Running User Tests for Virtual Reality

I recently gave a talk at UXBrighton about running user tests for virtual reality. The event was a really fun evening, with some great talks from Deborah Amar and Henry Ryder, and was organised by Harvey from Player Research.

In my talk, I covered some tips that I’d learned from running user research for virtual reality hardware, and many virtual reality experiences. I’ve copied the slides and my notes below for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
  Read On…

Why attend GUR conferences?

2015 was a fantastic year for games user research conferences, with another successful GUR-SIG Summit in San Francisco, the first ever European #gamesUR conference in London and others including CHI-Play and Bungie’s User Research Summer Camp. Conference season is nearly upon us again, and it’s time to look forward to the events this year.

The largest event in the GUR-SIG calendar is their annual US conference, this year renamed to #gamesUR. This event, timed to coincide with the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, allows researchers from all over the world to meet up and share insights.

European researchers should also look out for the return of the European #gamesUR conference. After the success of last year’s conference, there will be more announcements about the plans for the future of #GamesUR in Europe soon!

Epic will also be hosting their own user experience summit this year, more details about which should be out soon.

In this post, I  cover some of the reasons for researchers to attend these conferences, and want to convince you to get involved with games user research events this year.  Read On…

Building Trust with Development Teams

Being a good user researcher is not just about finding usability or user experience issues with games. Once the issues have been found, another part of the role is ensuring that the development team take the right action to resolve them. To achieve this, it’s important to create a strong trust relationship with the development teams you work with.

As usability researchers, our role is to represent the player as a stakeholder in the design process. In most game development environments there are many stakeholders and influences such as budget, development time, the marketing department and the publisher, all of whom want to give input on the game. In order to cut through the noise, it’s important to ensure that the team understand that your findings are the voice of the player, and not just another source of noise in the design process.  Read On…

#GamesUR Conference is done!

After months of organisation, on July 17th we held the first ever European Games User Research conference at Conway Hall in London. The event brought together speakers and researchers from companies such as PlayStation, Ubisoft, Riot Games, Microsoft, Epic Games and more to talk, share knowledge and collaborate. We also had a surprisingly large number of employment opportunities available, which is good for the Games User Research community as a whole!

Early impressions from the day was that people enjoyed it and found it useful (though the evaluation is still underway) so we’re definitely going to look into running it again.

Conference team in action

The conference team in action

All of the talks were recorded, and will be up on the website soon.

Christie, the event photographer took some amazing photos, which are available on the website here.

My highlights for the day include the evening social event where we had Rocket League, TowerFall and SportsFriends set up, with free drinks and food provided by PlayStation. This was a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, and make some new ones too!

the social event

The social event in full swing

Throughout I was also impressed with the high quality of the talks. Despite running in the same year as the US Summit, we had a large range of novel topics, and those that had been covered before were given new angles to increase their relevance to researchers and make sure that their lessons could be taken and applied.

The whole event wouldn’t have been possible without the team of people working hard to bring it all together, thanks to Seb Long, Mirweis Sangin, Steven Mathiesen and Karl Steiner.

Thanks also to Mikael, Alessandra, Pan, Nick, Sandeep, Ningling and Katy who volunteered to help the day run smoothly, all of the event’s sponsors and for the GUR-SIG for endorsing the event and providing support and best practises from the US conference.

Hopefully see everyone next year for another!

Speakers announced for the European #GamesUR conference – Tickets on sale now!

This year, I’ve been working with a team of other researchers to create Europe’s first Games User Research Conference, due to be held in London on the 17th of July 2015.

This event hopes to be a great opportunity for European based researchers to get together, share new ideas and collaborate, and recreate the success of the GUR-SIG conferences held annually in San Francisco.

Support from the Games User Research community has been fantastic, and we were overwhelmed with the amount of applications to speak we received. We’re really happy with the final line-up, which has now been announced:

We’ve also received fantastic support from the industry, and sponsors for the event include Spotless Interactive, Player Research and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, who are generously sponsoring the networking event after the conference.

Full details on the #GamesUR sessions, tickets, and (most excitingly of all) the after-party are available on the #GamesUR website.