How Can Data-Centric UX Designers Make Better Games?

Big data technology is becoming incredibly important for improving the user experience of video game players.

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Shutterstock Photo License - By Syda Productions

Big data has touched almost every facet of our lives. It should be no surprise that the video gaming industry has been heavily influenced by developments in data technology.

There are a number of potential opportunities to utilize big data in video games. One of the biggest benefits of integrating data analytics, AI and other technologies into video games is that it can help improve the user experience. Kevin Rands, a contributor for said that big data is helping improve the player experience with freemium games, so that developers can improve the games for premium users. This is proving to be a gamechanger in the industry.

Data Technology is Invaluable for Optimizing the User Experience of Video Game Players

It became clear that a post with this heading could not be avoided. A huge number of GameDev employees of all levels have a very vague idea of what UX design is. The answer to the seemingly simple question “What does a UX designer do?” A full enumeration of “UX” -related activities leads to rounding of the interviewer’s eyes and subsequent frustration.

I wrote this post to dispel the fog of wars around the design specialization I have chosen as my main one. However, the opposite effect is also predictable, some of this material can finish off. It is important to understand the evolving role of big data technology in the video game development profession.

A simplified definition of UX design

UX game design is a set of working methods by which we develop functionality that users appreciate. This is achieved through the formation of hypothetical use cases and their iterative testing on the audience. Data analytics technology has made the testing process much easier. UX design defines a set of rules that we must follow in order for our product to be able to delight the audience. Using these methods, you can balance the composition of the product, select the complexity, select the composition of functions, and make an implementation that is clear and pleasant to use. Among the UX techniques, there are detailed ways to conduct high-quality user testing with machine learning and intuitive data analytics applications and many other ways to get feedback from users of the product.

Moreover, these methods can be applied both to the product as a whole and to its allocated parts. Convenient, understandable application interface is the result of applying some UX methods with data technology. But UX design is not limited to interface design (this is how the process of developing an application interface is called). Moreover, the design itself, in order to obtain a meaningful result, must rely on some UX development that goes beyond working on only interfaces into the product development area.

Several specializations of UX designers have taken root in the development of digital products, such as: 

  • UX designer; 
  • UX analyst; 
  • UX researcher; 
  • UI designer. 

These specializations perform different activities at different stages of the project and in different parts of it. The process is similar to other online businesses that need to leverage data analytics to improve their UX.

UX design goals that rely on data analytics

The goal of UX methods is to reach a high number of users who give a positive feedback to our product. Applied to modern game development, this result manifests itself in good retention, low cost of attracting new players, good in-game sales, and viral advertising that works well. Those appears in almost all product metrics, so the right data analytics platform can make them much easier to analyze.

I understand that many, non-UX designers, found their participation in this goal and were indignant, but yes – UX design helps a business to achieve good product performance. As well as many other activities in product development. But he uses a special set of methods and techniques of work.

UX design, as a set of separate methods, emerged, took root well and received positive marks in service web design (secondly in e-commerce mobile applications), while in game development (and in some other industries) its effectiveness remains unclear to this day.

UX design is the banner of a product approach in development

For those who do not really understand the meaning of the terms, I will explain. Functional approach – an approach in which the area of responsibility of the executor ends at the time of the implementation of a workable function of the application. The product approach uses methods to control all framing processes, including channels of communication with the audience. The product approach expands the area of responsibility of the performers to a positive assessment of the product (or part of a feature) by the user and the successful achievement of business goals.

It is not necessary to draw an idyll in your head, where every employee worries about the joy of the players – this is not a realistic simplification. The processes that support the product development approach are dictated by the company and management through specific project roles and specific procedures.

Big Data Technology Has Been Instrumental in Improving UX for Video Games

Video game developers have to focus on improving the user experience for their players. Big data technology has helped immensely in recent years.

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