The UX of Online Tennis Ladders

They all suck.  How hard is this?  The rules are simple.  The business model is simple.

  1. People register and join a ladder.  It costs a minimal amount per player, like 25 cents a month per player.
  2. Ladders have rankings for each player in the ladder. 1-n.
  3. Each player has a history of matches that can be looked up.
  4. Players can challenge a player higher up on the ladder.
    1. Option for how many spots up to challenge.
    2. The other player accepts/declines.
    3. The winner posts the score and the loser gets emailed.
    4. Maybe even they have the option of “challenging” the score.
    5. Ladder adjusts the rankings based on wins losses.
  5. Options for how long you can go without playing a match or accepting a challenge.
  6. Admin ability to force a ranking, boot a player, accept a new player.

This is not a complicated application.  Sure, you have a few rules, but the ladders out there are terrible.  They are way too hard to use and too expensive.  This is the kind of system that would just work and you collect the income.  There is not alot of traffic or SQL activity.

There is a decent business here.  Businesses are good when they make money without work put into them.  I can totally see a system like this being expanded to include all kinds of leagues.  A little Web 2.0, a little simple graphic design…man, I wish I had enough money to build stuff like this full time.  When Marketo goes IPO and I buy that mansion, I think I will start a small tech company where we build stuff like this all day long.

It’s good to have a dream.  Like solving world hunger.  Or a decent tennis ladder.

5 replies on “The UX of Online Tennis Ladders”

I see the payment stuff as the primary blocker from building this right now (apart from lack of resources…). You’ll need to accept different sorts of payments, and you don’t want to deal with creditcards directly. A third-party provider wants his share, so you need some investment apart from a designer and a developer to start.

How would you tackle that? Is there some magic micro-payment interface I don’t know about?

Seems like an interesting business idea.

It’s one of those areas where a simple, functional UX could be a differentiator.

I agree with Jorn on payments being a pain in the neck.

I’m rooting for Marketo going public someday.

Whatya think?