If you’ve spent any time at all as part of the online gaming industry, either as a player or developer, you’ll be familiar with the term ‘user experience’ and its abbreviation ‘UX’. If you’re new to the scene, the phrase probably seems self-explanatory – and rightfully so. Indeed, game design and user experience often go hand in hand, creating a mutually beneficial relationship for those either side of the screen.
So, user experience is?
Okay, so the concept of user experience refers to the act of fulfilling expectations, and of creating a product to be enjoyed with very little fuss or effort. It’s the overall experience a person gains from playing a particular game, or accessing certain content. From registry and initial navigation, to the motions a person must go through to play a game, user experience is everything; user experience can determine the success of failure of online titles, in fact. You see, unless they’re entertaining, cater to the needs of players, and offer a reward of some kind, online games are destined to founder without a trace. Besides, a positive user experience has benefits for both developers and players, bringing in revenue and providing an engaging form of entertainment.
How can games garner a positive user experience?
User experience is a vital consideration across the online gaming industry, where there’s very little brand loyalty; gamers are constantly looking for the biggest bonuses, and best value for money, which makes them prone to straying from one particular operator. We’ve established that user experience is important, for both gamers and developers. So, how can it be achieved?
Although user experience refers to so much more than a game’s usability it’s vital that developers consider how a game will be accessed, and navigated, before filling in the other blanks. Usability refers to a game’s ergonomics, screen size, and controls, as well as its overall design. How will players find their way around? How many different screens will the game rely upon, and how long will sessions last for? What commands is the game likely to rely on? Above all, how usable is the game? Online titles must enable their players to achieve their end goal with few obstructions; if it’s likely to frustrate or confuse, a game will rarely succeed.
Rely on reviews
The online casino is just one example of a gaming genre that highlights the importance of user experience; while some bigger casinos can rely on their branding alone, others must focus on user experience in order to stand out in this saturated market. Like other gaming operators, online casinos must be prepared to listen to reviews, analyze their own performance, and pair gameplay with expectation in order to engage players. Luckily there are some comprehensive sites dedicated to reviewing online casinos with jackpots of every kind, ensuring operators are able to keep in touch with trends – and players are able to find the sites that provide the best user experience.
Tailored content for a targeted audience
If a game’s user experience is falling short of expectations the most important thing for developers to do is assess their target audience; is the game specific enough for the demographic? Does it feature content, challenges, and goals that a particular audience can relate to? While it would be nice to create a game that appeals to all kinds of different users, nothing is going to please everyone. It’s better, therefore, to focus on one kind of player and engage them as best you can. The best thing about gamers is that they come in all shapes and sizes – different ages, too. User experience is a completely personal concept, and it’s far easier to provide a positive one if you know to whom you’re attempting to appeal.
Of course, there are multiple ways for game developers and online operators to improve user experience, including beta testing, rewards, time consideration, and gaming resources; we’ve merely scratched the surface. Hopefully this brief blog post has provided a little inspiration though, and inspired any avid gamers to think a little more carefully about the work that may have gone into creating that engaging user experience. When it comes to online gaming, nothing is ever left to chance.