5 Tips Designers can Learn from Video Games

“Video games are bad for you? That’s what they said about rock-n-roll.”

– Shigeru Miyamoto

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Video Games are something that inspire me on a daily basis – and I’m not just saying this because I play League of Legends daily; I’m an avid gamer since the 90s, since the first Warcraft, since my hands stumbled on Castlevania. Oh how gladly I remember playing Contra and destroying controllers.

Designers should learn a thing or two from Video Games. Like how to give your website, your art a story, a story that you can emphasize with. Icons, tons of new, different icons. User engagement at max level! Ah, there are so many things. Want to share the journey with us? Well, scroll down and be a part of the trip!

1. The Big Picture

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Adam Levine is one of the great minds behind the Bioshock franchise. I completely adore it, and I’ve learned so many things from this game. The first that comes into my mind is trying to figure out the big picture, and not plotting another course.

Designers miss the big picture, and they focus too much on the tiniest details. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s great when even the smallest details get worked, and explored, but don’t forget what your end game is, what your goal is.

2. Menus

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I want a Menu with an elaborate search system, with an intrinsic value that transcends humanity. Well, that last part is complete rubbish, but it wouldn’t hurt to have it.  I want a menu that allows me to navigate through other menus, and that won’t open a new tab, or completely discard what I’ve searched before.

Games do this extraordinarily significant. Take for example League of Legends, a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) and their shop menu. I can navigate through it and buy everything I want, without worrying that I will lose my start.

3. User Engagement

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You know who did an excellent job on the “User Engagement” department? The guys and girls over at Blizzard, with their World of Warcraft game. At their peak, they had 22 million monthly subscribers. And they wanted more and more.

Blizzard was more than happy to provide such quality. Every 3 months or so, they would bring new patches with additional dungeons, battlegrounds, bug fixes, items, new spells, mechanisms.

They were always adding stuff to their repertoire. Designers should learn this, and adapt to their ways. If you want to engage your users you have to offer something first, and only after you can have your rewards. Try to make events that hit your target demographic.

4. Appropriate UI

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The Sid Meier’s Civilization V. It has the most appropriate UI I have ever seen, and not just in a game. It’s incredibly user-friendly, and anyone can learn to navigate through it, and learn how to play.

What I see nowadays, regarding websites is that they lack the UI capable of guiding me to what I need it. I often find myself confused while searching something on a website. Whether it is the poor icons that they use, the incredibly stupid UI or the horrible font that I’m obligated to see.

5. Icons, Tons of Icons

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You know how to attract a user right? Give him eye candy visuals, and add functionality to it. It doesn’t matter if that icon is useless, that it only serves to give one line of information; your users will love the possibility of clicking on something and be rewarded with something after.

Crusader Kings has a lot of icons, some that you can’t play the game without, others that you could just leave them never to be clicked.

This was my short list of 5 tips designers can learn from video games. If you have anything to add, please feel free to do so by posting in the comments section below.

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