Template for Usability Project Reports

Below is the proposed structure of the usability project report. Feedback is welcome!

Method

This section explains what was done and how.

It will explain the heuristic evaluation and introduce the used heuristics.

It will explain the user testing:

  • what sort of testers were used and how many
  • what sorts of tasks were given to the testers
  • how much they were assisted
  • the description of the testing environment
  • how they were recorded and observed
  • how the results were compiled from the recordings

Overview of usability of DCSS

Short general overview of the team's experience and thoughts of DCSS's usability, and of the user tests.

List of specific problems

Specific problems are listed, using the following template:

Problem summary Name/summary of the problem
Problem description Long description of the problem
Screenshot(s) Screenshot(s) that describe the situation
Scenario(s) Gameplay scenario(s) (or steps to reproduce) of the situations where the problem is encountered
Breaks heuristic(s) Heuristics that the behaviour violates
Severity Severity of the problem
Occurred in Where the problem was noted: in evaluation, or in (how many) user tests?
Version(s) Version of the game where it occurs
Suggestion(s) Suggestions to fix the problem

They will be structured under the following headlines:

Starting menus

Tutorial

Manual and help screens

Controls

Stairs

Spells

Display

Game mechanics

Other

Appendix: The used heuristics

1. Provide consistent responses to the user’s actions

Games should respond to users’ actions in a predictable manner. Basic mechanics, such as hit detection, game physics, character movement, and enemy behavior, should all be appropriate for the situation that the user is facing. Games should also provide consistent input mappings so that users’ actions always lead to the expected outcome.

2. Allow users to customize video and audio settings, difficulty and game speed

The video and audio settings, and the difficulty and game speed levels seen in games are not appropriate for all users. The system should allow people to customize a range of settings so that the game accommodates their individual needs.

3. Provide predictable and reasonable behavior for computer controlled units

In many games, the computer helps the user control the movement of their character, of a small group of teammates, or of a large number of units. Computer controlled units should behave in a predictable fashion, and users should not be forced to issue extra commands to correct faulty artificial intelligence. The game should control units so that pathfinding and other behaviors are reasonable for in-game situations.

4. Provide unobstructed views that are appropriate for the user’s current actions

Most games provide users with a visual representation (i.e. a “view”) of the virtual location that the user is currently occupying. The game should provide views that allow the user to have a clear, unobstructed view of the area, and of all visual information that is tied to the location. Views should also be designed so that they are appropriate for the activity that the user is carrying out in the game. For example, in a 3D game different camera angles may be needed for jumping sequences, for fighting sequences, and for small and large rooms.

5. Allow users to skip non-playable and frequently repeated content

Many games include lengthy audio and video sequences, or other types of non-interactive content. Games should allow users to skip non-playable content so that it does not interfere with gameplay.

6. Provide intuitive and customizable input mappings

Most games require rapid responses from the user, so input mapping must be designed so that users can issue commands quickly and accurately. Mappings should be easy to learn and should be intuitive to use, leveraging spatial relationships (the up button is above the down button, etc.) and other natural pairings. They should also adopt input conventions that are common in other similar games (e.g. many first-person shooters and real-time strategy games use similar input schemes). Games should allow users to remap the input settings, should support standard input devices (e.g. mouse, keyboard, gamepad), and should provide shortcuts for expert players.

7. Provide controls that are easy to manage, and that have an appropriate level of sensitivity and responsiveness

Many games allow users to control avatars such as characters or vehicles. Controls for avatars should be designed so that they are easy for the user to manage, i.e. they are not too sensitive or unresponsive. When controls are based on real world interactions, such as steering a car or using a control stick in an airplane, the game should respond to input in a way that mirrors the real world. Further, games should respond to controls in a timeframe that is suitable for gameplay requirements.

8. Provide users with information on game status

Users make decisions based on their knowledge of the current status of the game. Examples of common types of information that users need to track include the current status of their character (such as their health, armor status, and location in the game world), objectives, teammates, and enemies. Users should be provided with enough information to allow them to make proper decisions while playing the game.

9. Provide instructions, training, and help

Many games are complex and have steep learning curves, making it challenging for users to gain mastery of game fundamentals. Users should have access to complete documentation on the game, including how to interpret visual representations and how to interact with game elements. When appropriate, users should be provided with interactive training to coach them through the basics. Further, default or recommended choices should be provided when users have to make decisions in complex games, and additional help should be accessible within the application.

10. Provide visual representations that are easy to interpret and that minimize the need for micromanagement

Visual representations, such as radar views, maps, icons, and avatars, are frequently used to convey information about the current status of the game. Visual representations should be designed so that they are easy to interpret, so that they minimize clutter and occlusion, and so that users can differentiate important elements from irrelevant elements. Further, representations should be designed to minimize the need for micromanagement, where users are forced to interactively search through the representation to find needed elements.

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dcss/usability_project/report_template.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-21 22:19 by XuaXua
 
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