I’ve done my fair share of design work over the years both for internal projects and external clients and thought I’d share a few pointers. Let’s talk user experience, also known as UX. A properly designed user experience allows players to lose themselves in your game and enjoy the full range of engagement provided by the interactive experience that is video games. A well-designed UI is absolutely crucial to this end. Great UX is a function of good user interface design. Ease of use as well as easy interaction are the factors that make the difference between a game becoming a runaway success or flopping upon introduction to the market. The following are a few UI design tips to help improve how players perceive your creations.
Grab players as soon as possible with a clean and minimalist user interface. Players looking for a new game are a fickle lot and will quickly click away to the next available option if your game is too difficult to navigate or does not capture their attention the minute they click on the play button. Your UX should be compelling and engaging in order to launch the player straight into the thick of things without any delay.
Keep it simple. Too much information or too many inputs will confuse your player and put them off exploring your game any further. Apart from games that deal with heavy content and material, all other game UI should be simple for users to understand without requiring them to wade through pages of information before they can begin to play the game. Additionally, any tutorial on how to navigate through the game should be incorporated into the UI and should be short and to the point. When developing mobile or browser based games in specific, all navigational buttons should lead to the next step in the game and should not be used as click bait to lure users to other sites so that you can earn ad revenue. While this may pay off in the short term, it will have a negative effect on user trust and make them less likely to choose your product next time they are looking for a new game.
Finally, add a heavy dose of user testing. Once your game is fully designed, you need to test it out by potential users play the game. They can help you to catch any mistakes or errors that your design team might have missed out on. In addition, your users will show you how easy (or difficult) the game is to navigate and provide pointers on how you can improve overall user experience.
Important Takeaways: UI design can make or break your game. However, by incorporating a few important design principles, you can create a great game or other digital product, capture users’ attention and meet and exceed their expectations. Go for a minimal aesthetic — it’s less difficult to mess up your interface if there are less elements. Then, rigorously test with actual users. The best option would be to watch over their shoulder as they’re interacting with your game, but the next best thing would be to have them share their screen while you observe and take notes.