Case Study: Owlias

April 29, 2015 288 Views
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Case Study: Owlias

Owlias is one of the mobile apps designed and developed internally by MobiDev, currently available on Apple App Store free of charge. Owlias started as our internal initiative, the interest in replacing a board game with a beautiful and fun application. At the time we had a couple of free team members and an idea to work on. Why not, thought we.


The game is about explaining words without naming them. A number of people divide into teams. While one player has to explain a word, other players of their team must guess it. And so it goes in turns. The app significantly simplifies the process of playing, if compared to the original board game. You don't need any bulky playing sets. You don't need countless cards with words. All of it is in your pocket – just launch the little app on your device any time of day and night.


We also wanted an authentic visual image associated with the game. Simply porting a board game to a smartphone without any visual identity just didn't cut it. The designer was given full freedom, and that's what the app started with: investigation as for similar products, research on goals, tasks, and target audience, writing user cases, creating wireframes, creating the central character – up to the ready design and preparations to implementation.


The app is created for everyone who loves this game and simply wants to have fun with friends. With one side note: Owlias is currently available in English and Russian languages.


It's absolutely free; although it could be monetized with adding new categories of words which could be released with updates, to make the game even more interesting and fascinating.


This app is a great way not only to have fun, but as well to keep the vocabulary and speaking skills in good shape. There are no same cards and same words. Players don't play same games twice and never get bored.

  • • There's a total of 6,000 words in English language, and another 6,000 in Russian. Not infinite, but in terms of the game rather close;
  • • A maximum of 10 teams (usually from 4 to 20 players can be involved);
  • • Choosing names for teams;
  • • Choosing different number of words required for victory (50, 100, 150, 200) and round duration (30, 60, 90, 120 seconds);
  • • "Last word guessed by all teams" mode;
  • • "Party Owlias" mode: explaining words with an additional requirement agreed and set beforehand;
  • • Three levels of difficulty (affects the complexity of words taken from the dictionaries);
  • • Showing lists of guessed/missed words at the end of each turn;
  • • Keeping the score.


  • • Custom UI
• Core Graphics
  • • 
Core Media
  • • 

  • • GPU Image
  • • 
  • • 

No back end was required for this app.


The result is a smooth and beautiful application. There was only one vaguely troublesome moment along the way. We had to look for the best dictionaries and check them out thoroughly. But it was a matter of time, nothing more.

Probably most of all we are proud of the visual design. Not only is it recognizable, it's cleverly constructed. There must be nothing to distract players during the game: there's just a word to guess and the stopwatch in the corner of the screen. And all around there are beautiful animations and a cool character to associate the app with.

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