How games user research lead us to make our game harder

Making user friendly games doesn’t mean making them easier. Regardless, developpers still often make this mistake. The purpose of games user research is to ensure the player’s experience matches the designer’s intent. This can lead to simplify interfaces and remove unwanted challenges from the game, such as confusing controls. It does not imply removing any meaningful challenge though.

To illustrate that games user research can actually lead to making games harder, I will tell you the story of Olympus Naumachia. Game user research made this game quite a bit harder, yet less complicated.

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UsabilityHub tests review

Many platforms allow cheap and easy access to remote usability testing. Solutions like optimal workshop, usability hub, usertesting.com allow anyone to quickly set up a test and propose services from proposing user panels and recruiting participants to fully designing tests and providing consolidated reports.

Aside from the biaises introduced by remote usability testing, one concern lies in the possibility for anyone to access the tools for conducting research regardless of their prior training and experience. To verify the quality of tests created on those platforms, regardless the authors, we have passed and analysed biases of 160 random tests on usabilityHUB.

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