Design Games


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Would you like your design team to collaborate better? Are you looking to gather more valuable insights from your focus groups and interviews?

Design games are a fun, technology-neutral way of gathering design insights for your projects. In this presentation, Donna (Maurer) Spencer, an expert information architect, will show you how to take advantage of design games in many situations, with all types of people, including:

- Design Your Ideal Page and Role Playing: Facilitates the brainstorming of design concepts and ideas
- Divide-the Dollar: Prioritizes your site’s features
- Modified Card Sorting: Helps you create content categories and terminology

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  • Design Games

    1. 1. Design games for Gathering Customer Insights
    2. 2. About me <ul><li>Information architect & interaction designer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Big, messy projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Websites, intranets, business applications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>9 years + </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mentor </li></ul><ul><li>Trainer </li></ul><ul><li>Writing a book about card sorting – due soon </li></ul><ul><li>I love having fun at work! </li></ul>
    3. 3. What is a design game?
    4. 4. What is a design game? <ul><li>A design game is a fun activity played by a small team and used to provide input to a design problem. </li></ul><ul><li>Design games can involve users of a product, a project team, stakeholders, or even management. </li></ul><ul><li>The most important aspect of design games is that they are fun ! They involve play to promote creativity and idea generation. </li></ul><ul><li>Design games are also hands-on . They are not about talking about an idea, but about creating it. As such, our insights and learning happen from the playing of the game, not talking about the issue. </li></ul><ul><li>They provide something useful . I'm not talking about silly filling-in-time activities that you are made do at training or planning days. Design games should always provide something that you can use for a project. Design games may provide outputs like: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>useful insights for a problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>prioritised lists of features </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ideas for terminology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>an understanding of how people think differently </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Design games are planned and structured . They are not just about getting people in one place to work on a design. They have a goal and are planned so that goal is met. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Why play design games?
    6. 6. Why play design games? <ul><li>Design games are fun . When we have fun we think better, think more practically, and can be more creative. I know that I'd rather play a design game than sit in another endless meeting talking about potential functionality or talking about a design rather than creating it. Guess what - our users & stakeholders would like to as well. </li></ul><ul><li>Design games are a great way to get real involvement in, and commitment to, a project. When a team works together on something they create a shared space and a shared commitment. They are actively involved. When you compare that to a more common approach where one person creates something and demonstrates it to others to 'get their feedback' you can see the opportunity for dramatic difference in real involvement. </li></ul><ul><li>Design games are also very good ways to communicate . Many of the games involve sketching, writing & drawing. These provide much clearer representations of an idea than talking about it. A team playing a design game as part of their process, or a researcher watching users playing a game, will have a clearer idea of what they actually agreed on. </li></ul>
    7. 7. The games
    8. 8. The games <ul><li>In the games that follow, there are three types </li></ul><ul><li>games that have been around for a while as design games </li></ul><ul><li>existing techniques that can easily work as a game </li></ul><ul><li>made up for a particular purpose. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Games to play with users
    10. 11. Design the box
    11. 12. Design the box A box (paper-covered cereal box is great) and thick markers Preparation <ul><li>Participants design the box for a new product (even one that will never be sold in a box), to identify key features and selling points for the product. </li></ul><ul><li>On the front of the box, they should include: </li></ul><ul><li>The name of the product </li></ul><ul><li>A tagline describing the product </li></ul><ul><li>On the back of the box, they should include: </li></ul><ul><li>Key features (3-5 features only) </li></ul><ul><li>Constraints or requirements (again, just a short list) </li></ul>Description Using design games. Jess McMullin, Boxes and Arrows. References End users, stakeholders, design team Who Key features Outcome
    12. 13. Design the home page
    13. 14. Design the home page Coloured paper and markers Preparation Participants design the home page for a website, intranet or application. By doing so, they identify key features and content ideas. The idea isn’t to do the visual design or even have it look like a home page. The idea is for people to identify the main things they would like on a home page, and then make a ‘sketch’ representing the ideas . When they are finished, ask participants to explain what they have included and why. You can use the home pages to identify key content chunks and priority information – it’s surprising how easy it is to spot consistent issues and ideas. Description End users, stakeholders, design team Who Key features Outcome
    14. 15. Divide the dollar Feature 5 Feature 4 Feature 3 Feature 2 Feature 1 Reason Amount Feature
    15. 16. Divide the dollar Online version of this game: Reference Feature list You can provide pretend money, or just tell them they have $100 points to split across the features. Preparation Participants are provided with a list of features (they may have come up with them in a previous game) and $100 to ‘spend’. They distribute the money across the features according to how important those features are and explain why they have divided their money in this way. Description End users, stakeholders, design team Who Prioritised list of features Outcome
    16. 17. Metasnap
    17. 18. Metasnap Metadata Games. Karen Loasby. Reference Cards: print run or perforated sheets Show the actual object or content instead of cards. Preparation One person is the searcher and the rest are authors. Everyone describes an object with 3-5 terms. ‘Authors’ who match terms with the searcher ‘win’ points or get a prize. Description End users, authors, design team Who Keywords, awareness of metadata issues Outcome
    18. 19. Metadata games
    19. 20. Metadata games <ul><li>Beer cooler </li></ul><ul><li>Stubby holder </li></ul><ul><li>Stubbie holder </li></ul><ul><li>Coldie holder </li></ul>
    20. 21. Freelisting <ul><li>Dalmatian </li></ul><ul><li>Chihuahua </li></ul><ul><li>Miniature foxy </li></ul><ul><li>Kelpie </li></ul><ul><li>Great Dane </li></ul><ul><li>Bulldog </li></ul><ul><li>Sausage dog </li></ul><ul><li>German shepherd </li></ul><ul><li>Irish setter </li></ul><ul><li>Greyhound </li></ul><ul><li>Beagle </li></ul><ul><li>Golden retriever </li></ul><ul><li>Poodle </li></ul><ul><li>Spoodle </li></ul><ul><li>Cocker spaniel </li></ul>
    21. 22. Freelisting How to use free-listing to explore a domain. Reference Almost none – just a topic you would like to explore Preparation For a particular topic, participants have to name as many of ‘x’ as they can. This is a fairly common brainstorming method. Make it fun by introducing competition between teams, a tight deadline and prizes for the most items. Very good for getting an understanding knowledge & experience of users. Description End users, design team Who Keywords, terminology Outcome
    22. 23. Freelisting <ul><li>Pilsener </li></ul><ul><li>Stout </li></ul><ul><li>Porter </li></ul><ul><li>Lager </li></ul><ul><li>Harvest </li></ul><ul><li>Octoberfest </li></ul><ul><li>Bitter </li></ul><ul><li>Mild </li></ul><ul><li>Lawnmower </li></ul><ul><li>Heferweisen </li></ul><ul><li>Kriek </li></ul><ul><li>Lambic </li></ul><ul><li>Trappist </li></ul><ul><li>Double </li></ul><ul><li>Tripel </li></ul><ul><li>Russian imperial ale </li></ul>Ale Dark
    23. 24. Card sorting
    24. 25. Card sorting Card sorting: Photo from Reference Same as a normal card sort Preparation <ul><li>In a card sort participants create groups of content ideas in ways that make sense to them, and label the groups they generate. We can gain an idea of how they think about categories and ideas for labelling. </li></ul><ul><li>Make this more game-like by: </li></ul><ul><li>-Ensure the content is fun to work with </li></ul><ul><li>Impose a time limit or have teams compete to finish fastest </li></ul>Description Users, design team Who Categories and language Outcome
    25. 26. Games for design teams
    26. 28. Idea cards
    27. 29. Freelisting <ul><li>Audience Integrity Travel </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult Risk Images </li></ul><ul><li>Personality Impersonal Visibility </li></ul><ul><li>Simple Identity Rigid </li></ul><ul><li>Constraints Colour Pain </li></ul><ul><li>Complex Repetition Listen </li></ul><ul><li>Error Compelling Data </li></ul><ul><li>Sunshine Quiet Familiar </li></ul>
    28. 30. Idea cards Cards: hand write index cards or print on perforated sheets. Preparation Participants choose three cards from a deck and use the words on the cards to come generate ideas for a design issue. Cards contain a wide range of simple words such as: Audience Integrity Travel Difficult Risk Images Personality Impersonal Visibility Simplicity Identity Rigid Constraints Colour Pain Complex Repetition Listen Error Compelling Attitude Contrast Quiet Familiar The card deck can be a single deck or three separate decks (one with emotions, one with adjectives and one with challenging words) Description Design team Who Generate ideas for products, features or a problem Outcome
    29. 31. Design Slam
    30. 32. Design slam Photo from Reference Prepare the scenario and any accompanying background material. You’ll usually need paper, markers, sticky notes etc Preparation A design team is provided with a challenge that is similar to or identical to a current problem. They have to generate a creative solution to that problem. The tricky part – they only have a very, very small amount of time to do it. Description Design team Who Generate ideas for products, features or a problem Outcome
    31. 33. Reframing
    32. 34. Reframing This is more likely to come up during a discussion than as a planned game Preparation <ul><li>Reframing is about looking at an existing problem in a new way. By reframing an idea, you can see new solutions for it. </li></ul><ul><li>To make this a game rather than just an activity, the new frame could be fun or silly. </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. You would like to sell twice the amount of product from your website. Some silly reframes: </li></ul><ul><li>- What would Mulder & Scully do </li></ul><ul><li>What if we weren’t doing this on the web </li></ul>Description Design team Who Generate new ideas Outcome
    33. 35. Reversal
    34. 36. Reversal Questions you want to answer, and a reversed version Preparation <ul><li>Ask the opposite of the question you want to ask (this can be in the form of a scenario). Use the ‘anti-answers’ to look at the problem in a different way. </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. “How would we reduce sales?”, “how would we cause this problem?” </li></ul><ul><li>Make this more game-like by: </li></ul><ul><li>make sure that the opposite questions are more extreme than you would otherwise do </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage fast responses & a volume of ideas </li></ul>Description Design team Who Idea generation, looking at something in a new way Outcome
    35. 37. 4Cs How can we increase sales of our product? Components Challenges Characteristics Characters
    36. 38. 4Cs Reference Topic and 4 aspects to examine Preparation <ul><li>Describe the topic of interest or the question to be answered. Explore these 4 aspects of it: </li></ul><ul><li>Components: what are its parts </li></ul><ul><li>Characteristics: what does the outcome look like </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges: what are the key issues </li></ul><ul><li>Characters: who is involved </li></ul><ul><li>You can use any letter and any 4 aspects – the idea is to look at different aspects of a problem </li></ul>Description Design team Who Explore an idea Outcome
    37. 39. Freaky Friday
    38. 40. Freaky Friday ‘ Freaky Friday’ is a 1976 movie where a mother and daughter switch bodies for a day. Reference Prepare the design scenario and prepare for different roles Preparation Instead of their usual roles, team members take on the perspective of each other to solve a design problem. To get into the role, work on a small, fun project first, then tackle the real design problem. For this to work, team members must remember to take on the role, not pick on the attributes of a particular person. Description Design team Who Empathise with team members, Generate new ideas Outcome
    39. 41. Role plays
    40. 42. Role plays Prepare the design scenario and prepare for different roles Preparation The design team ‘acts out’ a particular problem. They may take roles that they are comfortable with to illustrate an idea, or roles they do not know to empathise. They may do this in front of others to show how something happens now or in the future. Description Design team Who Explore ideas, Empathise Outcome
    41. 43. Planning design games
    42. 45. Planning
    43. 46. Planning design games <ul><li>Design games require careful planning – more than a brainstorming session, user feedback or other less creative method. </li></ul><ul><li>The first, and most important element to planning, is to determine what outcome you want from the session, before choosing a game or activity to use. You can then select a game and approach that will help you learn what you need. </li></ul><ul><li>Other aspects to think about before when you are thinking about how to run the game include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you expect the game to run, end-to-end? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What will the rules, or constraints be? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the actual outputs you expect? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will you ensure everyone is able to be involved? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will the game be competitive? How & what happens to ‘winners’ & ‘losers’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will you make sure it doesn’t feel like a waste of time? </li></ul></ul>
    44. 47. Planning
    45. 48. Creating new games <ul><li>Existing methods and activities that we can make more game-like include idea-generation, brainstorming and training games. </li></ul><ul><li>To make an existing activity more game-like: </li></ul><ul><li>- Introducing something fun or silly just to make it less serious </li></ul><ul><li>- Add a deadline to put a bit of pressure on </li></ul><ul><li>- Add an element of friendly competition </li></ul><ul><li>- Award prizes </li></ul><ul><li>You can also create games from scratch, thinking about what you would like to learn and using any of the approaches here, or something else you have done, to make up a game. The main thing is to keep it light-hearted and fun. </li></ul>
    46. 50. Preparing instructions <ul><li>Then there are the practical logistics of getting ready for the game. A lot of this preparation involves making or assembling props, and writing instructions. </li></ul><ul><li>Instructions should describe: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the purpose of the game </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>what steps people should take to work through the game </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the outcome you expect (examples are great and really help participants to know what they are heading for) </li></ul></ul>
    47. 51. Resources <ul><li>Charette: http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Game Changing: How You Can Transform Client Mindsets Through Play: </li></ul><ul><li>Designing Exploratory Design Games - a framework for participation in participatory design? Eva Brandt. Proceedings Participatory Design Conference 2006. </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitating Collaboration through Design Games. Eva Brandt and Jörn Messeter. Proceedings Participatory Design Conference 2004. </li></ul><ul><li>Inspiration Card Workshops. Kim Halskov, Peter Dalsgård. DIS 2006. </li></ul><ul><li>Mind tools. </li></ul><ul><li>Product reaction cards. Microsoft. </li></ul><ul><li>Training games: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    48. 52. Questions & thanks <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>+61 409-778-693 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter etc: @maadonna </li></ul><ul><li>New : http:// / </li></ul>