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How a UX Design Background Can Get You into the Video Game Industry

By: Lindsay McKay

Published On: October 21, 2021

 

How a UX Design Background Can Get You into the Video Game Industry

The gaming industry, a lot of people are in it, a lot of people are interested in being a part of it, but how do you start? Most people know about the computer science and fine art design route, but did you know about the UX design route? Yes, you can get into the video game industry as a UX designer, even without industrial design or gaming culture experience. But what do these career roles look like, and what UX design principles transfer seamlessly to gaming? I will cover all this and more below. The first thing is to complete a robust UX design course and earn your UX design certification. The next is to gain some experience as a UX designer, or other career options in the industry, to garner some experience, become proficient in all the standard tools in a UX tool belt, and build up your portfolio. 

Roles in Gaming for a UX Designer 

When you are working at a gaming studio, you are a part of a team and are working with many other artists. It is important that you are able to work well in a team be able to communicate; if you have concerns about positive and cooperative communicating, I recommend looking into taking an online communication course. When looking into the roles for a UX designer, they fall into three categories: 

  • UX on a Game Team 
  • UX Supporting Game Team 
  • UX in Esports 

Game Team 

Working on the game team can fall into two more categories: in-game UX and around-game UX. For in-game UX, you focus on solving problems and prototyping moments that happen within the gameplay itself. This can involve working with game designers, artists, visual designers, engineers, character artists, and any number of people all with the goal of achieving the desired outcomes that will make the game player emotionally engaged and satisfied. While for around-game UX, you will focus on every other part of the game, from the start-up screen to progress bars, character customization and so much more.  This can involve working with game designers, artists, engineers, and developers all with the goal of making the game a cohesive experience and that everything outside of the gameplay makes sense and feels integrated within the gameplay. 

Game Supporting Team 

Big companies that have multiple popular games have a team that is dedicated to designing and building systems to support their games. This can include user accounts, how the game and surrounding content is downloaded, sign-ups, installation and even the friends list. When working on this team, you will be working with UX people from the game teams as well to ensure a cohesive and consistent experience for the player.  

Esports 

Working on Esports is unique because you not only have to focus on the experience of the player, but also of the spectators and announcers. You need to consider what a fan needs while they’re watching a match, the information they’ll need between matches, interactive experiences that raise the stakes of otherwise mundane matches, and how to build a connected fan community. With all this to consider, the idea is to focus on making design decisions that make the watching experience informative, intuitive, and accessible to the fans. A lot of prototyping and research goes into Esport UI and UX design.  

Skills You Need to be Successful 

There are many skills you need as a UX designer, especially one that works in the gaming industry, it is not an easy job to get. A big thing in the gaming industry, and what recruiters like to see, is that you have a good amount of user testing experience, whether professional or not. Be sure to learn gaming principles like human-computer interaction (HCI) principles and interaction design to show you are serious about transitioning into the industrial gaming industry. Some software you should get some experience in include Unity and Unreal Engine as well as all common prototyping software like Adobe XD and Axure. UX design tools that will transfer nicely include: 

  • Prototyping 
  • User testing 
  • Flow diagrams 
  • Card sorting 
  • Storyboarding 
  • User Testing 

If you have zero professional game design experience, you should pick a game that you love and run through the exercise of redesigning the UX system and finding ways to improve it. Having this, plus a well-thought-out portfolio showcasing your work, will get you into the interview process with recruiters. 

More interested in marketing than UX design? Check out our digital marketing course and explore career options in digital marketing.

Disclaimer

The information contained in this post is considered true and accurate as of the publication date. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog

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