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Player-centric Game design: Adding UX Laddering to the Method Toolbox for Player Experience Measurement. A Poker case study

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  • UX Laddering = user experience Laddering
  • Overview methods for measuring player experiences and informing game design
  • Benchmark(comparison purposes)Heuristic evaluationHeuristicsdesign guidelines which serve as a useful evaluation tool for both product designers and usability professionals.Common in User Centered DesignPlayability is different fromusabilitya need to go beyond basic interface game usability evaluation to assess additional properties of the game experience including gameplay, story, mechanics.e.g. Desurvire et al. 2004: four game heuristic categories:Game play (functional aspects)is the set of problems and challenges a user must face to win a game2. Game story (narrative)includes all plot and character development; 3. Game mechanics (interface & programming rules)involve the programming that provides the structure by which units interact with the environment; 4. Game usability (sensory & functional quality of game)addresses the interface and encompasses the elements the user utilizes to interact with the game (e.g. mouse, keyboard, controller, game shell, heads-up display).Other:Koivisto and Korhonen (Koivisto & Korhonen, 2006; Korhonen & Koivisto, 2006) (Playability heuristics modules for game usability, mobility and gameplay) Malone (Malone, 1982)Federoff (Federoff, 2002)Pinelle et al. (Pinelle, N. Wong, & Stach, 2008) Fabricatore et al. (Fabricatore, Nussbaum, & Rosas, 2002). Playability Questionnaires Standardized, freelyavailablesurveys are stilllacking…Digital Game Experience QuestionnaireIJsselsteijn, W. A., de Kort, Y. A. W. & Poels, K. (2007). The Game Experience Questionnaire: Development of a self-reportmeasure to assess the psychological impact of digital games. Physiological data (body metrics)Galvanic skin response (GSR), Electromyography of the face EMG zygomaticus major (smiling) EMG corrugatorsupercilii (frowning). Heart rate (HR) from the electrocardiography (EKG), signal. Promisingbutneeds to interpretedwith careSubjective data is important tooe.g. Mandryk, Atkins & Inktpen, A Continuous and Objective Evaluation of Emotional Experience with Interactive Play Environments, CHI 2006, April 22-27, 2006, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
  • PLAYABILITY TESTS Resemble usability testsparticipants represent real users (players)participants do real ‘tasks’ Greater focus on open-ended tasks, e.g. Play the game as if you were at home.Participant behavior and verbal comments are observed and recorded, Data are analyzed, problems are diagnosed, and changes are recommended. Think aloud is notalwaysrecommended (~flow)Rapid iterative testing and evaluation method (RITE) fewer participants are used before implementing changes (1 to 3) but more cycles of iteration are performedusability method used by the Microsoft Game User-Testing GroupCritical Facet playtesttests that focus on critical facets, accompanied with a questionnaire E.g. throwing a ball in the petanque gameoften assessed in a usability test as well as a playtestattitudes about the experience are just as important as the usability (i.e, learnability, performance)usability method used by the Microsoft Game User-Testing GroupInitial Experience Playtest (Formative)@focus on the first hour of game play, it is easily accessible from a research perspective first impressions are a key component of overall satisfaction with a gme.the lessons learned can in many cases be applied throughout the game.usability method used by the Microsoft Game User-Testing GroupDeep gameplayinvolves bringing in cohorts of users in to play a product repeatedly throughout the development cycle and collecting qualitative data from them.a) evaluate content beyond the first hour in a linear or non-linear fashion, (b) expose the same group of users to iterations of the same content, (c) test linear based modes of extended play (e.g., a career mode in a snowboarding game, or multiple levels of an adventure game), or (d) expose users to a pre-released video game so that they have the experience necessary to evaluate advanced features, or features that appear later in the game.usability method used by the Microsoft Game User-Testing GroupFocus Groups provide an additional source of user-centered feedback give development team members opportunity to hear users speak candidly about the game in question. offer a qualitative method of data collection that is used to support and supplement data produced using quantitative survey methods.participants can elaborate on their experience with the product
  • User-centered design (UCD) has been introduced to game development and gained rapid success (Pagulayan et al., 2003), However, UCD techniques are used fairly late in the design cycle,most of the decisions have already been made by the game designer and his team, type of story, the leading character, the setting of the game (thus the mood), the rules, the rewards, etc.Essential factors that shape gameplay are already defined and are not to be changed at this point. Plenty of decisions that should be fed by user research in a user-centered design process are left to the imagination of the game designer.Hence to design for meaningful playit is of great importance to bring UCD techniques upfront in the design cycle of a computer game. not only to apply the user evaluation techniques that are situated at the end of a user centered design but also incorporate the user research techniques that are used at the beginning of any design process.
  • Meaningful playRequires a deep understanding of the player audience that goes beyond simply designing rulesUnderstand how rules taken on meaning for your audienceCapacitiesInterestsContextExperiencesEtc. We need adapted techniques borrowed from UXCultural probesPassion mapsMoodboardsEtc.For instance, different audiences have different preferencesToddlersDevelopmental issues, parental influencesGirlsavoid 2. Structural (game strthe conflict between good and evilcenter on storylines and character developmentavoid competitionuse real-life localesfeature strong female characters who are in charge of decisions and actions; enable users to play the role of main character, either through self-identification or through the power to make decisionsfocus on human relationships prefer non-violent actionreflect girls’ common play patternsSeniors Not only include themes that are associated with elderly life, but more important 1) foster connectedness, 2) cultivate one self and others and 3) contribute to societyWhat should you evaluate?E.g. Järvinen et al., 2002Four components of playability : 1. functionality (mapping input mechanismsucture & rules, player skills actions)3. Audiovisual (sesnory quality of game aesthetics)4. Social (context of use)
  • Meaningful playRequires a deep understanding of the player audience that goes beyond simply designing rulesUnderstand how rules taken on meaning for your audienceCapacitiesInterestsContextExperiencesEtc. We need adapted techniques borrowed from UXCultural probesPassion mapsMoodboardsEtc.For instance, different audiences have different preferencesToddlersDevelopmental issues, parental influencesGirlsavoid 2. Structural (game strthe conflict between good and evilcenter on storylines and character developmentavoid competitionuse real-life localesfeature strong female characters who are in charge of decisions and actions; enable users to play the role of main character, either through self-identification or through the power to make decisionsfocus on human relationships prefer non-violent actionreflect girls’ common play patternsSeniors Not only include themes that are associated with elderly life, but more important 1) foster connectedness, 2) cultivate one self and others and 3) contribute to societyWhat should you evaluate?E.g. Järvinen et al., 2002Four components of playability : 1. functionality (mapping input mechanismsucture & rules, player skills actions)3. Audiovisual (sesnory quality of game aesthetics)4. Social (context of use)
  • Means-End Chain Theory = Marketing inspired
  • A research methodmethod to understandhowspecific features orattributes (means) of a product relate to personalvalues (ends)People choose a product because it has attributes (the means) that provide consequences and fulfilling personal values (the ends)One particular method for research means-end chainsNot the only one but the most popular in consumer research because it proved to be superiorEntails both a qualitative technique (which ladders)How to interviewquantitative technique (which are dominant)How to analyze data and generalize from it
  • A research methodmethod to understandhowspecific features orattributes (means) of a product relate to personalvalues (ends)People choose a product because it has attributes (the means) that provide consequences and fulfilling personal values (the ends)One particular method for research means-end chainsNot the only one but the most popular in consumer research because it proved to be superiorEntails both a qualitative technique (which ladders)How to interviewquantitative technique (which are dominant)How to analyze data and generalize from it
  • A research methodmethod to understandhowspecific features orattributes (means) of a product relate to personalvalues (ends)People choose a product because it has attributes (the means) that provide consequences and fulfilling personal values (the ends)One particular method for research means-end chainsNot the only one but the most popular in consumer research because it proved to be superiorEntails both a qualitative technique (which ladders)How to interviewquantitative technique (which are dominant)How to analyze data and generalize from it
  • Let me illustrate these three steps of my proposed laddering design with short example
  • The first phase of our proposed laddering research design is the exploration phase during which the child is given the chance to interact with the digital media in question. By observing the child, the researcher gets a first impression of his or her experience. Experiences unfold in the interaction with a product, hence can only be questioned when the respondents are able to reflect upon actual product interaction
  • Preference ranking to elicit attributesWhen people are asked to rank two or more products, they will focus more on concrete and visible differences between the products than when the task is to elaborate freely on important product features.
  • Underlying reasons, the motivationsWhat these attributes mean to them
  • Eg. Keyboard version >CA it works with the arrow keys > AA more conventional, familiar > FC easier, less errors > PSB I feel proud, like to play good
  • Eg. Keyboard version >CA it works with the arrow keys > AA more conventional, familiar > FC easier, less errors > PSB I feel proud, like to play good
  • Amateur (n=6): independent of the money that can be earned during the poker gamesSemi-pro (n=6)= poker NOT as main occupationPro (n=6)= poker as the only source of income
  • Amateur (n=6): independent of the money that can be earned during the poker gamesSemi-pro (n=6)= poker NOT as main occupationPro (n=6)= poker as the only source of income
  • Which atttributes are top of mind?
  • 6 interviews of the 18 (=total) have been second-coder: kappa k=0.934
  • 6 interviews of the 18 (=total) have been second-coder: kappa k=0.934
  • 6 interviews of the 18 (=total) have been second-coder: kappa k=0.934
  • Amateur61=% of links above cut of value(normal golden rule is two thirds of data)Why? Learn, get better skillsTo have funDesign requirements:clear, focusVariety in poker games
  • Semi-proHere only one third of the data retained (33 % of all links above cov)Why=Pro sites because optimal game play: more focus, less distractionGet more moneyHow:- Clear interface
  • pro30 % above covAll about the moneySeveral attributes that are appreciated for that
  • Kenmerken UX laddering:Compensate:Experiencing the product and context to elicit attributesClimbing down ladders to concrete attributesAccepting shorter ladders, less laddersClimbing up to values, rather to psycho-social beliefsVarying cutoff levels for attributes, consequences and valuesbroader research domainsrelevance for user profiling, revealing personal benefits of product use, supporting the redesign process, supporting marketing campaigns, product benchmarking, ...

Player-centric Game design: Adding UX Laddering to the Method Toolbox for Player Experience Measurement. A Poker case study Player-centric Game design: Adding UX Laddering to the Method Toolbox for Player Experience Measurement. A Poker case study Presentation Transcript

  • Player-Centric Game Design:Adding UX Laddering to theMethod Toolbox for Player Experience Measurement A poker case study Bieke Zaman CUO, KULeuven – iMinds http://www.linkedin.com/in/biekezaman Presentation at Measuring Behaviour Conference 2012
  • Measuring player experiences Informing game designUser eXperience Laddering
  • Overview methods
  • Physiological data Playtesting e.g. RITE Critical Facet metrics Playtest InitialExperience Playtest Deep Gameplay
  • Physiological data Playtesting Benchmark e.g. RITE Initial Critical FacetExperience Playtest Playtest Deep Gameplay Qualitative
  • Physiological dataPlaytesting e.g. RITE Critical Facet Benchmark Playtest LADDERIN G Mixed-
  • When to use which
  • PIII-approach
  • Marketing final productWhen to use
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/pensiero/100754831/ UX
  • OriginsMeans-End Chain TheoryHow do specific features of a product relate topersonal values?
  • People choose a product because it containsattributesthat are instrumental to achieving the desiredconsequencesand fulfilling values
  • People choose a product because it containsattributes (the means)that are instrumental to achieving the desiredconsequences and fulfilling values (the ends)
  • Means-End Chain Theory inspiredGame eXperience ModelInsight into1. Player2. Game system3. Game context
  • Laddering?One particular method for interviewing and datatreatment within Means-End TheoryOrigins: Popular in consumer researchCurrent use: broader research domainsrelevance for user profiling, revealing personalbenefits of product use, supporting the redesignprocess, supporting marketingcampaigns, product benchmarking, ...
  • What is UX Laddering?
  • UX Laddering refers to BOTH the Lenient Laddering interviewAND the data analysis approach
  • Example
  • Real participants!
  • Product Choice Situation
  • 1 Product Interaction
  • 2 Preference Ranking
  • 3 Lenient Laddering
  • 4 Data analysis Qualitative & Quantitative
  • Real moves Game speed Arrow keys5 keyboard Cuddly toy interaction game Output Hierarchical Value Map
  • Real example
  • What are the motivations to playonline poker (i.c. Poker Stars & FBZynga)?What are the differences betweenamateur, semi-pro and a professionalplayer, if there are any?How does the design of the onlinepoker website influence the game playexperiences and website preferences?
  • n=18  6 amateur  6 semi-pro  6 pro18-28 year olds17 men, 1 womanBelgium, higher education
  • Preference RankingI: “You’ve been playing both onlinepoker games. If you had thechoice, which one would you prefer?”R: “Pokerstars” Interview 6 – semi- professional
  • Which attributes top of mind? DirectelicitationI: “You usually play poker onFacebook, euhm, now that I asked you toplay poker on PokerStars, which one wouldyou prefer?”R: “Yes, now I actually prefer PokerStarsbecause I find it clearer and more user-friendly than Facebook poker.” Interview 15 - amateur
  • Lenient LadderingProbing why these attributes areimportant• I: “Why do you play 6 tables at a time?”• R: “Eh, it is just a matter of being able to play more hands an hour so that you can earn more. It is a matter of playing so many tables so that you think you can always play your best game.”• I: “It is maybe a stupid question but why do you want to play better or be more focused?”• R: (laughing) “Well euh, yes, I want to earn more money.” Interview duration: 6 minutes – 47 minutes
  • Qualitative Data analysisTranscribing the interviewsCoding & categorizingSecond coder ICR (n=6/n =18, k=.934) total
  • Concrete Attributes: – Extra features (time bank, search function, multi table, filters, hand history…) – Stand alone software – Real money –… CA
  • Abstract Attributes: – User friendly – Serious game play – Compatibility – Large user base – Legal –… AA
  • Functional Consequences: – Being more focused – Play quicker – Playing more hands an hour – Profit maximalization – Earn more money – …. FC
  • Psycho-Social Beliefs: – Challenge – Trust – Playing amongst friends – Fun – Better life –… PSB
  • Quantitative Data analysisScore MatrixLadderux.com Avg. ladders/resp= 7.8 Avg. elements/ladder=3.7
  • Quantitative Data analysisImplication MatrixLadderux.com
  • HVM – Amateur
  • HVM – Semi-pro
  • HVM – Professional player
  • Challenges
  • Duration and effort of data gathering andanalysis – Interviewing, transcribing, coding…Research aim – Can it successfully feed the design?Products studied – Not always existing, hence fewer ladders, no values?
  • Bieke Zaman Kristof Geurden master student, poker study KU Leuven, Belgium Vero Vanden Abeele Ladderux.comQuestions? Thanks!