This Sunday, my husband and I rallied the kids for a walk in Ault Park, near where we live in Cincinnati. We were enjoying the amazing trails when we ran across a woman and her son who were winded and enjoying a sit down. She looked a little pale and admitted it was her first hike in a long time.

Pokemon Go User Experience

A Typical Gamer Consumer

“We were Pokémon hunting,” her son exclaimed proudly. It was the first we had heard of the new Pokémon Go phenomenon. Our hunt was on to find out what “Pokémon hunting” meant. That is… as soon as we could hike back up to a stronger signal.

Last night my son announced he had downloaded Pokémon Go app. Today the Wall Street Journal shared that Pokémon hunting has contributed $9 billion in market value in Nintendo shares based on Pokémon hunting.

And that’s just in a few days.

Yes, Pokémon Go is an Augmented Reality Game experiencing explosive growth.

To explain it high level, Pokémon Go uses your phone’s GPS to detect where and when you are in the game and make Pokémon “appear” around you on your phone screen so you can capture them. As you move around, different types of Pokémon will appear depending on where you are physically, what level you are in the game and what time it is. Combining a virtual experience with the real world is known as “augmented reality”(AR). Best of all, the idea of this AR app is to encourage you to move around the real world.  

So this morning I was late for work in the name of user experience and consumer research. (Yes, General Manger Katie McDonnell, research trumped my early arrival time today.) My son showed me the Pokémon Go app. He had already “captured” a Pokémon down at the Presbytery Church, but not the one by the Civic Center…

We were off.

From my research, here are 3 consumer and user experience lessons we can take from the wild popularity of this AR Game app:
  1. Take the Time to Localize and I, The Consumer, Will Love You.

Pokemon Go Augmented RealityMy son and I started at the Civic Center in Wyoming near my home. We looked around and found a Pokémon near the “Doughboy” statue in the front of the building. The app had the history of the statue called out in it. We are a tiny (and super cute) town on the northern border of Cincinnati and Nintendo took the time to upload some info on our town. I’m a fan.

And by the way, I, middle aged Caucasian woman am as much the user consumer as the 15-year old Game Boy shown above.


  1. Build It and We Will Move.

Pokemon Go AR DowntownThe family we met in Ault Park was not your typical family you meet on trails. They were winded and not outdoorsy. The mom admitted it was her first time being at that park, ever.

The app is getting people out and exploring our world. My co-worker, Karl Vanderbeek, our associate creative director of industrial design said that his daughter was asking them every night if they wanted to go on a walk after dinner.

So it looks like the dystopian future doomsday predictions of a life of obesity for humanity as per the movie “WALL-E” may not be…in our cards. (Get it “cards,” as in not in our Pokémon Cards?)


  1. Give Us a Reason to Keep Exploring and Be Social.

Our innovation landscape expert and fellow mom, Jessica Sams mentioned that her sons are playing all the time. Her sons have even heard of clubs already and meet ups.

Personally, we enjoyed a reason to interact with the family at Ault Park. It is a fun new user experience to talk about. So for companies creating virtual reality or augmented reality applications, consider the social implications and create a way for every environment to have layers/levels and more to explore. Humanity is by nature is curious and social. Make it fun for us.


What consumer lessons do you take away from the explosive growth of this AR experience?