"Making Wordle I specifically rejected a bunch of the things you're supposed to do for a mobile game," Wardle told NPR. He deliberately didn't include push notifications, allow users to play endlessly or build in other tools commonly used today to pull users into playing apps for as long as possible.
Wardle said the rejection of those engagement tricks might have fueled the game's popularity after all—"where the rejection of some of those things has actually attracted people to the game because it feels quite innocent and it just wants you to have fun with it."
However, the rapid attention can be overwhelming.
"It going viral doesn't feel great to be honest. I feel a sense of responsibility for the players," he told The Guardian. "I feel I really owe it to them to keep things running and make sure everything's working correctly."
But Wardle said he has especially enjoyed stories of how the game has helped people keep connected.
"They'll have a family chat group where they share their Wordle results with one another," Wardle told NPR. "And especially during COVID, it being a way for people to connect with friends and family that they couldn't otherwise see, and it just provides this really easy way to touch base with others."