The actual character selection screen that shipped with the game.
Those who can't do, review?
If you've spent any time in this folio, it's clear I've got a serious passion for the UI and UX found in video games. So much of what we consider modern UI practice is rooted in the digital interfaces built decades prior for video game purposes. GPS, for example, existed in games like Grand Theft Auto long before the technology was actually available to consumers.
I've always felt that, as UX designers, we could learn a lot from studying video game UX. As a writer for Superjump Magazine, I chose that to be my focus - taking games with interesting UX challenges, and seeing what I can learn from them.
I think it's also important for designers to put their money where their mouth is, so rather than just review these experiences, I did my best to solve problems and create interesting solutions to those challenges.
If you find this interesting, I strongly encourage you to take a look at the actual articles, which go in to much more detail. You'll find them linked at the start of each case study.
Character select, redux.
When I chose Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 as the next game I'd look into, I thought it was an interesting chance to take what I'd learned in the exploration of Smash Bros, and take it forward.
In the case of Ultimate Alliance, you're choosing a squad of four characters rather than just one, so the challenge is quite different.
While I liked early designs on a big TV, I was conscious that the extra noise would make it challenging for the Nintendo Switch's small screen.
I really wanted to help players find synergistic squads of characters, so my designs focused on showcasing when characters linked up.
Unlike the previous explorations, I built the Ultimate Alliance screens and fully functioning prototypes. This allowed me to ensure that the primary tasks the player needed to complete would work, and also see how information might change as characters changed..
Alongside character selection, I added new menus for character customization. For these, I focused on clarity of information and quick use, as these options are switched frequently during gameplay.
Cast-ing a wide net. Get it?
The obvious opportunity for improvement in Super Smash Bros. was the character select screen, which needed to contain a massive roster while still being easy to understand, navigate, and operate.
I went through a number of iterations on redesigning the character select screen, trying to incorporate options that would work for both multiplayer and single player.
I felt there was an opportunity to more significantly feature the key art of each character, so many of my concepts tried to showcase that art as much as possible.
I also wanted to make choosing a character less arbitrary, so the designs often included mechanisms to sort of arrange characters around their gameplay.
Navigating the galaxy, one star at a time.
My first attempt article focused on No Man's Sky, a game about interstellar travel and discovery. No Man's Sky's map system was rudimentary at best - it was difficult to understand, and even more difficult to navigate.
Not only was the experience poor, but it didn't offer a significant amount of information to the user. Despite the game being all about exploration, the map offered little to help you explore.
With that in mind, my goal was to make the map more usable and make it intrinsically relevant to gameplay.
There's a lot going on in the above image. In summary, the side-panel navigation makes it easy for the player to scroll through planets, and the extra information in the bottom left gives the player additional information about each system.
I also did a minor overhaul of the inventory system, adding sorting and a crafting queue system. Both these features were intended to minimize the time players' needed to spend managing their inventory.