One of the challenges of having decades of experience is it’s easy to become complacent and think you’ve seen it before. It is easy to jump to conclusions, so it’s important to remain open-minded and to look for fresh perspectives. Here are some of my favourite ways to try and stay curious: A playful spirit Playing games is seen as a childish activity, but it requires the ability to learn… Read More »On a mission to stay curious
Examination of specific lessons from usability as applied in the real world or our virtual ones.
For Christmas I received Red Dead Redemption 2 for the PS4, the much anticipated latest game from Rockstar Games, makers of the GTA series. What amazes me is that despite the huge budgets for these games, they still seem to overlook getting the UX foundations right. There is so much time and effort put into these games; the crunch on this game got some press attention at launch, but ultimately… Read More »AAA Games and UX foundations
Recently I spoke at Design Exchange Nottingham about playful UX. I’ve had a long standing interest in games as well as professional career in UX and I thought I’d talk about how they inform each other. Plus if all else failed I might get some people interested in some new games.
I’ve shared the slide deck on SlideShare:
But I thought I’d write up my notes as well since SlideShare wasn’t playing nicely with Keynote.
The intention of my talk is to look at what we can learn about UX from games, what they can learn from UX and whether games can make us better designers.
Learning from Games
The first game I talked about was Monument Valley.
Monument Valley is a great mobile puzzle game that won the best iPad game in 2014. It had about 2.5 million downloads, before it was mentioned on House of Cards. It has a loose narrative and a beautiful clean art style.
When talking about user experience in the real world, architects create some of the most interested spaces and experiences, such as these:
When we consider architecture in games, we are often talking about level design, whether it is the more traditional Victorian London or a more fantastical setting. But level design is the physical system setting for gameplay and often a key factor in designing your experience.
Frustrated with the lack of local UX events, I’ve decided to run one. Thanks to support from both the Creative Quarter and my colleague Wayne Moir we have now got a UX event in Nottingham. UX Notts has its first event on the 19th November and the Pavilion on Lace Market Square. Which will be looking at Agency vs In-house design. Previously I’ve been involved in running events like Nottingham’s… Read More »New projects – UX Notts
Games UI Series
For some time I have written about both my professional and social interests on this blog; covering user experience and gaming, but I want to combine them and look at user interface design in games. I think this is an oft-neglected part of games, especially with the usual budget and time constraints, however as with any software design the usability of the user interface can have a profound effect on the user’s experience.
An advanced user experience on World of Warcraft
Usability in games is not restricted to on screen interactions, there is a such diversity of ways to interact with your gaming platform of choice; be it joypad, keyboard, touch screen, or no controller at all. This makes the platform and method of interaction a key part of the user experience in games, as such I will explore the strengths and weaknesses of these human-computer interfaces.
Some games designers and developers think that creating games is completely different to creating other software, because they are creating entertainment rather than tools. However recently as we have seen an increasing overlap between games and applications e.g. Epic Win we can see that these lines are far more blurred than previously considered. Software development has only recently realised the commercial value of user experience, but games developers often consider themselves the audience as well as the creators, failing to realise that their familiarity with their game hampers their ability to see their product impartially; perhaps more frustrated by the focus groups that require them to “dumb down” games than they are in the issues that may cause that confusion in the first place. While games do need to offer challenges in order to evoke a sense of achievement, these challenges should be designed and deliberate and not a hurdle of a poorly designed interface.
I was delighted to see that Edge has added to its staff Graham McAllister; the CEO of Vertical Slice, the UK’s first usability testing company to focus solely on games. This recognition of the need for usability in an industry leading publication can only help raise the profile of the value of understanding your users.
I’m hoping to write a series of game reviews, which look specifically at the UI and give a heuristic review on their strengths and weaknesses as well as offering possible alternative solutions where appropriate.Read More »User Interfaces in Games
For the last two weeks, my HTC Desire has been off for repair, and Nokia very kindly sent me an N8 to try for two weeks, so I wasn’t stuck with the terrible handset T-Mobile gave me. The only condition…. this review. So here it is the highs and lows of my first Nokia handset, from a user experience designer’s perspective. I was impressed at first, the N8 offers some… Read More »My fortnight affair with Nokia – a review of the N8
Alice Taylor, Commissioning Editor for Channel 4 (and Wonderland blog) talked recently at Game Based Learning, looking at how gaming enables Channel 4 to engage with their target audience of 14 to 19 year old. But also looks at how gaming mechanisms can be used to engage large numbers with an educational agenda. Video of Alice Taylor To see the full selection of videos go the the Games Based Learning… Read More »Games Based Learning: Alice Taylor
This year I was really sad to see that the Women in Gaming conference has been cancelled due to low delegate numbers. I am an avid gamer and I think the games industry is sometimes behind other areas of technology, where it could really benefit from getting more women involved in games development. Often women go for the human focused areas of development, such as user experience or copyright, which… Read More »Ada Lovelace Day: Robin Hunicke
Project Natal was announced by Microsoft at E3 as new interface peripheral for the Xbox 360, which removes the need for a joypad, instead body movement, facial recognition and voice are used for interaction. We have seen similar innovations with the EyeToy for the PS2 and the notion detection in the Wii, but both have severe limitations. The EyeToy is a single lens camera, so it is easily affected by… Read More »Project Natal
Online Event Registration – Powered by www.eventbrite.com At last the ball is rolling… I'm really excited that at last I have managed to get the ball rolling and Girl Geek Dinners are back up and running in Nottingham. I have to say a massive and huge thank you to everyone who has been really supportive. I've never run an event like this before, but what I lack in experience I… Read More »Girl Geek Dinners is relaunched in Nottingham