No matter how great your game is, people won't play it if it's a pain to approach, learn, and play.
That's why good user interface and user experience (UI/UX) design is so important in today's crowded game market, and at the 2019 Game Developers Conference in March you'll have access to a smorgasbord of expert talks aimed at helping you create more approachable, more enjoyable games.
Most notably, the GDC 2019 Game UX Summit is packed with expert sessions on the fundamentals of UX strategy, as well as best practices to improve overall quality and increase the likelihood that your game will create and sustain engagement.
A recent and popular addition to GDC, the UX Summit is the place to be if you want to learn about all facets of the user experience discipline in the video game industry using knowledge from cognitive science, psychology, and application of research findings!
Plus, as part of the Board Game Design Day, game dev veteran and Day UX is Fine! founder Jason Schklar will be presenting a talk on "Designing Great UX into Your Game Board and Pieces" that promises practical UX advice for both board game and video game designers.
Schklar has been running a "board game" UX exercise with various groups of video game developers as a way of thinking about how "board and pieces" design influences the learnability of a board game. Specifically, he has participants figure out how to play board games without reading the instructions/rule book. In this talk, Jason will present a summary of findings during these sessions (including sessions with kids at his local elementary school board game club) and some tips for making games your easier and more fun to learn!
You should also check out "Building a Unified Cross-Project UI Framework" from Sybo Games (Subway Surfers) UI/UX designer Natalia Rebrova, because Sybo had to solve a real problem as it grew: multiple teams working on different projects, with different UI/UX strategies. To prevent player confusion and avert disaster, Sybo had to figure out how to build a unified, cross-platform UI that wouldn't throw players for a loop.
In this talk Rebrova will walk you through the process of building and supporting such a cross-project UI framework in Unity, and practical considerations of how to decrease time spent on UI development and implementation using an atomic design approach. This session will also show you how to get the most out of reusable skinned templates, while building and sharing a company-specific library of UI patterns and components.
And in "Every Sound in the Universe: New Frontiers for Audio UX", Magic Leap technical sound designer Brett Shipes will explore the role of audio within broader user experience (UX). Pulling from real-world examples from many platforms, operating systems, and applications, this talk tracks the evolution of how sound relays information and feedback to users.
Notably, Shipes aims to explore the current ecosystem of new-media VR/AR/MR devices to see how audio feedback is being utilized for new paradigms of UX design and natural user interfaces. The session ends with a look into possible futures of UX design: one where audio is disregarded as "easy" and another where audio is boldly integrated as a core feature from the start.
You'll also want to check out "Lessons from 'Duolingo': How to Make Learning Hard Things Easy", presented by Duolingo's senior engineering manager Karin Tsai. You might wonder how a language-learning app could influence your game design, but consider this: Duolingo is one of the world's most popular platforms for learning languages, in part because it seems to make very challenging tasks appear approachable.
In this talk, Tsai will show you how Duolingo created an experience that caters to all sorts of learners while keeping retention numbers up and improving learning outcomes. Attendees will get a crash course covering Duolingo's six years of lessons learned on its way to becoming the world's most popular education app, and should hopefully walk away with practical learnings to apply in their own work!
Finally, don't miss "Mind Your Tone: Creating a CX Content Strategy for Talking to Real People" from Sony Interactive Entertainment's Rus McLaughlin. The way you talk to your players is key to making your games approachable and enjoyable, so you might get a lot of mileage from the lessons Sony has learned about speaking to players.
PlayStation has worked to evolve its UI content strategy over the last five years, moving away from the tech writing style of the PlayStation 3 era to a smarter, friendlier approach that drives engagement by speaking directly to what players want… and even redirects their behavior in ways they agree with. In this talk, senior writer and content strategist Rus McLaughlin takes you through the origin and philosophy behind PlayStation's brand-based tone of voice, the metrics that demonstrate its success, and the processes necessary to making it work!
Further details on these talks and many more are available now on the GDC 2019 Session Scheduler. There you can begin to lay out your GDC 2019, which takes place March 18th through the 22nd at the (newly renovated!) Moscone Center in San Francisco.
Bring your team to GDC! Register a group of 10 or more and save 10 percent on conference passes. Learn more here.