Today marks the start of Week 2 with my game/UX design students at NuVu studios. The students – all sophomores and juniors from a local high school – impress me daily. They have completely different perspectives from most designers I’ve worked with, but their dedication and creativity is as sincere as any experienced designer. It speaks very well for them.
Last week we spent two days doing paperwork: user flows, visual asset lists, game logic. Wednesday I introduced them to the programs we’re using: Balsamiq for UI, Game Maker for the action-heavy games, and Animation-ish for basic animations. Thursday was their first experience with usability testing – and it was a rough entry for them. But they bore up well, and spent Friday finessing. (We also spent awhile playing other games, from online Monopoly to Farmville. Y’know, as research!)
It hadn’t occurred to me just how demoralizing usability testing can be to a brand new designer. The students keep a blog, and they all said the same things. To paraphrase: “we learned a lot, but restraining ourselves from telling testers how to play the game was hard!” and “everyone was confused. We have to redo everything.”
I’m hoping to get their spirits back up this week – I’m so incredibly proud of them. I hope they’ll feel as proud of themselves as I am.