James Chaytor in conversation with Dan Pearson for Game Industry Biz
You wouldn’t think that UX/UI design had anything in common with restaurant service. Yet Dan Pearson thinks so as he explains in his interview with Sprung’s CEO James Chaytor back in January for gamesindustry.biz:
UX and UI design is a little like table service: you only tend to notice it when it’s awful. For every dozen games where your hand seems to magically land on the correct button on every page, where your eyes alight on the appropriate menu choice whenever you look for it, there’s one where you’ll fumble for a back button which isn’t there, where you’ll constantly be clicking load instead of save. That makes James Chaytor angry.
“I’m terrible for that,” he laughs. “I line up tables in restaurants, I’m fastidious. I get verbally angry when I see bad menu systems and it will stop me from playing games I’d otherwise enjoy if I find that I can’t sign in or something. It makes me furious – my poor children have to listen to me belittling their favourite games. But the thing about children is they’ll just keep clicking things until something works. They don’t think the world is going to explode if they press the wrong button.”
Beauty and function
James and Dan discuss some of the complexities of the work and the role the company has in creating beautiful, as well as, functional interaction design for the games industry. From the casual gamer to the experienced developer, a poorly designed interface creates a shared frustration. To make a game enjoyably playable takes a particular set of skills and a unique understanding of how we use digital interfaces. It’s a complex art but Sprung relishes every challenge.
James: “I think there are a huge raft of things which are just common sense, and it’s incredible just how often some of those are ignored. You’d think it was pretty obvious that you should always have the back button in the same place, but no, it’s often in strange places, or moved from page to page. A lot of the big players have an established idea of what makes their games specific, but within the industry, and this is what makes it fascinating for me, is that there will always be a game which comes along and changes the landscape completely.