King is a leading interactive entertainment company for the mobile world. With more than 200 game titles, they produce games that are enjoyed all around the world. We work with King on some of their famous mobile app games. Bringing in user research as a natural part in the design and development process.
By Elly Billqvist, User researcher
When I started at King research was not an integrated part in the game design process. We worked as researchers on demand where we came to verify almost ready design.
For me it was important to change this process, to get user feedback earlier and change my role from a service on demand to an important cog in the design machine. Instead of validating I want to prevent us from building the wrong things
Now we work with continous research, doing multiple test sessions on the same product. The users are more involved throughout and research is more valued in the organisation.
Often when you talk about moderated user tests they tend to be task based, but that assumes that you have a goal when you use a product.
Thats not always the case when you talk about games where it has alot to do with entertainment. That can make the testing process look a bit different
Games are rarely linear either, there is often different things you can do in a game that caters to different types of players.
Of course there is goals that the company want to reach but not as clearly defined goals for the players.
So, how do we do when we want to know if the player understands how the features work together and if it really is fun? It takes a lot more observation and you need to let the users explore on their own.
Some features you can test with those type of observations but not everything, then you need to adapt your interviewing technique. There is some tricks I use when moderating user tests. Since we dont want to give away too much information when asking questions my go to technique is usually to play dumb.
I ask a lot of questions but from the point of view that I dont know anything about the product. I try to make the user explain my own product for me. Let the user talk and explain what they are doing, thinking and why.
As a researcher I deliver user centered feedback about our games, trying to make our decisions based on data (both qualitative and quantitative) and not based on assumptions. I also try to have a complete overview of the game making sure we dont have conflicting features cannibalising on each other.
Im always the users voice in a room full of stakeholders.