A Couple Words on Candy Crush

So. The Candy Crush Redesign.. 

A little background…

I have been a faithful Candy Crusher since it first went viral and have never quite been able to put it down. It is probably my most consistently used app on my phone (I will check it at least once a day, and by check, I mean use up all 5 lives). I am currently stuck on level 1236 --> actually any help/advice as to how to get past this level would be much appreciated.

So it’s safe to say that I am quite familiar with the interface.

Now this.

I woke up one fateful morning and discovered that the once friendly (somewhat childish in a good way) interface transformed into… well this…


The old interface was never quite perfect from an aesthetics perspective – at least it was never my cup of tea. That said, it was everything it needed to be. It served as the friendly, inviting portal for the younger users but was also clean enough to not totally put off the more “mature” users (i.e. Adam Levine from Maroon 5).

SOURCE: https://emcedesign.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/screen-shot-2013-03-25-at-5-27-47-am.png

SOURCE: https://emcedesign.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/screen-shot-2013-03-25-at-5-27-47-am.png

Which I guess is exactly my point here. This new version of Candy Crush completely forgets that it has a loyal following among millennials. When I first opened the game and started on my level, I was overwhelmed.

In this redesign they had cranked up the shadows, highlights, and saturation. While this definitely creates for a more striking visual, it is definitely not what you want in a screen filled with content.

As a static image, there is an incredible amount of information to take in. On the jelly pieces alone, there are 5 different highlights. Now couple this with colorful (and equally aggressively highlighted) pieces of candy, one could stare at this image for hours on end. But that’s not where this ends. There are animations. The animations pre-redesign were always intricate enough that watching them was really quite an enjoyable experience.  Now they’ve taken it from a 10 to a 10,000,000,000. All of a sudden each exploding piece of candy became a spectacle, with little shards flying in all directions and the next row bouncing in (among a myriad of other things). In a lot of ways this is almost reminiscent of the phase that most of us experienced as we first discovered transitions in PowerPoint: all of a sudden every element on every slide had a different animation because “it looks cool”. As we mature, we begin to understand that this doesn’t work.

“Looking cool” is never going to be as important as what you are trying to accomplish with your visual. In this case, in an attempt to make it “look cool”, Candy Crush forgot about how their users interact with their product.

 Their success is crucially tied with their ability to keep their users focused on their app. And yes, the new interface is nothing if not interesting to look at, but in the context of the game, it becomes exhausting to interact with. When all it takes to exit and app is the click of a button, Candy Crush simply cannot afford to create an environment for its users that is anything less than perfectly comfortable. So please, Candy Crush designers, zoom out for a moment and recognize that with so much information on your screen, “adding intricate details” belongs on a list of things not to do.

*I could totally be the only user who finds that they are using this game less because of how visually taxing it is now, but this is just my two cents.