Usability Testing for Serious Games – Making Informed Decisions

Performing usability tests of serious games is not a new concept. After all, people are used to using different types of media and have learned to navigate websites and play videos. Nevertheless, people may feel less confident when they are reviewing serious games. While they are often thrilling and exciting, these games are unfamiliar territory where users must think consciously about what they want to accomplish. In this article, we’ll discuss usability challenges that serious games developers face when conducting usability tests.

First, usability testing for serious games can reveal the design elements that are crucial to fostering fun and learning during gameplay. For example, a student’s feedback on information task passages revealed that they didn’t like to read them during gameplay. Another example would be an inability to collect information during gameplay. Moreover, fixation duration is important for processing information in a meaningful way. Eyetracking can record the duration of a user’s attention to an important design element in a serious game.

The SeGUE instrument was developed by a team of researchers and was further refined with random selections of serious games evaluation sessions. The tool combines structured and subjective data collected during play sessions and is suitable for small and medium-sized projects. The number of evaluation cycles, specific designs, and game aspects may vary. To ensure the highest level of accuracy, the instrument can be modified to reflect the specific needs of a game development project.

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