Game Design for User Research / Birga Schlottmann & Marion Couesnon
Open SessionService Experience Camp 2018
Birga Schlottmann is a service designer with a strong
focus on user research.
Marion Couesnon is an interaction designer with a keen
interest in game design.
- Create a safe environment.
- Ease the observation process
by giving participants a different
focus than the study itself.
- Motivate participants to get involved
in the research.
- Bridging different culture and
- Understanding emotional-driven
Why games for user research?
How to make a game?
of games are
Keep in mind, your main aim is to create a magic circle.
To create a game, you need to:
- Set up a goal
- Define rules and turns
- Think of the challenge
- Create a sense of challenge
Research phase: learning about people’s perceptions,
fears and experiences with loans
«The IDEO.org team designed
the Loan Surprise game
to understand what kind
of financial services people
affected by Typhoon Haiyan
might want. By prompting
them to tell the story
of their recovery, we learned
so much about what they want
In the Philippines, 80% of the people doesn’t have a bank
account, mostly because of the heavy paperwork. However
the country have 101% phone penetration. The opportunity
was to create a bank that would be mobile based.
The Loan Surprise
game by IDEO, 2014
Ideation phase: finding new features for a wearable
device in hospital logistics.
«It’s a simple game that everyone knows and doesn’t have too
many rules that distract from the actual challenge of coming
up with fun, new ideas based on the idea you drew from the
stack and the cards you hold in your hands.»
AORTA is a research project to enhance
hospitals efficiency by, among other
things, help reduce waiting times for
patients, relieve nursing staff of
non care related tasks and make sure
consumables are stocked more efficiently.
AORTA game board by
Testing phase: gathering insight to create a more
advanced information system for train passenger
«Being in a fictitious,
but familiar, train travel
context helped our participants
to think about what it would be
like to use a non-existent
The team mixed games principles from the Game of Life, the game of the Goose, and
Monopoly. They also added a tablet on which player could type their questions and
get direct answer (that was operated by a researcher in another room).
TRAPIST game board
by Mintlab, 2015
Which are the main questions you want to have answered?
You are working on a project about waste
reduction. You want to find out more about how
to reduce waste in the daily life of families.
Think of it as a journey and its moments
(e.g; from shopping preparation, shopping, to
cooking, storing food...)
Research task: creating a game in 30 min to uncover insights
Mechanics and com-
petition get more
important than the
original purpose of
the user research.
overwhelmed by a
People doesn’t like
to play games.
caught by the game
(no longer into an
Good luck & have fun!
Birga Schlottmann & Marion Couesnon