Game Usability : Advice from the Experts for Advancing UX Strategy and Practice in Videogames book cover
2nd Edition

Game Usability
Advice from the Experts for Advancing UX Strategy and Practice in Videogames

ISBN 9780367619923
Published March 14, 2022 by CRC Press
452 Pages 50 Color & 39 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book introduces the basics in game usability and overall game UX mindset and techniques, as well as looking at current industry best practices and trends. Fully updated for its second edition, it includes practical advice on how to include usability in already tight development timelines, and how to advocate for UX and communicate results to higher-ups effectively.

The book begins with an introduction to UX strategy considerations for games, and to UX design, before moving on to cover core user research and usability techniques as well as how to fit UX practices into the business process. It provides considerations of player differences and offers strategies for inclusion as well as chapters that give platform and context specific advice. With a wealth of new interviews with industry leaders and contributions from the very best in game UX, the book also includes brand new chapters on:

  • Accessibility
  • Mobile Game Usability
  • Data Science
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality
  • Esports

This book will be vital reading for all professional game developers and game UX advocates, as well as those students aspiring to work in game development and game UX.

Table of Contents

Section One: UX and Usability

Chapter 1
Introduction: What’s New in This Edition, How to Read This Book
Katherine Isbister & Celia Hodent

Chapter 2
Advancing Game UX Maturity
Celia Hodent

Interview with Anouk Ben-Tchavtchavadze, UX Designer at Riot Games
Interview with Mike Mariano, Senior UX/UI Designer at Roblox
Interview with Laura Taylor, Senior UX Designer, Unity Technologies

Chapter 3
Usability and Game Feel
Steve Swink

Interview with Jenova Chen, President & Creative Director for thatgamecompany

Section Two: Techniques

Chapter 4
Games Research Evolution at Microsoft
Randy Pagulayan, Daniel V. Gunn, Deborah Hendersen, Melissa Boone, JJ Guajardo, Jessie Thomas, and Dennis Wixon

Chapter 5
Try One Yourself: A Guide to Running a Practice User Study
Katherine Isbister

Chapter 6
Heuristic UX Evaluation in Games
Noah Schaffer

Chapter 7
Let the Game Tester Do the Talking: Think Aloud and Interviewing to Learn About the Game Experience
Jettie Hoonhout

Chapter 8
How Bias Affects Games – And What You Can Do About It
Melissa Boone

Chapter 9
Working with Game Analysts and Data Scientists
Gaelle Arlaut

Chapter 10
Physiological Measures for Game Evaluation
Regan Mandryk and Madison Klarkowski

Section Three: Fitting into Business Processes

Chapter 11
Integrating UX Practices into the Production Pipeline
Heather Chandler

Interview with Nana Wallace, Senior Director, User Research at PlayStation (US) and Rob Johnson, User Research Manager at PlayStation (UK)
Interview with Joe Florey, Senior User Researcher at PlayStation (UK)
Interview with Alexandra Perry, Producer at Media Molecule
Interview with Tobi Saulnier, Founder and CEO of 1st Playable Productions

Section Four: Deeply Understanding Players - Strategies for Inclusion

Chapter 12
Trust & Safety and Fair Play in Video Games: Intentionally Designing Positive Communities
Carlos Figueiredo

Chapter 13
Accessibility Then and Now - History, Myths, Considerations and Tools
Ian Hamilton

Chapter 14
Reframing Inclusion: The Case for Allyship
Jessica Murrey

Interview with Tülay McNally, Director of Inclusive Design & Product Development at Electronics Arts
Interview with Trinidad Hermida, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Niantic
Interview with Jessica Zammit, UX Researcher at Mighty Kingdom, and Director at Represent Me
Interview with Kishonna Gray, Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago
Interview with Nick Yee, Co-Founder of Quantic Foundry
Interview with Roppyaku Tsurumi, Japanese game producer and designer, by Kenji Ono, game journalist, IGDA Japan
Interview with Kate Edwards, CEO and Principal Consultant of Geogrify

Section Five: Platform and Context Specific Advice

Chapter 15
Mobile Game Usability: Design and Research
Holly Grothues, Andrea Abney, Ryan Boughter

Chapter 16
Designing for "Everyone": The Triumph of Casual Mechanics
Nicholas Fortugno

Chapter 17
The Design of Virtual and Augmented Realities
Alexandria Heston

Chapter 18
The Esports Experience: Fan, Player, and Beyond
Laura Levy, Sven Charleer, Taylor Wright

Interview with Erin Hoffman-John, Senior Staff Interaction Designer at Google
Interview with Nicolas Pouard, Vice President, Strategic Innovation Lab, Ubisoft
Interview with Phylissa Li, Principal Design Architect at Roblox

Section Six: Conclusions

Chapter 19
(Re)Discovering the Rich History of Game User Research: An 'Undisciplined' Approach
Bridget Hapner and Carly A. Kocurek

Interview with Yvonne Rogers, Director of UCLIC, University College London

Chapter 20
How to Keep Up with What’s Happening and Last Comments
Celia Hodent and Katherine Isbister


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Katherine Isbister is Professor of Computational Media at UCSC’s Engineering School, where she directs the Social Emotional Technology Lab Her research team creates interactive experiences at the intersection of HCI and Games/Play to heighten social and emotional connections and wellbeing, with over 100 peer-reviewed publications and games shown at IndieCade (Yamove! and SceneSampler) and other public venues. Her most recent book from MIT Press is How Games Move Us: Emotion by Design, winner of an American Library Association award. Isbister is a Founding Fellow of the Higher Education Video Games Alliance, a recipient of MIT Technology Review's Young Innovator Award, and is an ACM Distinguished Scientist.

Celia Hodent holds a PhD in psychology and has over ten years of experience in the development of UX strategy and processes in video game studios. Through her work at Ubisoft, LucasArts, and as Director of UX at Epic Games (Fortnite), she has contributed to many projects across multiple platforms, from PC to consoles, mobile, and VR. Celia is also the founder of the Game UX Summit, and advisor for the GDC UX Summit. She is the author of The Gamer’s Brain: How Neuroscience and UX can Impact Video Game Design and of The Psychology of Video Games. She currently works as an independent game UX consultant.

Twitter: @CeliaHodent