What We Can Learn About Website Design From Video Games
While websites and video games rarely have the same goal, there is a lot of takeaways that web designers, graphic designers, UX experts and digital agency managers can glean from the video game industry. From the introduction of Pong in 1972, video games have been captivating users for hours upon hours of engaging entertainment. From the way that video game players interact with games to how they feel while playing, video game designers and creators have a great grasp of how to please their end users and continue to generate new games that successfully ROI year after year.
As a UX/Web designer, your goal is to create stunning, interactive, engaging and helpful web content that delights users. This is why, despite utilizing a different medium, web designers can learn a great deal from the user experience of video gamers and how that experience was created by video game designers. From visual to written content to the journey users take to go from first time visitor to converted customer, it takes a complete effort to emulate the success that the video game industry have generated. Consider what you or your company can take from video game creation and usership to apply to your web design process.
Websites should be immersive
Trying to save the world from an alien invasion is a lot less exciting when it’s clear to you the whole time that you’re actually just sitting in your dorm room, putting off writing your term paper. The reason why it’s so easy to get caught up playing the best video games is because they completely commit to the fantasy. From each individual visual and sound effect to the background music and gameplay, you feel like you’re in another world.
You should want the same sensation from the people that visit your site. From the font type to the font size. From each little icon to the precise hex-codes. From the brand voice that’s displayed in the text to the unparalleled design choices. You don’t want users thinking about competitors, their to-do lists, the 10 other tabs they have open at that moment. You don’t want visitors thinking about anything else, except for giving their complete attention to your immersive and engrossing website.
Always think about the user journey
Just like a video game has a storyline or a purpose, your website should have a clear purpose. In order to achieve that purpose, game designers work backwards along the storyboard to create each scenario to continually set the scene for a fun and engaging game. By working backwards, game designers are always one step ahead of a given moment, in order to forecast any potential pitfalls that could negatively impact gameplay.
By working backwards from your end goal, you should always be thinking about how each change you’re making is affecting the overall journey a user is going to take on your site. Which links lead to a dead-end? Does this section need to be explained better? Is this video really necessary here? Each detail will add up to complete the journey a user will take while on your site and impact the overall UX.
There are no small details
From graphics to dialogue and menu sliders to gameplay, there’s a lot that goes into game design. One small hiccup could make the difference between a Golden Joystick award winner and just another game. When it comes to web design, one change to the menu, or site layout could turn a viral success to a spiraling mess. You have to work closely with the entire digital marketing team to ensure your work receive the maximum viewership and functionality.
Gamification can increase engagement
What’s the #1 thing people love about video games? The control! When you’re looking for an escape; when you’re looking for entertainment; you want to feel like you’re in control again. You want to feel like you’re doing something with purpose for a moment. By turning a website into a game-like display, you’re appealing to a user’s psychology. How many times have we caught ourselves throughout the years absentmindedly shooting angry birds, crushing candies and attempting to elude vehicular frogslaughter? Our brains are constantly working to be occupied. The more interactive your website designs are, the more engaged users will be.
Think of how elements can be displayed or revealed. How can the cursor change as it hovers over different elements? How could giving users trackable data impact the frequency with which they visit your site? Find unique ways to allow users to interact with your site and watch your traffic skyrocket.
Everything should feel intuitive
One of the easiest ways to become frustrated with a video game is the occurrence of a glitch. Something that shouldn’t be there, is disrupting the natural process, prevents you from success and in general pulls you away from the immersive experience you were enjoying.
When someone visits your website, you want their to be seamless experience the entire time. Whether you just need sustained viewership or you have a precise path that you want visitors to travel, you can’t afford setbacks within the process without risking the dreaded Bounce.
Just as a video game designer would QA test her game for hours to make sure no glitches were present, you need to walk through your site over and over, entering from different points, assuming the role of different users and weeding out any sticking points that could cause users to leave to find a competitor with a more reliable site.
Make sure that from moment one, everything feels natural. You want to provide enough information to move users forward without suffocating them with aggressive or bulky displays.
You shouldn’t have any parts of your site where the answer to a user’s very next question is more than a click away. User’s should feel like there’s an invisible tour guide, ushering them through your site to the sought after conversion.
It may not be realistic to create a website that gives its users an experience that emulates the addictive dedication that gamers have towards video games, but by taking elements of game design that are most relevant to your website, you can create an extremely unique and bookmark-worthy site that users love.
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