A holistic approach to user experience design

How we can better engage with our players before, during, and after the game's release.

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As a user experience designer, one of the most rewarding challenges is creating immersive and intuitive gameplay experiences for players. In the realm of video games, the user experience (UX) can make or break a player's enjoyment of the game, and as such, designers must pay close attention to best practices in order to create the best possible experience. In this blog post, I will share some tips and best practices that I have learned from my experience as a UX designer.

First and foremost, it is important to understand the player's perspective. As a UX designer, it is easy to get caught up in creating the "perfect" experience, but it is essential to remember that the player's experience is what matters most. To truly understand the player's perspective, designers should play through the game as if they were the player, and pay close attention to any areas that may be confusing or frustrating. Additionally, designers should conduct player testing, gather feedback and iterate on it.

Another key aspect of creating a great UX in video games is to make the interface as intuitive as possible. Often referred to as just-in-time design, players should be able to understand and navigate the game's interface without having to read a manual or tutorial through clear promptings of the next action. This can be achieved by using simple, easily recognizable icons and buttons. You should also strive to make the interface layout logical and consistent. This improves the repeatability of in-game actions.
It's also important to consider the player's desired state of mind. If the game is intense, dark, or funny, the user experience should mimic this feeling through color theory and layout psychology. Even decisions such as what typeface is used or how much tracking is added between characters must be carefully researched and tested. Players may not be able to identify more nuanced design choices, and this is why, as user experience designers, it's our job to identify and direct these impactful decisions.

Beyond this, we need to ensure a holistic experience well into the game lifecycle. I think sometimes we reduce UX design to just the work before or right after the release. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. The user experience should continue to evolve as long as the game survives. We must continually gather player feedback, analyze user data, and communicate design decisions clearly to our players. One thing I've learned is the value of things breaking. While it may seem counter-intuitive, when features break, we as UX masters have a prime opportunity to shape the narrative and build brand trust with our players. Being highly communicative, whether on social media, your website, or directly in-game, is the key. Keeping the player informed about progress, objectives, and other important information has a crucial impact on a user's experience.

In conclusion, creating a great user experience in video games is a challenging but rewarding task. By understanding the player's perspective, making the interface intuitive, providing feedback, and keeping the player informed, designers can create immersive and enjoyable gameplay experiences that players will want to repeat.

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