Big budget games with ground-breaking gameplay can so often be let down by difficult user interfaces, cryptic menu systems and poor usability. User experience design and information architecture have become fundamental to the process of developing great websites and mobile experiences; could the same tried, tested and trusted techniques work for AAA games?
In the world of mobile gaming it's frequently the smaller independents’ who are the real innovators. Often coming from a web background, many independent mobile game developers are producing beautifully considered interfaces for a whole new class of intelligent contextual games, while the big publishers are still attempting to port console games to inappropriate devices. Have the web backgrounds of these independents’ given them an innate understanding of designing for user context or is it just never having been restricted by the sometimes stringent requirements for Gold Master and the limitations of the 10ft interface?
This is of course a two-way street. Some of the processes involved in game design for consoles have a far greater lineage than that of design for mobile and web, and as such there are techniques that deal directly with adherence to a set of constantly evolving industry standards that could certainly be considered by the wider developing community.
As agencies and professionals become more entrenched in their processes for creating sites, the role of the web designer has become more nuanced. The skillsets of people who call themselves web designers can vary greatly from one to the next. One may never touch code; one may have their hands in every step of building out their designs; others may be somewhere in between.
These days it's hard to know what kind of things you should be expected to do as a web designer. Should we continue to add skills outside of the traditional realm of design to our toolbox? Do we focus on becoming design experts? The way we answer questions will affect our careers and how we work.
In this panel we will discuss what we, as web designers, need to do to adapt to the new trends and ever-changing demands of our craft. We'll talk about what skills a web designer should have in their design toolbox and tackle questions like: should designers know how to code? Where do the skills of a graphic designer and a web designer overlap and where do they differ? And how does the differentiation of role expectations effect design processes?
11th–15th March 2011