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Video Games Make You Sexy

by Daniel V. Licht (@thedvl) Play too much and you will get fat. Gamers have high rates of depression. Only losers with no social skills play them. Get inspired by amazing interfaces. View the designs that are shaping our everyday lives. Only two of those statements are true (IMHO). The rest are stereotypes. And I’m Read more

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by Daniel V. Licht (@thedvl)

Play too much and you will get fat. Gamers have high rates of depression. Only losers with no social skills play them. Get inspired by amazing interfaces. View the designs that are shaping our everyday lives. Only two of those statements are true (IMHO). The rest are stereotypes. And I’m not about to play to stereotypes (this time).

If you’ve read the business or tech section of any major paper in the past year, you undoubtedly know that the video game industry rakes in over $18.6 billion (The Street). No, this isn’t a business article. But, with all that revenue there’s one thing that is certain. Talent is flocking. Some of the best and brightest UX designers, architects and directors are making their way to the video game industry.

And why not? When Zemoga gets a video game project it’s the one all the designers want to be on. It’s fun, and many of us (designers and the like) are avid gamers.

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Since not all of our work is around video games, I thought it good to see what we can learn or bring from these experiences to other design & UX projects. While there are many difference between the online interface world and the video game interface one, there are also many similarities. Both require a viewing device, a separate input device (save for those newfangled tablet thingies everyone’s wild about). They also both require users to make choices and actions. So, what can we learn from video games?

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To start with, easy access. Something most gamers take for granted is their HUD, or to you none gamers or fighter pilots – Heads Up Display. This allows them to see real time information in a visual manner. Letting them focus on the task at hand, say blowing up an enemy stronghold or casting a level 25 ice storm spell. Without moving their eyes but a fraction of a millimeter they can see their stats. Additionally, deeper info is available with the push of one button. This menu allows them access to preferences, advanced settings. Now I’m sure you are thinking that this isn’t so crazy, we have preferences when looking at say Zappos or Facebook. Yes, you do, but how convoluted and segmented are said preferences? Very convoluted I know, but that’s my opinion. Most video games use some sort of hierarchical menu system. This allows for nested settings that are very easy to navigate to and through. Much of this is due to the input device. The controller is much like a mouse letting the user move around and then selecting their choice. There is still more I think we should learn and take away from our video game experience … Consistency. Making sure that the visual language being used stays constant. Stays dependable. This will allow for users to act swifter, respond faster and be better users.
So pick up a video game. Spend some time in the dark with some Jolt cola and get your UX on. Who knows, you might just get inspired.
Need more? Check out this video walk-through of UX designer Joe Kowalski explaining his process and thoughts on the UX design for Brutal Legend.

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