In today’s world when almost everything has become digital, even games have become more Web-like. Take Yahoo Answers for instance. When questions are posted randomly, the top answer is selected and then credibility points are given to the winner. Besides this, there is no dearth of Video games that are ruling the roost among Internet users. The question that arises is- can video games be a source of inspiration for web designers? Let us find out. Before dwelling on the efficacy of video games for web designers, let us first talk about good games and what they constitute. A good game should have a usable, interactive interface which should also be capable of handling a large number of repetitive actions, that too in the least clicks possible. Moreover, it should be visually appealing and captivating. It should also have the capability to enhance user experience. When it comes to games, people look for something that can deliver the content to them in a nice manner. And if the interface does not cater to this requirement or expectation, a good game is likely to fail.
Even if we go back a little in time, we will find that in some old games, designers were required to create innovative and creative design patterns to boost the limited system capabilities. And in today’s much advanced world, there are tons of solutions available to design video games in the modern way. What this goes on to show is that web designers can learn a lot from video game interfaces. Using the common game interface tools, a website can easily streamline the user experience and can also add a lot of zing to the site. This proves to be beneficial for traffic volume and encourages repeat visits.
Now a good design is not limited to just the user interface components. Structure and method also matter a lot. Many games have hub-and-spoke type architecture that leads to different tools within menus. For instance if a user selects ‘arms’ then all the options for ‘arms’ open in the next screen. Noe such a structure can prove to be quite confusing and frustrating to the user. However, the same structure can prove to be of great help when it comes to those websites that provide a big chunk of information to visitors. Such a structure will let visitors to focus on one piece of big online task. In fact, it will also help in increasing the conversion rate.
If you are designing a site for a big firm,then you can segment the menu information under headings relevant to the type of visitor. This is because the requirements will differ from visitor to visitor. For such a design, you can start at the top level, with two simple entry points that will work as a funnel. One entry point will be for individuals and another will be for business organizations. You can design the hub page in a manner that it provides the content, and offers relevant tools. This will definitely enhance the user experience.
You can also take inspiration from video games that ‘show’ stuff instead of ‘telling’. For instance, many video games have a character who has to pass through different rooms or levels in order to accomplish a specific task. Such video games provide an immersive experience to the user. A design inspired from the interface of such games will help you create a site with an interface that will ensure that the content is received clearly and is quickly understood via intelligent graphics. As a good designer, you should break the big concepts into small chunks. You can look for points that create confusion and clarify them with tooltips instead of providing long explanations. Just by analyzing closely how a video game ‘shows’ instead of ‘telling’, you can solve many such problems.
Point to be remembered is that in trying to engage visitors through design, you should not go all glitzy. Even a dull and monotonous site can be made more captivating by simply pondering on what elements of the game do people like the most. This is because games not only satisfy your curiosity but also help you in problem-solving and making clear choices. One really important thing to be noticed about games is that they provide a clear feedback. You can incorporate these elements into the interface. And this can be done not just with the help of accordions or carousels but also by asking a simple question like ‘Would you like to know more on this topic?’ this will also increase the user interaction on the website.
Truth is that some designers do implement some of the common user interface components. For instance- hover menus and tooltips are not new. In fact, a designer can implements simple user interface elements in a more creative and innovative manner by analyzing how tooltips and hover menus are implemented in a game. For example- a designer can customize the graphics by using AJAX messages with loader image. This ensures that the user sees a roulette wheel or green screen target instead of the boring spinning loader image. This adds fun to the experience.
Icons also can be created taking inspiration from video games. One of the major differences between a normal website cursor and a games site cursor is that in game menus, icons are used in a very complex manner. A website’s icon should be easy to understand. To ensure optimum usability, you can add text labels. The fact is that icons can help a lot in accelerating navigation. To create good icons, you should use solid colors and high contrast outlines of easily recognizable shapes. You will find such icons in games like Call of Duty series. Such icons are less visually complicated. Moreover, icons can also be used as visual cues to focus attention on key topics.
Slider menus are also good. The game Fable 2 has a beautiful slider menu. On scrolling with the slider, buttons are revealed. The content is presented on the right half of the screen. Context menus are also used in many games. In this, the user is provided with specific options depending on their location in the game and their choice of actions. Designers can make use of context menus to enhance the experience.
Thus it is evident that video game interfaces can prove to be of immense inspiration for designers they can give you a quick and good idea for creating an engaging design to gratify users and enhance their experience.