Publication: Heuristic Evaluation for Games: Usability Principles for Video Game Design

Most video games require constant interaction, so game designers must pay careful attention to usability issues. However, there are few formal methods for evaluating the usability of game interfaces. In this paper, we introduce a new set of heuristics that can be used to carry out usability inspections of video games. The heuristics were developed to help identify usability problems in both early and functional game prototypes. We developed the heuristics by analyzing PC game reviews from a popular gaming website, and the review set covered 108 different games and included 18 from each of 6 major game genres. We analyzed the reviews and identified twelve common classes of usability problems seen in games. We developed ten usability heuristics based on the problem categories, and they describe how common game usability problems can be avoided. A preliminary evaluation of the heuristics suggests that they help identify game-specific usability problems that can easily be overlooked otherwise.

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Participants

David Pinelle
College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
Nelson Wong
University of Saskatchewan
Tad Stach
Queen's University

Projects

Game Heuristics
Video gaming is a common and popular entertainment. The primary goal of video games is to entertain and engage users.

Citation

Pinelle, D., Wong, N., Stach, T. 2008. Heuristic Evaluation for Games: Usability Principles for Video Game Design. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2008), 1453-1462. DOI=10.1145/1357054.1357282.

BibTeX

@inproceedings {p1453-pinelle,
author= {David Pinelle and Nelson Wong and Tad Stach},
title= {Heuristic Evaluation for Games: Usability Principles for Video Game Design},
booktitle= {Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2008)},
year= {2008},
pages= {1453-1462}
}