Our aim was to explore user tendencies while playing and assess user understanding, satisfaction, and overall enjoyment while playing our game. We also ran A/B testing with two variations of our instruction manual to gauge the learnability of each version.


A thorough analysis of the app's current state was conducted to identify major usability issues and frustrations.