- User-Centered Design in Games
The application of user-centered design (UCD) methodologies has had a tremendous impact on the aviation, medical, and technology industries over the past several decades (Preece et al. 1996; Salas and Maurino 2010; Wickens and Hollands 2000). UCD principles and evaluation methods have successfully made our interaction with tools faster, safer, and more efžcient. Yet, there has been growing interest in the adaptation of these techniques to make products more pleasurable (Jordan 2000). Instead of focusing on making tools faster, safer, and more efžcient, greater emphasis has been placed on making them enjoyable to use (Norman 2005). For more than a decade at Microsoft, we have been applying, režning, and inventing new UCD techniques to improve not only the usability of our games, but, more importantly, the enjoyability. The purpose of this chapter is to review some principles and challenges in applying UCD techniques to game improvement and evaluation. First, we discuss why games are important followed by a differentiation between games and productivity software. Next, we discuss the principles and challenges that are unique to the design of games. That discussion provides a framework to illustrate the core variables we think one should measure to aid in game design testing and evaluation. Finally, the chapter will conclude with some examples of how those variables have been operationalized in methods used by Studios User Research at Microsoft Studios.