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Game Usability

Advancing the Player Experience

Game Usability by Katherine Isbister
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I. What is usability and why should I care?
A. Overview chapter Isbister and Schaffer (Editors)
Introduces key concepts and positions book for primary audiences: game developers and
students aspiring to work in game development. Addresses key concerns that developers
may have about adopting usability, and sets a broad road map of what is to come in the
book.
B. Interview with Tobi Saulnier of 1st Playable
A discussion with the CEO of a small game studio about why and how she uses usability
techniques in her development.
C. Interview with Don Norman of Nielsen Norman group
A discussion with one of the preeiminent HCI practitioners of usability in design practice,
about how game developers may benefit from usability techniques, and about trends in
usability.

II. Usability techniques 101
A. Use of Classic usability techniques at Microsoft Games Wixon (Microsoft)
An overview of the tactics in use to improve games usability at one of the earliest
adopters of usability techniques.
B. Expert evaluation Laitinen (Adage, Helsinki)
Overview of how to conduct expert evaluations and when they can be of value in game
usability.
C. Heuristic evaluation Schaffer (RPI)
Overview of the use of heuristics in game evaluation.
D. Selling usability in the organization Noergaard (Copenhagen U.) & Rau (IO Interactive)
Overview of challenges and process for convincing your company to adopt usability
practices.
E. Think-aloud evaluation and other interview techniques Hounhoot (Philips Research)
Interview techniques including think-aloud and retrospective think-aloud as they apply to
game usability.
F. Interview with Eric Schaffer, CEO and Founder of Human Factors International
On the use of standards and their application to game usability and development.
G. (seeking another interview with a game company person about bringing usability to their
organization)

III. Focus on types of players
A. The four fun keys Lazarro (Xeo)
Overview of the her taxonomy of fun that is a result of player observation, and how this
applies to game usability.
B. Game usability for children Lieberman (UC Santa Barbara)
Overview of usability topics of special interest to developers of children's games.
C. Interview with Tsurumi of Sony Japan about cultural issues in usability, by Kenji Ono
D. (seeking another interview with one of Nicole's clients about use of fun keys?)

IV. Focus on special contexts
A. Mobile games usability Mäyra (U. Tampere, Finland)
B. Casual games usability Fortugno (Rebel Monkey, NYC)
C. Alternate reality games usability Thompson (Georgia IT)
D. RPG usability Tychsen (ITU)
E. Educational games usability Hounhoot and Verhaegh (Philips)
F. (still seeking someone to write about MMOs in particular)

V. Advanced tactics
A. Rigorous prototyping Swink (Flashbang Studios)
The role of rapid, iterative prototyping in games usability.
B. Instrumenting games Pagulayan (Microsoft)
How this was done in Halo 3, and lessons/advice for others interested in this method.
C. Social psychology and usability Isbister (ITU)
Using social psychological research findings to benchmark designs in usability.
D. Physiological approaches (1) Hazlett (Johns Hopkins)
Use of small muscle movement in the face to detect emotion when playing games.
E. Physiological approaches (2) Mandryk (U. Saskatchewan)
Use of integrated suite of physiological measures to detect emotion when playing games.
F. Interview with Jenova Chen about prototyping fl0w and contributions to its usability.
G. Interview with Will Wright about rapid prototyping and usability in his design process.

VI. Putting it all together
A. At-a-glance matrix of issues and tools Isbister and Schaffer (Editors)
To help guide readers with particular issues to particular chapters.
B. Interview with Saito of Ritsumeikan of the role of game technologies in driving
innovation in other product areas in Japan (by Kenji Ono)
CRC Press; August 2008
400 pages; ISBN 9780080922423
Read online, or download in secure EPUB or secure PDF format
Title: Game Usability
Author: Katherine Isbister; Noah Schaffer
 
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