2012-08-17

Designing Games for Non-Gamers

Dennis Paiz-Ramirez, Sarah Chu, Allison Salmon, and Belinda Gutierrez in User Experience Magazine: Volume 10, Issue 4, 2011


Tutorials: Too Much or Not Enough?

They tested their prototype of a real life simulation game with gamers an non-gamers and a pattern began to emerge:
Ann, the more experienced gamer, was willing to explore; Betty [familiar with computers but with little video game experience] was hesitant to click on anything before confirming it was the right action. [...] We learned that the tutorial should be explicit about what players can do in the game and should explain what happens when a player performs a game action. We also need to allow users to skip the tutorial and explore the game if they feel comfortable doing so.
I think it is import to tell the user, that she can "skip the tutorial and explore the game [AND can] feel comfortable doing so". -- Whatever tell means in this context. -- Otherwise the user might not trust that she can explore it without reading through all the tutorial stuff.


Conventions: Is That Supposed to Mean Something?

They have grayed-out non-clickable buttons, but:
it wasn't enough to follow web standards, especially when the target audience has little familiarity with digital media.
So they decided to not display buttons until they are introduced.


Content: Missing the Point

Too many feature, that are not directly connected to the main goal of the game, distracted the user from the main goal. Also, the head-up display became overcomplicated.
Featuritis -- who does not know the problem, but everybody runs into it from time to time -- everybody!


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