The user experience is arguably the most important aspect of making video games. Effective UX design can make the difference between a game that is a smash hit and one that is impossible to play, can keep players engaged for hours on end or lead them to give up, and can even make or break a studio with class-action lawsuits brought against developers who release buggy games.
Game designers and testers have historically been charged with understanding player behaviors and thought processes, testing their games with real players, and refining them based on feedback. However, as video games have grown in size, complexity, and ambition, devoted UX staff, including designers and analysts, have assumed a more significant role in making sure the game is enjoyable for players.
What Place Does UI/UX Design Hold in the Video Game Industry?
To create a positive user experience that will increase user engagement, retention, and, depending on the product or service, conversion, is the fundamental goal of UX/UI design in the video game industry, just as it is in other industries. UX/UI designers, however, are essential to the success of the finished product in a variety of contexts, particularly in the development of video games.
RecognizingWhether that journey entails following a traditional storyline, as in games like The Last of Us, competing for supremacy in real-time strategy games like StarCraft II, or just solving increasingly difficult puzzles, as in Tetris or Candy Crush Saga, most video games are built around rules, demand interaction with specific elements and mechanics, and lead players on a journey. Players must be onboarded and educated in some capacity regardless of how complex a game is; this is where UX designers excel in terms of helping players “get” what they are supposed to do.
Most video games have rules, require interaction with specific elements and mechanics, and take players on a journey. This journey may involve following a traditional plot, as in The Last of Us, competing for supremacy in real-time strategy games, as in StarCraft II, or simply solving increasingly difficult puzzles, as in Tetris or Candy Crush Saga. No matter how complicated a game is, players still need to be onboarded and educated to some extent. This is where UX designers excel by helping players “get” what they are supposed to do.
Reduction of cognitive resistance
The gaming UX approach introduces challenges to users to entertain them while simplifying the underlying complexities that come along with the challenges, whereas the traditional UX approach is all about solving users’ needs, according to UX Planet. In other words, game developers and UX designers are in the unique position of not only solving problems for players, but they’re also responsible for creating the challenges that players are expected to overcome.
Challenges and solutions must be seamless and straightforward in order to reduce cognitive friction for players and allow them to process upcoming gaming challenges as well as interact with the game’s mechanics to get past them.
Accessibility, usability, and ergonomics.
Video games can pose unique usability challenges because players frequently become mentally and physically entangled with their rules and mechanics. Because video games frequently involve multiple senses and accessibility considerations must be made, UX designers can advocate for players and help with game development. For instance, The Last of Us Part II’s creators were able to include more than 60 accessibility options, enabling players with hearing, vision, and motor disabilities to fully enjoy the game.
Returning the players.
Along with making them entertaining, developers and UX designers add a tonne of features to their games, like progress bars, badges, and other counters that let players know they still have work to do.
Job Roles and Responsibilities for UX/UI Designers in the Video Game Industry
The majority of UX/UI designers also possess technical design skills, such as proficiency with programmes like Sketch, Invision Studio, Proto.io, Webflow, Balsamiq, and Axure, as well as the capacity to conduct and analyze user research, wireframe and prototype, and produce interactive designs and information architecture.
UX/UI designers in the video game industry also need to be knowledgeable about the mechanics of video games and be able to remove obstacles for players without compromising a game’s intended goals. The goal, says UX designer Philippe Chambon, “is not to make the game simple, but rather to make it so that the player can easily experience the game White label casino.