Bullard, Thomas (2015) Designing a user interface for serious games: Observing differences in user response between gamers and non-gamers within the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

As entertainment games become an established part of our media, public and private sector companies will look to utilise the benefits of games to train, educate and assess their workforce in engaging ways. This may require a generation unfamiliar with games technology to use them for the first time. As designers we need to consider this, to make sure that the User Interfaces (UI) we create are usable and easily understood to those unfamiliar with the medium.
This body of research is a study into the design and testing of a serious game for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS).
Do players of video games develop an understanding of the convention, knowledge and skills over time, which could be seen as a distinct language? – A kind of ‘game literacy.’ If so, then a serious game, which may have a mixed skill group, cannot solely rely on the conventions that work in entertainment games. Therefore, can a recognised UI design process from another discipline be used to develop a serious games UI?
To investigate this, Goal-Directed Design is used as a research methodology with a particular focus on the impact learning domain knowledge has on the designer’s ability to create a suitable product for the client. This includes the author undergoing introductory Incident Command training to see the benefits that had on the project.
In response to learning the Fire Service’s domain, a prototype product was developed to help the creation and examination of Incident Commanders for the Fire Service. This was then tested on five Fire Officers, of varying ages, to observe how they used and interacted with software unfamiliar to them. This provided an insight into aspects of UIs gamers and non-gamers have problems with and also to see if there is a technological gap between generations.
This research suggests there may be a technology generation gap but it is not as polarised as either ‘native’ or ‘immigrant’ but more gradual. Goal Directed Design appears to set out a suitable approach for serious games developers to conduct user research.

Final thesis - BULLARD.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (6MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email