Illustrated Report

Illustrated Report

In this report I shall be covering the 4 different User Experience Theories and I will talk about my personal user experience of any product(s) of my choice. I will discuss the Pros and Cons, any bugs or errors I may encounter and record how many steps it takes for me to get to my destination from the home screen if analysing an app or a website. Relate all this information to my future practice then summarise my research at the end.

UX Design Theories:

User journeys:

The user journey theory as about trying to achieve future goals through visual maps from plain statistics or information presented in a way to help the user or the audience to understand with visual pictures that can be very analytical towards the current task. User journeys can be used in business meetings or to judge someone’s very own personality or simply used to record milestones in specific tasks. A user journey can help improve your current projects by having an audience interact with it and seeing how well that target audience can find the information without need of assistance. When creating a user journey you have to think about multiple factors before going ahead clueless; “Where is the user? What is around them? Are there any external factors, which may be distracting them?” (Mears, 2013)There are multiple other factors such as, Progression, Devices, Functionality and Emotion. All self-explanatory factors, unless when it comes under the device factor because some people may not be used to modern day technology and might not understand how to use the device compared to another who uses the same device on a daily basis. All these little things that has to be considered when making a user journey.

Presentation of information:

The theory behind Presentation of information is usually “based on the user’s current condition” and being able to control the environment that the user is in. This theory is to monitor the user and their environment, so the system itself can keep an up-to-date model that is presented to the users current “condition”. This is so the main and direct facts about presentation of information where there is multiple other variables in this theory such as the user physical characteristics for example: Deafness, colour- blind or impartial eyesight. This can be figured out by using an application program where the information is presented to the user and the how the output of the information is presented to the user. For example: If you have an product that is over cumbered with tons of information squeezed into a single page then it’s likely for the user to come frustrated. Compared to a tidy and well laid out website then the user will be able to read-off the information that is presented to them. Also bringing it back to colour blind users and they are unable to see certain information that is provided to them having an option to change will make the website a more user friendly experience

Accessibility:

The Theory of accessibility is a sensitive topic about making a website accessible for ALL of potential users and I am talking about people who may have disabilities for example, blindness, Deaf. I will focus more on blind people for this theory. Either way people with disabilities will be forgotten about as the designer may not of considered blind people using their website or app. To get an overall ‘Good’ User Experience then it needs to be accessible by all potential users. Designers and UI reviewers may overlook this matter that someone with an disability will not have access to technology in the modern world we live in. Designers may not think that these people will interact with their product that has zero accessibility for them, which shows important and a key factor that you need to implement some system of interaction with these users so they can get involved and not be removed from modern day technology.

Consistency of design:

This is the last theory, which is quite straight forward with common sense when designing a website or app. First off is about no matter what website you are using, every page within that site should have a consistent design that the user is able to navigate without any stress or hassle of key website aren’t moving from page to page. An poor example of this would be where a User is navigating through an website, ordering a product and midway through the ordering process the whole design and layout of the page is completely different; colours, information layout, search bar. Instantly the User is now confused and may think they are not on the original website and doesn’t complete the ordering process as the website does not co-insists with the original design.

Video Game User Experience:

This section is about how I am going to talk and compare my user experience for an online PC game called: ‘Neverwinter’. Standard casual Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) game but with a substantial amount of intractable features and I will also compare it to the Neverwinter ‘Gateway’, an website version that has you unique features that is connected to your in-game character.

Standard Neverwinter Game:

Neverwinter offers a lot of content that also offers a full range of shortcuts and buttons to interact with windows that pops up in-game.”(Refer to image reference 1). A key successful feature of the game is the profession window. Profession is where you send off recruits to do tasks that are completed with an allocated length of time e.g. 2 hours, and returns with a reward for completing the task. Each individual profession has its own unique area and tasks and it all works smoothly. However there are a few hiccups in this via the visual section for example if you just set a new task and then accept a completed task for 1 second, it shows the reward for the newest task you just started before revealing the actual reward that just finished. This nothing game breaking but it is still a visual hiccup in perspective.

A more recent bug / exploit I have come across is that in the game there are boundaries of where you can place certain items in an open bank that should not be able to go there in the first place. I can have 2 of the same items, 1 in the bank and 1 in my bag but the 1 in bag is ‘bound’ to me, which I am unable to place in an open bank. However if I drag and drop the item from the bank into my bag over the top of the same item in the bag, they switch places and keep the same tags to show the swap was successful. This a more useful in-game experience for me by tricking the game itself and the way I interact with the 2 items that are same, just 1 it has a different value.

*Reductionist theory

Cause and effect: If I want to use an ability or a healing potion in game that appears on my toolbar in-game then I simply press the allocated key for that option, which may be Q, E or R on my Keyboard and then the game will respond by doing a special animation on screen and if I avert my eyes back to my toolbar it will show that my ability / potion worked correctly by showing a timer over the icon of that ability / potion.

Interacting with key items in game. In specific places in the game itself for you to progress through the story or an area, you will have to interact with key characters and objects. The game visually tells the user by having a sparkling area around the object or a yellow diamond above a characters head. These are the visual queues that you know you can interact with the game as the user.

Neverwinter gateway:

I am going to compare the online gateway’s intractable features and talk about the Pros and Cons of using the website.

The gateway is quite limited in some areas as it may offer most of the content that you can interact with in-game and via this website however not all the figure stats from the game itself is not taken into consideration on the website so figures and stats will be off by a big margin and some of the icons for character gear on the character sheet will have extra boxes misleading the user. (refer to image reference 2)

The website pretty much offers nearly the same amount interactivity as it does in-game but you cannot play the game for its main purpose on the gateway. Instead the Gateway has its own feature where you can take companions that you have in the game itself and play a Dice rolling game and get rewards for completing each encounter. The only bug, I have come across during my user experience in this feature is when choosing who take for the encounters. Each character has it individual stats and roles and if I however the over character icon the stats should up overlaying the icon. Other times the stats doesn’t appear so then I have to choose the companion to view more details about the character, which takes an extra 3 steps and another 2 if I want to remove the character. (Refer to image reference 3)

In the gateway there is a simple process of changing between characters that only takes 2 steps from any position of the website. However I encounter a bug where I was viewing one character and I went to change to another and every time I selected the second character the name did change in area that holds the character name but as soon as I went to a different tab of the website it will still be logged as the previous character and would not change.

After a long enough period of time spent on gateway itself without being disconnect by the systems time out for in activity. The website stops responding to interactions of certain tasks or pages will not load. If this is not the problem then If I input so many commands into the website within a short period of time then the website will be unable to load anything. (Refer to image reference 4)

Personal Practice:

If I was too take what I have researched into the different User theories and my own primary research about Neverwinter. Its about taking the time and really thinking about all the different considerations in each stage when making a product for the public or client. To really enhance the interactivity of the user and mechanics of the website / app / game. When in developing a website a primary thought will be about how can I make my product accessible to users with disabilities in the world. How can I present the information to the user in a formal and structure manor that they understand without over-complicating the structure of my product. Those are the two key aspects of when creating an user experience I find personally from my research into the different theories. The designing of the website I can have multiple versions of until I decided on a FINAL design that goes through home page to FAQ, orders, etc. All with the same consistent colour scheme and layout. So far just from the 4 different theories it has already change my point of view when I place myself in a real world environment of my practice. From my primary research, One of the key points that I came across was the bugs during my experience. All the little problems that have wasted my time and having to take certain steps back through my user journey of the Neverwinter gateway to then redo previous steps to complete my original task. Basically put my website under a lot of tests till I cannot find any problems within the website or test on different browsers and find out, which is the most optimal browser and how I could optimise it for other browsers.

Summary:

Overall I have found this report to be an success finding out about the different User experience theories, which has changed my views and how much more I need to consider and make sure my products are accessible by all potential users including ones that may have a disability. My primary research I would say went well, discovering a few bugs and technical issues within a Video game and website of my choice. Being able to find some issues from the most minor and insignificant issues to near enough game breaking, due to game mechanics it’s mean’t be impossible but made possible. Both areas of research in this report I have found to be a simple task, which I can use and reflect on in the future when needed.

Appendix:

Reference image 1:

Interaction

Reference image 2:

<-Main game & Gateway ->

char 1char 2

Reference image 3:

party 2party 1

Reference image 4:

profession 1

Neverwinter user journey:

flowchart

Bibliography:

Mears, C. (2013). User Journeys – The Beginner’s Guide – The UX Review. [online] The UX Review. Available at: http://theuxreview.co.uk/user-journeys-beginners-guide/ [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

Google Books, (2014). Patent US6466232 – Method and system for controlling presentation of information to a user based on the user’s condition. [online] Available at: http://google.com/patents/US6466232 [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

Booth, T. (2010). Consistency: Key to a Better User Experience | UX Booth. [online] Uxbooth.com. Available at: http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/consistency-key-to-a-better-user-experience/ [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

Booth, T. (2010). Consistency: Key to a Better User Experience | UX Booth. [online] Uxbooth.com. Available at: http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/consistency-key-to-a-better-user-experience/ [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

Neverwinter:

Arcgames.com, (2014). Neverwinter | Arc Games. [online] Available at: http://www.arcgames.com/en/games/neverwinter [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

Gateway.playneverwinter.com, (2014). Neverwinter. [online] Available at: https://gateway.playneverwinter.com/ [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

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