Importance of UX in Games
Learn about the do’s and don’ts of UX design in Games.
In a nutshell - Games are Experiences. The players of a game are drawn towards the unique and amazing experiences that the game provides and this is the key element in any game’s success. A proper experience for the players can make a game shine and provide the optimal amount of fun that the player experiences. Similarly, a bad experience can cause the player to drop the game altogether. This is where UX or User Experience design comes in for the Game Developers.
UX is the experience the player feels both emotionally and physically while interacting with the game. UX is often used interchangeably with UI, however, while UI deals with the visual elements of the game, UX deals with the overall feel of the game. As a matter of fact, UI is a part of UX.
UX design delves into various disciplines including the visuals of the game, the tactical feel of the game, and also the psychological aspect of the game.
The necessity of a proper UX Design
Enhancing the Experience of the Player The primary job of UX Design is to enhance the experience of the player while playing a game. This can range from designing the flow of the game, Finding the right aesthetics for the game, or even provide proper feedback to the player’s actions.
Improving Visual Appeal Improved Visual Appeal can make the player love the game even more and can be a major factor in grasping player’s attention. The role of a UX designer is also to find the right visual direction and work together with the art directors and artists to provide the best experience to the player.
Improving Auditory feel Audio also falls into UX design as it can enhance the experience of a player by making the world or the game more immersive to the player. This can result in providing a great experience if done right.
Improving Player Retention With proper UX design, the player can opt to play the game for more time because of the great experiences that game provides. Players play the game for the experiences and a good experience is what they’ll stay hooked to the game for.
Providing Ease of Access to inputs and interactions UX Design is also helpful to make the game more Accessible. Also the more accessible or easy to use a game is, the more the player would want to play it. Accessibility ranges from the game itself to the menus and secondary functions. Providing well-planned interactions will result in reducing the frustration of the player and also provide the player with ample opportunities to take correct decisions without getting caught up in a jumbled mess of buttons and sliders.
Enhancing the Tactical and Emotional aspects of the game Since games are an experience of both mind and body, proper UX Design can provide an enhancement to both the Tactical and Emotional aspects of the game. Any physical interactions must have a proper tactical feel to it and should provide the proper feedback as well as give the emotional feedback the ongoing scenario must provide. Feedback is the key to a good game and building up a good UX can work like a charm to enhance these aspects of the Game.
Making the perfect UX Design for your Game
Stick to the Visual Style of your game One of the greatest ways in which you can improve the UX of your game is by simply following a similar design language throughout your game. Remember, the key is the cohesion between all the design elements in a game. A game with design cues ranging all over the place can make the game feel messy and unpolished. For example, when you are making a horror game using funky, cartoony text can make your game less appealing and can break away from the seriousness. Typography is an extremely important part of UX and should not be ignored. Conversely, if you want to make a Horror-Comedy game then a design choice that intentionally juxtaposes funny elements with serious ones is what is advisable. Go with whatever suits the theme and stick with it at all times.
Focus on the Audio too Since UX Design is primarily thought of as a Visual Discipline the Audio aspect of it might be overlooked. The work of a UX Designer is also to plan out a cohesive Auditory experience and proper attention to it can make the game even more immersive. If your game lacks the right fidelity and immersiveness of Audio it may come off as a passable game even when the other aspects are well polished. Take good care of the Auditory Experiences too.
Take the device the game is played on into Consideration It is an extremely important part of UX design to ascertain the pros and cons of the Input Device or the Device the Game is played on. The shortfalls of the Input device can make or break a game. For example, when planning the inputs for a game proper care must be taken about the input device and should be planned according to that. An input system made for keyboard and mouse may not work great on mobile touch input. Also, the scaling of the text in a game for a smaller display like a mobile might not be suitable for the game played on a larger Computer Screen. So, plan accordingly.
Plan the interaction Hot-Spots By planning the interaction hot-spots you can position the interactable entities in the most optimal locations. For example, while making an FPS game, you can provide the quick switching of the weapons to the number keys above the alphabetical row which is close to the WASD movement buttons and can be easy to access. Similarly, for Mobile games, you can provide the same interaction besides the trigger button so that the player can easily switch between the guns without moving the finger too far from the interaction hot-spot like a trigger button. The same goes for visual feedback elements. You can provide the health beside the ammo so that the user gets the required data instantly without searching too much for it.
Use pre-existing Symbolism When making a game it’s extremely important to make the player understand what does what. Pre-existing Symbolism can convey the use of a button or object to a player subconsciously. For example, a gear icon can instantly mean settings as that notion is ingrained into our minds. However, while breaking away from existing symbols ask yourself why you think it is necessary to change it up and only do so when you think it solves a particular purpose of your game. Otherwise, it may result in unnecessary confusion for the player while understanding the use of a certain button or object.
Here are a few more resources in the for improving your games -