Semester(s) Offered: Fall
Credits: 4
Course Call Number: GAMES-UT 241
Prerequisite(s): Introduction to Game Development

“UX design is about removing problems from the user. Game design is about giving problems to the user. –Raph Koster

Designers solve problems. UX (user experience) designers work to attune those solutions to the needs and desires of people who will use them. Pairing UX with UI (user interface) brings user-centric focus to the design of interface elements, optimizing for communication, clarity and ease of use. Games are NOT created to solve problems, but rather to challenge, engage and entertain. In gauging progress toward these goals, game designers usually start with their own needs and desires. Development teams can get so close to their work that they can’t diagnose issues that arise when other people start to play. Studios have begun adding separate UX designers to teams to act as player advocates throughout iterative design and testing. This course explores the intersection of UI UX thinking and game experience/interface design. Students will be introduced to UI UX concepts and methods, and then supported in adapting them for game specific contexts. Game design – in fact all interactive design – is a conversational undertaking. Students will become better conversationalists both by adding to their store of experience design knowledge and by learning to focus on, empathize with, and draw out their conversation partners – the players.

Upon completion of this course, the student will:
1) Explore the concepts and methods of UI and UX design, including user research and persona modeling; interface mockup and prototyping; test-driven iterative design process, and integration of best practices.
2) Gain hand-on experience adapting and using these tools to support game design goals.
3) Learn how UI functions in different game contexts and deepen understanding of what does or doesn’t support and enhance game experiences.
3) Develop strategies for effectively bringing other players into the design process earlier and more often – both figuratively as models/inspirations and literally as testers providing feedback.