Domino's Tablet Testing: Make The App Into A Game

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One of the challenges with a mobile app is figuring out if customers will actually use it. Domino's has tackled that challenge by launching its app first as a game. Not only does this approach give a strong indication of customer interest—pre-rollout—but it also is a practical way to debug. And if the initial version is buggy? Customers are much more tolerant of a buggy game than something with true E-Commerce functionality.

Domino's had an additional challenge: this is an app for tablets, combining screen space close to that of a desktop with the touchscreen of a tablet. What the pizza chain came up with is a way for consumers to make their own pizzas, with the touch intensity and finger distance used dictating how the dough will come up, whether the slices are cut uniformly and how evenly distributed toppings are. It's a game—for now.

"Tablets are on an ever-increasing trajectory," said Dennis Maloney, Domino's VP for multimedia marketing. "Consumers are going to expect a different experience with a different form factor."

This game, called Pizza Hero, is indeed just a game. But there are very practical elements at play here. From a "what can it do?" perspective, this is an easy way to test how effective the tablet's touchscreen is for tactile tasks. From a "what are consumers willing to do?" perspective, the game provides ton of concrete feedback.

Maybe this could be a fun way to order complicated pizzas in the future, such as "two slices with pineapple, three slices with pepperoni, one slice with extra cheese." Will customers bother? Will they actually find it fun? What better way to discover the answers than through a game?

For complex orders, could this approach be more efficient than choosing from multiple categories and then still not getting it right? Back in the human-filled kitchen, might a high-resolution picture of what the customer wants make orders more accurate? Could this support eventual automation, with machinery dropping the toppings precisely as the customer did?