What is User Experience?
UX is a sub-branch of Game Design. (If you're curious what are the other roles in the Game Design field - tune in to our Guide, where we explain all Game design Roles. User Experience focuses on the behaviors and psychology of players. UX channels how the players think while performing specific actions that the game requires.
This role relies heavily upon knowing behavioral patterns.
"Going a mile in your players' shoes" requires a lot of empathy and reliance on research. UX Designer's job is to anticipate how players interact with gameplay. What keeps them glued to the title they bought or downloaded. UX Game Designer needs to learn what kind of emotions are driving players' behavior.
But how can they learn about all this?
- They use research methodologies, like surveys and supervised playtests
- Dev teams collect and analyze game data about players to understand how players are acting in real-time
What are the example questions that game UX Designers should address with their designs?
- What is the purpose of this game feature?
- Will my players understand the rules of the game?
- Is game experience from the player's perspective good enough to release the game?
How do UI and UX work together?
First of all, let's clarify the difference between the two, as people often confuse these two roles.
UI (User Interface) consists of the visual elements player directly interacts with. So it's all buttons, icons, and menus (so all the navigation tools) but. All game screens that player encounters during their journey with the game.
Good game UI cannot work without a good User Experience. And to build exceptional, clear, readable, and intuitive Game Interfaces, one needs to understand UX principles and focus on what kind of problems the end user (player) might have.
Importance of UX Design in games
Developing games serve many purposes, but let's focus on two one of the most important ones:
- Creating meaningful, fun, and enjoyable experiences that provide entertainment to the Players
- Meet Business Goals. Meaning - Creating games is a business. And every business should be profitable.
This is important to remember cause if your game will implement good UX practices, you're hitting two birds with one stone.
Exceptional gaming experience helps to bring new players to your game and retain current ones to make them come back to your title.
UX fills the gap between game design and the player. It guarantees that video game design converts into a fun experience.
Mobile and Video Games are a medium built with game rules. They're interactive entertainment and need players' constant engagement.
Games are not coming (at least not today.) with complicated manuals attached. Instead, players are being taught to play the game by just progressing with it and being exposed to new features and game mechanics.
Main principles of a good User Experience Design is to make it understandable to the player and fair.
The power of Feedback - Tip for Game UX Designer
Feedbacks are your primary way of communicating with the player.
It's a response to the action that the player performs. Players need to receive a sign that something they did worked or was a failure. Or it can be simply used as a rewarding feeling that something that the Player did worked ultra well. Remember when we told you that the player's emotions have significant value here? ;)
Types of feedback used in games
- controller vibrations
What are the most wanted skills and traits for UX Game Designers?
- Empathy - Being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes is by far the most crucial skill for a UX Designer. You need to decipher what kind of problems your players might encounter. What from their point of view could be improved to make their experience more enjoyable. But that is not the only useful when it comes to reading the players' behavior. It could be helpful to understand pov of your fellow teammates. With a dose of empathy, you can more easily grasp where your colleague - game designer comes from when s/he decides to prepare a specific challenge for your players. This also brings us to the second very important skill...
- Interpersonal / Social Skills - As a video game designer, you work as a bridge between different teams and departments. That also means that sometimes you'll need to have difficult conversations to push all practices that would work the best from a Player's perspective while also managing the expectations of various stakeholders.
- Confidence - that's why you need to be confident and know how to back up your ideas. Sometimes particular UX features may be harder to develop but you need to know how to persuade your team and other stakeholders that going with good UX practices will end up making a better and more enjoyable product.
- Visual Tools - your job is to bring the team on board with your ideas and prototypes. You need to know how to translate that into a visible, easy-to-understand way. It doesn't need to be beautiful; you don't need to become a master of graphic design. Your concepts and ideas should be clear and readable for the rest.
That sums up our article about UX game Designers - very important in each design team role, not only in the game industry. If you have any additional questions - remember to find us on our socials!Tweet