How Game Design Can Help you Build a Website
I (Spencer) recently finished a graduate degree at the University of Utah. This is pretty much the coolest degree since it was in video game design and production. I actually received a degree that says I am a “Video Game Master”. Cool right?
So why am I not working at a video game studio making the next zombie shooter game? I don’t want to. Although I went to college to learn how to make the best games, I left learning how to make the best interactive experiences ever.
That is why I chose to work at Digital Trike. We build and create interactive experiences for those that need it. We’re your one stop shop for purpose driven websites, software tools and mobile applications.
We pride ourselves on a proven system of Think, Design, Code, and Optimize, where we make more than just a typical website or app. We make technology interactive. We are conscious of every decision a user makes and how that can be the experience that a person wants with the technology we create.
Design Can Be Fun
A great system I learned in designing games is the Box Method. The idea is to actually limit yourself and embrace boundaries. The first big thing everyone wants to believe is they can make and do whatever they want. Paralysis through freedom sets in and nothing gets done. Providing your own boundaries allows you to know how to make the best that you are capable of making.
For example, Here’s something pretty neat I have learned and would like to share with you. Lets start with a box.
Each side of the box represents 4 main elements:
Does this sound familiar? Each of these can be easily related to the method we already use at Digital Trike:
- Audience – -> Think
- Aesthetic – -> Design
- Technology- -> Code
- Why – -> Optimize
You Are Not The Audience! (I asked to put a <blink> tag on that but marketing said no.)
These 4 elements help you realize one vital problem to creating any product or technology. When you realize how much effort it is to pay attention to what the user wants and needs then the product becomes great.
The Inception part of all of this is using the box method for each step of Think, Design, Code, and Optimize. How can you build up walls when deciding your strategy for the direction of the technology? Is this really a valid problem we will spend time designing a solution for?
Is it “Fun”?
I collected baseball cards as a child and the most prized cards were the MVPs (Most Valuable Players). The value holds to the acronym but for technology, your value is in your Minimum Viable Product.
In the past, game companies would spend millions of dollars on a game and publish it with fingers crossed that it would succeed. Many, and I mean many, failed. Remember E.T. for the Atari? Now they are smarter by prototyping; spending a few thousand dollars to try something raw but answer the question as fast as possible: “is it fun?” If it is, then they will execute a larger development. At each step of the process they continue to ask “is it still fun?”
If the core element to your technology is “fun” then you know it is worth pursuing. Proving to someone you need funding for the technology is much easier and refining and reducing the MVP will only make the technology better. From there you can grow the technology to have all the bells and whistles you want because at its core, it will be fun.
Optimize in Mind
Digital Trike first started with only Think, Design and Code but soon understood the difference between a product and service. We then added Optimize to our services, realizing we currently provide Optimize through hosting and maintenance.
More successful games today consider themselves a service and no longer a product. They are constantly pushing updates to improve the experience. Minor tweaks that will change the experience overall all while maintaining the “fun” of the game.
Begin to think of any technology as something that you can constantly optimize as the user embraces the technology you create.
Though the game industry did not create AB testing, companies like Zynga proved they can make a 10 billion dollar company by using this principle.
Technologies today are so easily connected to “the cloud” that you will do a disservice to yourself if you do not utilize analytics to tell you how your users interact with your product. Using heatmaps and AB testing will give you a better sense of what is working once your product ships and how you can improve on it.
Any good game company knows that if you do not have a first update to the game ready to ship once the game is published then you have missed your chance to keep your users engaged.
As you have read, I was able to compare the basics of game design to how we at Digital Trike produce services that are fun and interactive, always able to be optimized and updated when needed. We make sure to stay on top of the game when it comes to the latest upgrades or popular features that everyone wants to get their hands on in some form or another. We are proud of our interactive technology, and are always looking forward to serving our current and future clients with an interactive product they will be proud of as well!