Games Design 2 - Lecture 12 - Usability, Metaphor and Layout


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Lecture 12 in the Caledonian University class COMU346. This lecture covers general usability guidelines, use of metaphors in game interfaces and grids, including the rule of thirds and use of the Golden Ratio / Phi

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  • Games Design 2 - Lecture 12 - Usability, Metaphor and Layout

    1. 1. Game Design 2 Lecture 12: Usability, Metaphor & Layout With thanks to Ed de Quincey
    2. 2. What is usability? “Usability is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use. The word "usability" also refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process.” (Nielsen, 2003)
    3. 3. Attributes of usability • Learnability: How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the rst time they encounter the design? • Efficiency: Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks? • Memorability: When users return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they re-establish pro ciency? • Errors: How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors? • Satisfaction: How pleasant is it to use the design? (Nielsen, 2003)
    4. 4. iPhone Keyboard •
    5. 5. Alpha / Numeric
    6. 6. email / URL
    7. 7. Web Search / Normal Search
    8. 8. First principles: Fitt’s Law “The time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target.” • Use large objects for important functions (Big buttons are faster). • Use the pinning actions of the sides, bottom, top, and corners of your display: A single-row toolbar with tool icons that "bleed" into the edges of the display will be many times faster than a double row of icons with a carefully-applied one-pixel non-clickable edge along the side of the display. (Tognazzi, 2003)
    9. 9. Always consider the user Useful human strengths and weaknesses to consider include: • Memory - people can remember 7 (plus or minus 2) “chunks” of information. • Visual perception e.g. colour blindness • Motor skills e.g. mouse skills • Learning and skill acquisition • Motivation • User’s conceptual models • Population stereotypes • Human diversity e.g. accessibility issues for disabled users
    10. 10. Interface Metaphors “In order to use a computer-based application in an effective way it is important that users acquire an appropriate cognitive model relating to that application.” Richards et al.
    11. 11. “The mouse is a hand and the cursor is a nger”
    12. 12. Metaphors in Games • Many games don’t use ‘default’ UI styles. • Metaphors can be used in icons as symbols • Metaphors can also contextualise your interface and help with immersion
    13. 13. Metaphor exercise 1. Imagine that you have been tasked with designing an in- game matchmaking system that lets (similarly talented) Xbox 720 & PS4 players compete against PC players in Doom 5. 2. Are there any metaphors that you could employ in the design to allow players to nd appropriate games?
    14. 14. Layout • Some layouts feel better than others • What makes a layout ‘feel’ good?
    15. 15. Rule of Thirds • Break a screen into thirds (horizontally and vertically)
    16. 16. • This not only gives 4 parts of the image to consider ‘important’
    17. 17. • It also gives 4 lines which can be used for spacing
    18. 18. • Most often used in visual arts (photography) but applies to interface layout too
    19. 19. Golden Section/Divine Proportion Phi 1.618 …
    20. 20. Golden Section/Divine Proportion • Creating designs on “feeling” –what is that feeling? Phi 1.618 …
    21. 21. The DNA molecule, the program for all life, is based on the golden section. It measures 34 angstroms long by 21 angstroms wide for each full cycle of its double helix spiral. 34 and 21 are numbers in the Fibonacci series and their ratio, 1.6190476 closely approximates phi, 1.6180339.
    22. 22. Grids • If elements are not aligned, it strains the eye. • Vertical / horizontal alignment or grid layouts can help
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    26. 26. Visual layout and elements • Screen resolution and size of monitors – “image-safe area” – Valve do surveys - check out their data. • Design in a style that appeals to audience’s taste – test the design • Organisational / platform design conventions? • Consistent visual identity • Present your message efficiently and avoid clutter • Draw attention to new or greatly changed content • Avoid requiring users to scroll in order to determine page contents – the “fold” concept for web design • Avoid requiring the use of horizontal scroll bars • Use the top and left areas of the page for navigation and identity
    27. 27. Any Questions? • Note: be prompt tomorrow