Games UX Challenge – Research Objectives

Move from 'reading about' to 'doing' Games UX and user research. This series of real-world Games User Research tasks will allow you to create portfolio-worthy examples of doing real games user research. In this first edition, we look at setting research objectives.

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Move from ‘reading about’ to ‘doing’ Games UX and user research. This series of real-world Games User Research tasks will allow you to create portfolio-worthy examples of doing real games user research.

In this first edition, we look at setting research objectives.

Setting Research Objectives

Research objectives are an essential first part of designing a user research study. By agreeing with your team “what are we going to learn from this study”, we can make sure that we come back with reliable and relevant results.

Research objectives inform important decisions about recruiting participants, research methods, and what type of tasks and questions we’re going to set participants. Getting this right is very important for a successful study.

Scenario

The team behind Pokemon Unite have told you they see a big spike of players quitting in the first thirty minutes. They wonder if it’s because people are getting stuck and not learning everything they need from the tutorial. They have asked for a study looking at the tutorial to see if players are getting stuck or confused.

The Task

Download Pokemon Unite (on any platform. I think it’s currently on Switch, iOS or Android).

Play through the first 30 minutes. Work out what the game thinks it has taught players by the end of the first thirty minutes.

Write out a series of research objectives to cover each of the things that the game expects players to have learned from the first thirty minutes.

(a fictional example – if the game expected players to learn how to use the shop in the first thirty minutes, a corresponding research objective could be Do players successfully learn how to access the shop, and understand what the shop does? )

Extra credit: Think about extra reasons for ‘why might players be dropping out in the first thirty minutes’ beyond ‘not learning from the tutorial’ and write some additional objectives to cover those.

Where to find help?

Here’s some reading around research objectives:

This early newsletter edition + the linked extract from the book How To Be A Games User Researcher talks about setting research objectives.

Erika Hall’s excellent article on the difference between research objectives and interview questions

This article from UserTesting on setting research objectives.

Share your work

The challenge is always open, so feel free to take part at any time – have a go at the task, and share it with me (or keep it as your own work!).

Follow me on twitter ( @Steve_Bromley) and tweet your research objectives with the hashtag #gamesUXchallenge and I will try and include it in my feedback round-up!

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Meet the author

Steve Bromley is an expert user researcher, who works with studios of all sizes to run playtests, and integrate user research into the game development process.

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