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Fun & Usable
Making Better, More Intuitive Games
Catt Small @cattsmall

#UXinGames
O hai!

I am Catt Small and I like video games
I’m a UX designer

#UXinGames
I’m a teacher

#UXinGames
I’m a game maker

#UXinGames
#UXinGames
UX?!
People & machines

Jurassic Park

#UXinGames
Good UX helps people to

Get things done
Efficiently and painlessly
Jurassic Park

#UXinGames
Removes friction

Jurassic Park

Tii Shirt

#UXinGames
Good UX Design increases satisfaction

#UXinGames
Good UX Design gets your game noticed

Jurassic Park

Dots Game, © Betaworks

SpellTower © Zach Gage

#UXinGames
Good UX Design has ROI

#UXinGames
Common frustrations in games

Jurassic Park

#UXinGames
Poor onboarding
What key is the “Evert button”?

Eversion, © Zaratustra Productions
#UXinGames
Inconsistent interactions
Why don’t I die? Why don’t I hurt enemies?

Spelunky, © Mossmouth, LLC
#UXinGames
Mazes of menus
How am I supposed to find anything?

Dota 2, © Valve
#UXinGames
Correcting bad UX
BUILD

DESIGN

TEST

#UXinGames
Discovery interviews
Interviews help you

Find an audience
For your game

Jurassic Park

#UXinGames
The design document
Design documents help you

Define the vision
For your game

Jurassic Park

#UXinGames
What is my game about?
What is my game’s core mechanic?
How should my game feel?

#UXinGames
UX Design & You

Prototyping
Prototyping helps you

Test hypotheses
Without wasting time
Jurassic Park

#UXinGames
Sketching/Paper prototyping

Printable sketching paper, H/T konigi.com
#UXinGames
Pseudo-code programs

Jurassic Park
GameMaker Studio, © Yoyo Games

Construct 2, © Scirra

#UXinGames
UX Design & You

Usability testing
Usability testing helps to

Identify problems
With UX in your game
Jurassic Park

#UXinGames
Bring your game with you

EVERYWHERE
Jurassic Park

#UXinGames
FIVE
PEOPLE

Are all you need

Jurassic Park

#UXinGames
DOCUMENT ALL
THE THINGS!
You won’t regret it.
Jurassic Park

#UXinGames
Rinse & repeat

DESIGN

BUILD

TEST

Until you feel satisfied with your game
Observe good design
Get inspired by others.

#UXinGames
Criticism is necessary
Humility is important.

#UXinGames
UX is your friend!
Persevere and you’ll succeed.

#UXinGames
Thank you!
Questions?
Tweet me @cattsmall.

#UXinGames
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Fun and Usable: Making Better, More Intuitive Games

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Presented at the CUNY Games Festival in January 2014.

Video games are different from other types of software in that people are more accepting of frustrating user interfaces. However, those frustrations can distract players and detract from the fun of the game. How can we learn from user experience (UX) design in order to improve the usability of video games, and how can even the smallest games benefit from UX design practices?

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Fun and Usable: Making Better, More Intuitive Games

  1. 1. Fun & Usable Making Better, More Intuitive Games Catt Small @cattsmall #UXinGames
  2. 2. O hai! I am Catt Small and I like video games
  3. 3. I’m a UX designer #UXinGames
  4. 4. I’m a teacher #UXinGames
  5. 5. I’m a game maker #UXinGames #UXinGames
  6. 6. UX?!
  7. 7. People & machines Jurassic Park #UXinGames
  8. 8. Good UX helps people to Get things done Efficiently and painlessly Jurassic Park #UXinGames
  9. 9. Removes friction Jurassic Park Tii Shirt #UXinGames
  10. 10. Good UX Design increases satisfaction #UXinGames
  11. 11. Good UX Design gets your game noticed Jurassic Park Dots Game, © Betaworks SpellTower © Zach Gage #UXinGames
  12. 12. Good UX Design has ROI #UXinGames
  13. 13. Common frustrations in games Jurassic Park #UXinGames
  14. 14. Poor onboarding What key is the “Evert button”? Eversion, © Zaratustra Productions #UXinGames
  15. 15. Inconsistent interactions Why don’t I die? Why don’t I hurt enemies? Spelunky, © Mossmouth, LLC #UXinGames
  16. 16. Mazes of menus How am I supposed to find anything? Dota 2, © Valve #UXinGames
  17. 17. Correcting bad UX BUILD DESIGN TEST #UXinGames
  18. 18. Discovery interviews
  19. 19. Interviews help you Find an audience For your game Jurassic Park #UXinGames
  20. 20. The design document
  21. 21. Design documents help you Define the vision For your game Jurassic Park #UXinGames
  22. 22. What is my game about? What is my game’s core mechanic? How should my game feel? #UXinGames
  23. 23. UX Design & You Prototyping
  24. 24. Prototyping helps you Test hypotheses Without wasting time Jurassic Park #UXinGames
  25. 25. Sketching/Paper prototyping Printable sketching paper, H/T konigi.com #UXinGames
  26. 26. Pseudo-code programs Jurassic Park GameMaker Studio, © Yoyo Games Construct 2, © Scirra #UXinGames
  27. 27. UX Design & You Usability testing
  28. 28. Usability testing helps to Identify problems With UX in your game Jurassic Park #UXinGames
  29. 29. Bring your game with you EVERYWHERE Jurassic Park #UXinGames
  30. 30. FIVE PEOPLE Are all you need Jurassic Park #UXinGames
  31. 31. DOCUMENT ALL THE THINGS! You won’t regret it. Jurassic Park #UXinGames
  32. 32. Rinse & repeat DESIGN BUILD TEST Until you feel satisfied with your game
  33. 33. Observe good design Get inspired by others. #UXinGames
  34. 34. Criticism is necessary Humility is important. #UXinGames
  35. 35. UX is your friend! Persevere and you’ll succeed. #UXinGames
  36. 36. Thank you! Questions? Tweet me @cattsmall. #UXinGames

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