Importance of UX in Mobile Game Design

User experience, or UX, is an essential feature of every modern IT product. Without a doubt, it has become one of the most significant aspects of mobile game development, along with Game Design, Art, etc. To begin with, we will provide a definition of what UX for mobile games is, why it’s so important, and how it varies from other UX, such as that of an IT product.

User experience is like constructing an interaction bridge between the product team (which consists of Engineers and Game Designers) and game players.  The main goal of UX  is to make the game as understandable and intuitive as possible. When the user experience is designed properly, players independently assess and overcome the challenges while playing the game; in other words, they are brought effortlessly and pleasantly into the experience since it is a pleasure to participate in the game.

The purpose of UX design is to create a game that is enjoyable for the user. This contains game functions and player controls, such as the hierarchy of content, intuitive navigation, game mechanics, and functionality of visual elements. UX is concerned with a player’s engagement with a game system on all levels. But the most important point is that UX is designed to delight and engage users into play while adhering to all technical and business requirements.

What Exactly Makes the UX of a Mobile Game So Unique?

Designing the user experience for a mobile game is a much more advanced process since mobile games typically have a more complex architecture, thus a more complex relationship with the user. The game is a complicated ecosystem in and of itself, with features added to target different segments of the audience of the game.

The key factors come with game mechanics that are interesting enough to either entertain or provide a meaningful and worthwhile experience for the player and therefore ‘hook them in.’ It’s not easy to ‘hook an audience in,’ and it’s even more difficult if the user experience isn’t seamless. It should evaluate and translate complex game mechanisms into local and understandable control patterns, where players enjoy the process of moving through stages. A user interface that is easy to use and understandable increases the usage and retention of the audience.

Why Is It So Important?

Given that user experience affects all parts of a game, one of the most important duties of a UX Designer is to become familiar with the game as a whole in order to create a good and solid user experience. As a result, a UX Designer’s commitment is practically required at all stages. If the Game Designer adds features and mechanisms to the game, the UX Designer visualizes their game idea in a visual form and removes anything “clunky” that adds noise in order to make the game more pleasurable. A collaborative relationship between a Game Designer and a UX Designer in the early phases of development is one of the most successful strategies. Sometimes Game Designers working alone may come up with brilliant design ideas that seem wonderful in theory, but when they try to put them into practice, it becomes clear that they are far too complicated perhaps impossible for proper implementation.  Also, keep in mind that some UX solutions may go against technical limitations, so we should always be mindful of the coding team’s role in bringing all of these exciting concepts and features to life. These late “close calls” require game developers to make unpredictable changes, usually in the form of simplification. Open communication with all team members at the early stages of development is the key to a seamless UX and a pleasant game experience.

How is UX for Mobile Games Different Than Others?

Unlike other game genres, a mobile game’s UX exposure encompasses a large portion, if not the entire product. It is not just a base layer by itself, but also the entire metagame, with the great majority of the game process taking place within the interface, as opposed to many of its PC and console counterparts. What makes it even more difficult is that the UX of console/PC games rarely considers monetization, acquisition, retention, and a variety of other concerns relevant to mobile games. As the cherry on the cake, most mobile games are designed to be played on small mobile phone screens (although they are not as small nowadays). While working on a game, the UX Designer has to be able to work with a wide range of screens. As a result, one of the most prevalent issues when designing a user interface is balancing the quantity of information that a game should provide at any given time while keeping everything on-screen and easy to digest. This is a crucial aspect in the approach of the UX/UI Designer’s work.

Last but not least, designing the interface for a Free To Play game can be difficult if the developers are unaware of all of the project’s potential future features. Game development entails the acquisition of new functions throughout the creation of the game, which is unknown during the early stages of pre-production. As a result, it’s critical to think about UX/UI scalability from the start. Nowadays, the most prevalent procedure is when the product team operates in a highly agile design manner, which often carries a payload of specs and documentation being either severely out of date or not existing at all. This creates lots of new challenges for the interface design team in the future.