How User Experience Design Is Used in the Game Industry
Published on Apr 25, 2022 by Bridgette Cude
Find out how the gaming industry relies on user experience design to create games people want to play.
At The Game Awards 2020, Game of the Year winner The Last of Us Part II gave special thanks to their user experience research team for helping make the game such a huge success and earning them the award for Innovation in Accessibility. Their win is part of a bigger trend in gaming that's focused on the voice of the player, accessibility, and user experience.
In this LinkedIn article by Sweta Mohapatra, UX Designer David Candland explains why more tutorials and more “blinking red lights” aren’t always the solution to getting players to do what game designers want them to do. While working on Destiny, David and his team focused on more visual cues and cleaner interfaces to teach features instead of more text.
More gaming franchises are looking to add UX teams to their roster because more are realizing how important user experience is to bringing in and keeping fans of the game. If you're considering a career in the gaming industry, user experience design might be a great place to start. Here's why.
Why does the gaming industry need user experience designers?
User experience research teams help inform and improve design choices so that people actually want to play their games. That includes making sure games are not too difficult to understand, that they have enough features to stay interesting, and that tutorials are sufficient yet succinct, to name just a few examples.
Other user experience considerations can vary greatly, from voiceovers and game audio to how players interact with legal notices. Every small decision companies make can have an impact on how players enjoy the game. And it's the UX designer's responsibility to convey that impact.
What does a games user experience designer do?
You can think of the user experience designer in gaming as an advocate for the player. Their job is to see what game developers and game designers can't see from the player's perspective and help improve the game.
That means user experience designers need to know their audiences well. Through data collection, iterative processes, and testing with players, they get to know how people actually interact with the game.
User experience design can play a role throughout each development phase of the game. At the beginning, they can help determine player personas and who the game is for. In the design phase, user experience research helps with usability and playtesting. In production, they can help determine what should be tweaked based on players' actual experiences.
It's a big job. And according to Player Research, responsibilities are typically broken into four key jobs:
- User Experience Designer
- Game User Researcher
- Data Scientist
- UX Leadership
The User Experience Bachelor's Degree at Full Sail
Interested in becoming a UX designer for video games? At Full Sail, the User Experience bachelor's degree focuses on user experience skills across platforms and interactive media, including games. You'll learn what you need to know to analyze the usability and visual design of a game, create prototypes, and understand human-driven design.
Since there's no programming required, this is a great degree program if you're more interested in the human side of gaming. You'll learn the skills to understand your target audience, gather data, and present user experience information to game developers and designers.