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Designing Usable and Accessible Games with Interaction Design Patterns
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Designing Usable and Accessible Games with Interaction Design Patterns


May 17, 2007 Article Start Previous Page 5 of 6 Next
 

6. Designing with patterns

There are several ways to use our collection of patterns. For now we have organized our patterns into two collections, one focusing on usability and the other on accessibility, but as future work we also intend to also organize them by game genre and by the amount of implementation effort required for implementing them.

Designing for usability

We have organized our patterns to the player problem categories when identifying usability problems in games discussed in section 2. Some of these categories match with some of Nielsen’s heuristics. Certain patterns such as slow fit in two categories.

Game designers can take our 5 categories as requirements and then heuristically evaluate each pattern in the category and decide whether it should be implemented or not. This can be during the early stages of design or during the later stages of development.


  • Prevent waiting

    • Seamless Gameworld

    • Skippable Cutscenes

    • Fast Forward

    • Quick Save/Load

    • Quick Restart

    • Quick Start

    • Pre Loader Game

    • Arcade Mode

  • Prevent errors

    • Slow

    • Rewind

    • Auto Save

    • Visual Saves

    • Pause

    • Free Look

  • Communicate status

    • Instant Replay

    • Game Progress

  • Adapt to the player

    • Closed Captioning

    • Interaction Aids

    • Adaptive Difficulty level

    • Reconfigurable buttons

    • Slow

    • Arcade Mode

  • Provide help

    • Tutorial Agent

    • Interaction Aids

    • Playground

    • Journal

However, during the later stages it may become to expensive to implement a particular pattern. Though a game designer is probably in a good position to estimate the implementation effort associated with each pattern, we do think it is valuable, to provide inexperienced game designers with some global outline of an effort estimation.

For example, skippable cutscenes is probably easy to implement. A seamless gameworld poses some severe constraints on the underlying architecture, preventing it from being implemented cost effectively during later stages. By discussing, during requirements analysis, how a pattern could improve usability and what is required from the system, the mutual awareness of the restrictions that exist between software engineering and usability can be raised.

Designing for accessibility

For accessibility we have organized the patterns to each different disability. In general 4 different disabilities have been recognized:

  • Visually disabled – blindness, low vision, and color blindness.

  • Auditory disabled – deaf or hard hearing.

  • Physically disabled - paralysis, neurological disorders, Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and age related issues.

  • Cognitive disabled – learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism and attention deficit disorder.

  • Auditory disability

    • Closed Captioning

    • Interaction Aids

  • Physical disability

    • Slow

    • Interaction aids

    • Adaptive Difficulty level

    • Reconfigurable buttons

  • Visual disability

    • Interaction Aids

    • Journal

  • Cognitive disability

    • Slow

    • Interaction Aids

    • Tutorial Agent

 

Making your game accessible to players with auditory disabilities is probably the easiest since closed captions can be implemented with little implementation effort. Making your game accessible to blind people is probably the most challenging, yet people with low vision could already benefit from simple mechanisms such automatically facing an enemy in a first person shooter (interaction aids). Again the game designer can iterate over the patterns and analyze whether some of these should be considered.


Article Start Previous Page 5 of 6 Next

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