Advent Calendar 2009

21 - Game User Research: Making Games Better

Today, we have more of a slide col­lec­tion. But the main fea­tured pre­sen­ta­tion is the one from Graham McAllister, who is a researcher in video game usabil­i­ty at the University of Sussex in the UK and also runs the com­pa­ny Vertical Slice that spe­cial­izes in User Experience (UX; human per­spec­tive, not qual­i­ty assur­ance) test­ing for games. Most of what I have been research­ing in the past 4 years is already start­ing to be employed in prac­tice by them (quite fas­ci­nat­ing, real­ly).

First, he explains the dif­fer­ent mean­ings of UX jar­gon, such as usabil­i­ty (can I do it?), user expe­ri­ence (do I like it?), user inter­face (how does it look?), inter­ac­tion design (how is the inter­face used?). Then he men­tions that UX is a key fac­tor dri­ving review scores of games (not the tech­ni­cal func­tion­al­i­ty alone), which then dri­ve the sales. He backs up his claims with sales data. However, some games with good reviews may still fail finan­cial­ly. On the oth­er hand, games with bad reviews are not very like­ly to sell well. He then dis­cuss­es two case stud­ies (Assassin’s creed and Bioshock) in terms of suc­cess­ful design intent or game­play flaws. The rise of episod­ic gam­ing demands a high­er lev­el of qual­i­ty even for ver­ti­cal slices of games. He goes on to ana­lyze UX flaws of games defaced by gam­ing mag­a­zine reviews. Continue read­ing

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Advent Calendar 2009

16 - The Experience is The Product

Technology » Features » Experience. Experience is the prod­uct is a three-year old slide­cast from Peter Merholz of Adaptive Path. In his slides, he explains the con­cept of prod­uct design in light of user expe­ri­ence and what design fea­tures suc­cess­ful prod­ucts have. Data » Logic » User Interface was an ear­ly design approach for soft­ware, while now it is more User Interface » Logic » Data. Good devel­op­ment oscil­lates between those two. Essentially, the slides tell us that we design and devel­op for more than an arti­fact, but rather for a whole expe­ri­ence. I find this espe­cial­ly true in game design (again). Continue read­ing

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