3
Apr
2014

GDC 2014 Highlights

This year I was lucky enough to go to the Games Developer Conference for the first time. It was a great opportunity to meet in person with many of the researchers I’d only spoken to online, and I also was able to see some great talks while out there. In this post, I wanted to share two of my favourite talks from the event, and also some other highlights from GDC and the GUR Summit. Click to read more…

24
Feb
2014

How important is games usability to reviewers?

As games user researchers, we consider usability to be a major factor in the quality of games. However it is not the only aspect that makes games “good”. A game could have fantastic usability, and yet still be boring.

In order to get a snapshot of the importance of usability for game quality, I have looked at some games released last year and listed all the issues found in reviews. For each issues I’ve determined whether the issue is a usability problem, or whether it’s something else – anything from appeal (“the character is ugly”), to the concept (“we’re bored of farming simulators”).

From this I hope to gain a greater understanding of how important usability issues are to games reviewers.

Click to read more…

7
Feb
2014

Test…then test again

Sometimes it can be hard enough to convince a team to test their game once. Testing a game once is great at identifying problems and issues with a game. However after the team have addressed these issues, researchers have a new challenge – convincing the team to test again.

Without retesting, it is difficult to tell if the team’s fixes have been effective, and the usability issues that were identified could still be occurring. Additionally the issues from the first round may have obscured secondary issues which weren’t picked up the first time. Today I’ll be looking at some examples of why retesting is important. Click to read more…

30
Jan
2014

A Game About Dressing Up Cats As Historical Characters

It’s been a few years since the last one, but I’ve finished another small flash game. This one is called “A game about dressing up cats as historical characters”. It’s a quiz game about dressing up cats as historical characters.


Cat Game Gameplay

As a hobby project, I learned a lot during the making of this game. Here are some of the lessons learned:

Click to read more…

3
Jan
2014

Opinions in User Research

A common question for user researchers is how many participants are required to find ‘true’ results. Clients can say “but that was only one user” as a reason to disregard a finding. A key part of our role is to explain that one user can be very significant, for example in a 5 user study, that 1 user could represent 20% of the audience.

However this doesn’t mean that 1 user is always significant for every question. In this post I will look at how opinion findings differ to usability findings, the risks to be aware of when reporting them, and some best practices when working with opinions.

Click to read more…