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- 2023 -

Dynamic Universal Pickleball Rating or DUPR is a pickleball skill ratings app for player's to submit match scores in order for DUPR's algorithm to provide useful data for users to track their rating and performance.  Social elements allow users to find players near them and to follow other user profiles in order to compare their performance data to that of their peers.



For this side project I put myself in the role of product manager, and took on the task of enhancing and evolving the DUPR app, a pickleball skill ratings app. To accomplish this, I engaged in various responsibilities to drive the product's success. Firstly, I conducted market research to understand the competitive landscape and identify opportunities for improvement. Additionally, I conducted user interviews to gather insights and feedback from the app's current users. These interactions helped me generate ideas for new features and allowed me to iterate on existing ones to enhance the overall user experience. Moreover, I envisioned an entirely new UX design and user flow to further optimize the app's usability.

Despite my previous familiarity with the DUPR app as a user, I believed there was untapped potential in reaching a broader user base. To gain further guidance and align my efforts with the company's objectives, I regularly engaged in mentorship meetings with the Senior Product Manager of DUPR. During these sessions, I proactively sought information about the product and company goals while also sharing my own ideas for enhancing the product.
To provide a glimpse of my contributions and showcase my strategic approach, here are some notable aspects of my work that illustrate how I aimed to drive user growth and enhance user retention within the product.


DUPR offers a distinct primary feature: a proprietary Elo algorithm designed specifically for pickleball skill ratings. This algorithm empowers users and tournament organizers by enabling them to submit match scores. By leveraging the DUPR algorithm, player ratings are compared, and new user ratings are calculated based on the performance relative to expected outcomes. This approach ensures transparency and fairness in competition, as all ratings and user profiles are publicly accessible.
Beyond fostering fairness, the public display of ratings and profiles serves another valuable purpose. It facilitates the process of connecting players who are in close proximity and share a similar skill level. This feature streamlines the search for suitable opponents, making it more convenient for users to find others nearby and engage in enjoyable and balanced pickleball matches.

As a product manager, it is crucial to recognize the significance of DUPR's Elo algorithm and how it enhances the pickleball experience. By incorporating this feature, the product not only promotes transparent competition but also simplifies the matchmaking process, contributing to increased user satisfaction and fostering a vibrant community of players.

DUPR Customer Journey Map.jpg


Despite being a free tool, DUPR had not yet garnered widespread adoption among the pickleball player community. To address this challenge and achieve our objectives of increasing user growth and improving user retention, I embarked on a journey of formulating assumptions and hypotheses aimed at identifying potential areas for improvement. Here are a few of the key assumptions I explored:

Assumption: Users experience frustration when their rating decreases, primarily due to a lack of understanding regarding the factors that influence rating fluctuations. They are uncertain about how their performance in a match impacts their rating maintenance or improvement.

Hypothesis: By providing users with additional data, specifically expected match scores generated by the algorithm, we anticipate an increase in the perceived value of DUPR. This enhanced visibility into expected outcomes will lead to improved user growth, satisfaction, and retention.


Assumption: A significant portion of pickleball players do not find sufficient value in having a pickleball rating alone, limiting their motivation to become users.

Hypothesis: By incorporating supplemental product features that extend beyond skill ratings, such as additional performance data tracking, social features fostering community engagement, and an enhanced and intuitive chat feature, we can attract and retain users who seek a more comprehensive experience. This approach will enable us to capture user growth and retention that solely emphasizing skill ratings cannot achieve.

Assumption: Users encounter dissatisfaction or encounter challenges while using the app due to the dispersed presentation of valuable information, excessive scrolling requirements, cumbersome navigation, or perceived slow loading screens.

Hypothesis: By implementing an enhanced UX design for DUPR that minimizes scrolling, improves user flow intuitiveness, optimizes screen real estate utilization, and reduces screen load times, we expect to observe an improvement in user retention.


Assumption: Users exhibit a strong interest in not only their own ratings but also in the ratings of their peers. However, the current process of manually searching for and checking the ratings of others is tedious and further compounded by auto-corrections for common names.

Hypothesis: By implementing a "follow" feature within the app, allowing users to track and monitor the ratings of other users, we anticipate an increase in user engagement and frequency of app usage. This feature is expected to foster a sense of community and encourage users to become more invested in their own ratings, as they strive to keep up with the skill levels of players in their network.


In order to validate the assumptions, I conducted a series of six exploratory user interviews. These interviews involved asking open-ended questions that encouraged users to naturally delve into topics related to their experiences. The purpose was to gain valuable insights into the priorities and pain points of players and users.
The user interviews proved to be highly informative, providing me with an extensive understanding of the challenges and needs faced by the user base. Based on these insights, I compiled a comprehensive list of potential new features and UX design ideas. These concepts were carefully crafted to address user pain points effectively and have the potential to drive growth in the targeted metrics.
By leveraging the insights gathered from the user interviews, I gained a deeper understanding of user perspectives, enabling me to identify key areas for improvement. The exhaustive list of new features and UX design ideas generated as a result of this process will serve as a valuable resource for enhancing the product and achieving the desired growth in the target metrics.

The below questions served as starting points to guide users to specific topics of interest.  Additional follow up prompts were used to dig deeper and clarify subjects depending on their responses.

  1. Name/Age/Gender

  2. Outside of pickleball tell me about your sports background?

  3. Tell me about how and when you got into pickleball.

  4. How often do you play and for how long?

  5. Do you play gendered doubles/mixed doubles/singles?

  6. What are some of the ways you find players to play with?

  7. Tell me about your current skill level as a player, and do you currently have either a provisional or validated pickleball rating?

  8. How do you currently measure improvement in your play?

  9. What goals do you have within Pickleball?

  10. In recreational play, how do you create matchups to create fair competition?

  11. Do you prioritize playing with people of equal skill, greater skill, or lower skill than yourself?

  12. While away from courts, how do you communicate with people that you play with?

  13. What challenges come with that? And what works well for that form of communication?

  14. If you play in tournaments how do you find the tournaments that you play in?

  15. Do your tournaments use DUPR to validate that players are in the correct rating and age bracket?

  16. Do your tournaments enter match scores into DUPR?

  17. How do you feel about the pickleball rating system?

  18. How do you feel about DUPR’s rating system and what questions or criticisms do you have?

  19. How did you learn about DUPR?

  20. Is there any other information that you’d like to share about yourself as a player, about skill ratings, DUPR features, or functionality?



1. Visibility of Full Names: In the match history, full names of players are sometimes not visible, creating confusion and hindering the ability to identify players.
2. Confusing Placement of Submit Match Button: The placement of the Submit Match button below the scroll line creates a confusing user experience and makes it difficult to locate and interact with the button.
3. Slow Loading Screens: App screens can be slow to load, leading to delays and frustrations for users trying to access information or perform actions.
4. Confusion with Submitting Scores: After submitting scores, a low visibility loading graphic and delay in response cause confusion, leading users to tap the submit button multiple times, unsure if their selection was registered.
5. Profile Reloading: Each time the profile is accessed, even if it was viewed seconds prior, it has to reload, causing inconvenience and interruption in user navigation.
6. Autocorrect of Player Names: Autocorrect of player names creates extra steps and potential errors when entering or searching for players, impacting the user experience.
7. Confusion around "Half Life" Metric: The "Half Life" metric is unclear to users, lacking information on its role, scale, and which side indicates a more accurate rating.
8. Lack of Clarity in Ratings Changes: Ratings changes occur without clear indication to users regarding the nature and magnitude of the change, leaving them uncertain about the direction and significance of the rating update.
9. Small Profile Pictures: Profile pictures, including on individual profile pages, are quite small, making it difficult to recognize people, especially if the pictures are not properly cropped.
10. Redundant Doubles and Singles Selection: The presence of two areas to select between doubles and singles on the home profile screen is redundant and can be streamlined to improve the user interface.
11. Truncated Event Names: Long event names do not display in full, causing information loss and making it challenging for users to identify specific events.
12. Excessive Scrolling: Excessive white space across the app results in a lot of scrolling, impeding user navigation and creating a less efficient user experience.
13. App Freezing: The app sometimes freezes, requiring users to close and reopen it, causing frustration and interruptions in usage.
14. Lack of App Notifications: The absence of in-app notifications leaves users unaware of actions needed, such as validating matches or confirming group member requests, as well as updates like new match entries and ratings changes.
15. Inability to Invite or Accept Group Members: The app lacks functionality to invite or accept group members, restricting these actions to the DUPR website.
16. Difficulty Navigating to Old Matches: It is challenging to navigate to old matches in the match history, especially when a user has a large number of matches, requiring manual scrolling from newest to oldest.
17. Unclear Filters in Player Search: Users find it unclear when filters are active in player search, leading to potential zero results if unintended filters are applied.
18. Lack of Group Messaging for Doubles: As pickleball is often played with four players, the app does not provide a way to message with more than two players, limiting communication options for group coordination.
19. Fear of Negative Rating Impact: Other players may hesitate to participate in DUPR matches due to concerns about negative impacts on their ratings, inhibiting engagement and participation.

- HMW -

DUPR HWM's.jpg


The decision to utilize the Product Expansion Matrix framework for the DUPR project is a strong strategic choice to drive user growth, enhance user satisfaction, and expand market reach. Currently known for its two core features, pickleball skill ratings, and tournament listing/registration, DUPR has established a solid foundation and a primary user base. However, to capture broader user growth and increase overall product value, the introduction of adjacent and complementary features is crucial.
By incorporating adjacent features, the aim is to attract new target users who share similar interests and goals with the existing user base. These features will not only cater to the needs of new users but also enhance the overall value proposition for existing users, leading to higher user satisfaction and improved retention metrics. For instance, additional data tracking and charting functionalities can provide users with a comprehensive view of their performance, leveraging the data already available through DUPR's algorithm. This broader assessment of skills goes beyond a single rating number, offering users a more comprehensive understanding of their progress and growth.

Introducing complementary features presents an opportunity to attract entirely new users who may not have been drawn to DUPR's core features. Implementing social features that revolve around the core product functionalities can foster community building and engagement. Allowing users to follow one another expands the concept of skill ratings beyond personal ratings and exposes users to the performance of their peers within their community. Introducing a notifications tab will enhance user awareness of new match entries, data trends, and social interactions. Moreover, a comprehensive chat feature, accommodating group chats of four or more users, will facilitate communication and planning among match participants, aligning with the community-oriented goals of the social features. Additionally, personalized player profiles can provide users with the opportunity to showcase more than just a rating and a profile picture. Including pickleball-specific information, such as handedness, paddle choice, doubles or singles preferences, and tournament medals won, along with short player bios, allows users to express their personality and establish a richer profile. These complementary features form a cohesive set, collectively enhancing user experience and value.

The introduction of an array of new features necessitates an evolution of the existing UX design. While building upon the familiar layout for current users, the design changes will focus on improving intuitive user flow, optimizing screen real estate, and reducing friction in navigation. These design improvements will enhance the overall user experience and ensure that users can seamlessly access and engage with the expanded feature set.

By leveraging the Product Expansion Matrix framework, DUPR can strategically diversify its feature set, attract new users, and better serve the needs and interests of both existing and potential users. This approach enables DUPR to spur user growth, improve user satisfaction and retention, and expand its market reach in a purposeful and effective manner.




Includes a screen recording to show scrolling required to access the same features



  • UX Improvement: The new UX design for the home screen eliminates the need for scrolling, offering a more streamlined experience compared to the original design that required scrolling through the equivalent of 3 screens.

  • UX Change: The home screen now presents user profiles in a manner consistent with how other users will see their own profiles.

  • UX Change: The chat icon is now permanently fixed to the top bar instead of floating in the lower right, ensuring easier access and improved visibility.

  • UX Change: The upper right menu is now more conspicuous, featuring an icon instead of a profile image.

  • New Feature: A notifications tab has been introduced to provide users with important updates, such as notifications when they are included in a new match entry.

  • UX Improvement: Personal events and clubs can now fit on the singles home screen without requiring users to scroll to the bottom.

  • New Feature: Users now have the ability to showcase their tournament medals in their profiles, adding a new element of personal achievement and recognition.

  • UX Change: The previously used "half life" score has been replaced with a more user-friendly "rating reliability" score. This change addresses user confusion and provides a clearer understanding with a familiar percentage scale ranging from 1 to 100.

  • UX/Design Change: The match history section has been relocated next to the win/loss record, ensuring easier access and a more cohesive presentation of user performance.

  • Charts still need visual improvement.






  • UX Improvement: The new UX design reduces the need for scrolling (swiping) as nearly 3 matches now fit on one screen, compared to just 1 in the original design.

  • UX Change: The personal identifier of whose match history is now clearly labeled at the top, addressing the lack of identification in the previous design.

  • UX Change: The new design utilizes screen real estate more efficiently by displaying information in a horizontal format.

  • New Feature/UX Change: A green medal icon has been introduced as a quick visual indicator of the match winner. Additionally, individual game victories within a match are now labeled with green text for easier identification.

  • UX Change: The performance rating now showcases the user's level of performance in a match, while the "DUPR Diff" provides users with information on how their performance impacted their rating positively or negatively.

  • New Feature/UX Change: In matches originating from tournament play, the bracket level is now included for each match, offering users more context and information.

  • UX Change: The new design allows for user names to be displayed in their entirety, addressing the previous inconsistency where names were shown partially or inconsistently.

  • UX Change: User profile images have been removed from the match history section as their small size did not contribute positively to the user experience.







  • UX Improvement: The new UX design reduces the need for scrolling (swiping) by fitting the entire add match screen on one screen, compared to the previous design that required two and a half screens.

  • UX Change: The size of profile images has been increased to enhance user recognition and improve visibility.

  • UX Change: The clarity of the add game feature has been improved by labeling it with text, rather than relying solely on a "+" symbol.

  • New Feature/UX Change: Green and red outlines are now used as a quick visual indicator of the winning and losing team. Only the winner is labeled with text to avoid using text that could label any user as a loser.

  • UX Change: The performance rating now displays the level at which a user performed, while the "DUPR Diff" indicates the difference between their performance and their rating.

  • New Feature/UX Change: Matches from tournament play now include the bracket level, providing additional context and information for each match.






  • UX Improvement: The new UX design reduces the need for scrolling (swiping) by displaying 6.5 player's details on a single screen, compared to only 1.5 player's details in the original design.

  • New Feature/UX Change: This screen now serves three purposes instead of one. It defaults to a feed of players the user follows, allows users to view a list of recently searched players, and provides search player functionality.

  • UX Change: The new design utilizes screen real estate more effectively, reducing the amount of blank space on the screen.



  • A significant takeaway from this project is the recognition that the strength of core product offerings alone is insufficient to overcome the challenges posed by a confusing and bloated UX design. It became evident that even with good product functionality, its value to users diminishes significantly when they encounter frustration while navigating through features. By addressing UX design issues, we can maximize the value users derive from the product and create a more positive and engaging user journey.

  • The project has highlighted to me that DUPR possesses immense potential to develop supplemental features that leverage its existing data and core functionalities. The foundational technology at DUPR serves as an excellent building block for expansion, providing a strong IP foundation that facilitates continuous innovation and iteration. This realization underscores the opportunities for future growth and the ability to capitalize on DUPR's strengths to drive further advancements and meet evolving user needs.


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