Re-envisioning the Nintendo Switch Online App

Nintendo Switch Online App
My Role
UX Research + UX Design + UI Design
July 2019 - August 2019
Pencil + Paper + Sketch

Project Overview

In September 2018, Nintendo debuted the Nintendo Switch Online app. The app allowed Nintendo Switch owners to communicate with each other in-game through its voice chat feature. The app wasn’t a fan favorite for Switch Owners, myself included. I decided to redesign the app as a personal project.

The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid console that can be used on the go and at home.

My Role

I was the sole UX + UI designer. My main responsibilities were:

  • Research (Stakeholder Requirements, User Research, Competitor Research)
  • UX Design + Analysis (User flows and persona)
  • Low to High Fidelity Mock ups
  • Prototyping (basic flows and interactions)
  • Usability Testing + Revisions
  • Visual Design

The Challenge

I had discovered that 100% of those took a survey I created have the current Nintendo Switch Online app, don’t use it or its singular feature, the voice chat. How can we engage users to use the app more often?

Solution + Features

I decided to create a redesigned version of the app using research from the NIntendo Switch community.

Process + Design

Research + Findings

Online Survey

Through the subreddit group r/NintendoSwitch I had found posts that contained complaints about the app. I created a survey on Google Forms, which I shared on the same subreddit group. The goal of the survey was to better understand:

  • Their phone usage behaviors + current usage of the Nintendo Switch App
  • Their experiences + feelings with the app
  • What the app could be lacking based on their needs/wants

Survey Results

The main takeaways that I got from the 14 survey respondents were that Switch Owners wanted:

  • The ability to message friends.
  • To manage their friend list.
  • The ability to purchase games from the Nintendo E-Shop.

"I don't use the app so I see no reason to ever do so."

With the the qualitative and quantitative information I gathered from the survey, I was able to create Carlos Caba to represent the Nintendo user base.

Competitor Research

I conducted competitor research of direct and competition to help inform my design direction but understand the flows of other apps. These included

  • Xbox App
  • Playstation App
  • Netflix
  • Spotify

During my research, I read an article about adults reaching out to children through Nintendo's Swapnote application on the 3DS back in 2013. Nintendo shutdown the service shortly after the incident. I decided to abandon the chat messaging idea for the meantime. This left me with 4 prominent modules:

  • Dashboard: would provide Nintendo News, updates about your friend’s play activity, upcoming events and game sales.
  • Friends: view which friends are online, view their game stats and manage your friends. 
  • Nintendo E-Shop:  purchase games for yourself and add games to your wish-list.
  • Profile: view your gaming stats, share your friend code and change any app settings.


I began to sketch out the initial screens for the user flow of each of the modules (Dashboard, Friends, Nintendo E-Shop, Profile) creating wireframe sketches.

Design Principles

For the app to feel like it’s a part of the Nintendo family of games and consoles. It had to be:

  • Accessible
  • Delightful
  • Easy to understand

This meant not only visually but also in flow and wording. Frustrations of any kind should be limited since the range of users was so wide.

Visual Design

I took influences from Nintendo’s brand, current app as well as from the Nintendo Switch's UI elements for user familiarity. This would allow for easier adoption to the app.

Outcomes and Reflections

Since this was a personal project, I had a lot of fun designing out the whole app. Some ideas I have in mind is creating an onboarding process for new users and add micro-interactions into the app's main home screen. What I learned was to keep the scope under control. The project was more intricate than I expected but gave me a chance to explore my skills. Also, even there may be features users want, it may not always be feasible for one reason or another a chat messaging system and the implications that can have.

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