Interruptions

Interruptions

Sometimes life happens. We plan and plan, and have this amazing idea of how everything will work out, but then life happens.

The other day I was thinking about this and my mind wondered to the testing I was preparing for one of our games. I was playing the game that I was about to test (I’m one of those firm believers in the fact that a good ux designer knows his products in and out), but being a busy season for me with working on multiple projects at once, I kept being interrupted.

Life sometimes gets in a way of our plans, and as ux designers we should be aware of that. Especially when it comes to games.

Games are entertainment, and bring a lot of money, they are the ones keeping people sane in the hard times, and the ones to keep them entertained when they are bored, they are the place where like minded people can socialize, and at the same time they are the ones that are the first to be shed from people’s lives when and interruption happens.

So how to deal with that?

We have to design for interruption.¬†Imagine going through a tutorial on a Train, and a conductor demands your ticket. Bam. You are interrupted. Or you are buying gold in in-game shop and cook at the same time. You hear the water overflowing from the kitchen. You run to intervene and when you get back the session has timed out. Or your internet disconnected. Or you’re trying to make a photo using your phone and someone calls you. There are literally tens if not hundred different scenarios in which interruption happens.

Whenever you are designing make sure you stop and think of all the bad cases, of all scenarios where interruption might happen, and make sure you have the answer to the question: what happens when the user wants to continue doing what he was doing before the interruption happened? How does he continue without hassle?

Another form of interruption is the one that happens right on a screen, either in mobile or PC. Apps with push notifications keep interrupting us. What happens when our user looses focus? Let’s say you are playing a game with a strong story telling elements that are “smart” enough to play on their own. There is no back and forth button, no pause. Interruption happens, but what happens to your story, to your user?

In a world where we are bombarded with different ideas and actions from all sides ux designers should first think of that before they think of the interactions itself. If you want beautiful transition, use of gestures, but forget on the constant little things that gets your user’s attention – you are set to fail. Think of where you place the elements on the screen, how fast the story progresses, how users can recover from errors in connection or mistakes done by their attention being on something else… This will not only save your users lots of bad mood, but will also prevent you from loosing the potential customers.

Until next time, do good!
Pia

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