At CHI 2015, in Seoul, South Korea, we are organizing an interactive course that investigates the methodology, cost, and benefits of a variety of user research approaches. The course, entitled Actionable Inexpensive Games User Research, will provide demonstrations and advice regarding a number of efficient experimental techniques. Particularly, the course aims to assist independent developers, designers, and students in pursuing cost-effective means of user experience research.
Attending this course carries a $25 fee. Should you wish to participate, please add this course to your registration when you register for CHI 2015.
Course ID: C07
Information and Content Delivery – 14:30-15:30
- (30 mins) Basic introduction to Games User Research? (Slides)
- (30 mins) Guidelines to inexpensive solutions (Slides)
Hands-on Session – 16:40-17:50
- (20 mins) Case study and example of a user testing approach conducted at University of Toronto (Slides) (Course Notes)
- (40 mins) Testing case study examples: How do you make the feedback actionable? Comparing design guidelines from participants to industry design guidelines: Which feedback is important and actionable?
Effective user research is an integral component of the development process, serving to refine the quality of user interaction and shape the user experience as a whole. However, traditional means of conducting this research can be inaccessibly expensive, impeding the progress of smaller development teams and reducing their ability to provide an optimized user experience. Furthermore, many teams encounter issues relating to the confusion of user research, usability testing, playtesting, and focus groups.
This course will provide a thorough introduction to the concept of games user research, as well as instruction in the distinction and practice of a collection of user research techniques. We will focus more specifically on inexpensive approaches feasible for independent developers. Examples and demonstrations of these methods will be examined in detail, analyzing the relative costs and benefits of each approach.
Course participants will be instructed concerning the proper execution of research techniques, the reduction of bias, and the validation and analysis of results, as well as the use of heuristics in evaluating competitive offerings. We will suggest inexpensive methods of applying these techniques in a laboratory context, in addition to exploring the implementation of a mobile laboratory set-up.
Participants are encouraged to bring their own entertainment-related project for testing in the provided experimental set-up. Instructors will also supply a game currently under development for the purpose of practising various user testing procedures.
Among registered participants, we will distribute five complimentary copies of the Games User Research book once it will be released, currently being edited by two of the workshop organizers.
Date: Monday, April 20th, 2015
Session times (runs in two units): 14:30-15:30, 16:40-17:50 (layout – rounds)
Lennart Nacke is an Assistant Professor of Human-Computer Interaction and Game Development at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). His research focuses on the design and evaluation of human-computer interfaces, as well as the applications of interactive technology and gamification in the context of entertainment, education, and healthcare. He is strongly interested in Games User Research (GUR) and has served on the steering committee of the IGDA GUR SIG for two years.
Steve Engels is a Senior Lecturer of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. He was responsible for developing the game design courses within the department and for creating Level Up!, a public showcase of student work in the field of video game design, combining projects from more than 12 different colleges and universities.
Pejman Mirza-Babaei is an Assistant Professor in the field of Games User Research at UOIT. His work is primarily concerned with the development of formative, evaluative techniques for games and the investigation of the player experience in games. He was worked on several games under development, including Crysis 2, Split/Second Velocity, Buzz! Quiz World and Sony’s Wonderbook platform.