Speaker Spotlight

Each week we’ll hear from one of our talented #gamesUR Europe speakers, for a little insight into their experience, insight and their upcoming session in London. Tickets are available now via the conference website.

Jump to an interview:

  • Alistair Greo from Player Research talks ‘mainstream UX’ versus games, and leaving data on the table.
  • Morgane Schreiber shares Ubisoft’s Self Determination Theory process, and her view on GamesUR’s biggest challenges today.
  • Milovan Dekic talks trust, sprints, and a book reccomendation

Milovan Dekic, Nordeus

Top Eleven propelled Nordeus to the spotlight of the mobile games industry, quickly becoming the most-played online football management game worldwide. From their studio in Belgrade, the last few years have seen Nordeus double down on research, analytics and player insight, both for Top Eleven and their newest property Spellsouls. Researcher Milovan Dekic and colleague Aleksandar Dimitrijevic are sharing their practice of ‘Research Sprints’ at #gamesUR 2017.

So, Milo, what can #gamesUR attendees expect to learn from your talk at #gamesUR?

At #gamesUR we will showcase how and why we implemented Research Sprints for evaluating design ideas, our experiences with it, and how we used them while developing a new feature in Top Eleven.

Sprint practice can help you to stay aligned with developers: they will understand research processes better, and realize that it can be hugely helpful to their work. It can improve trust in research processes and eventually gain a better buy-in for the other research processes on the development side.

Could you share your favourite session you’ve previously seen at a #GamesUR Conference?

My favourite one is one of the first sessions I saw from a GamesUR Conference: Building Ubisoft’s Games User Research Machine, from Ubisoft Paris. I always enjoy hearing about other researchers experiences in developing GUR structures and processes.

Could you share a piece of advice you’d give to  people wanting to start a role in the Games User Research domain?

Start practising some methods right away. Start step by step: read existing articles about best practices around some method, then do that thing on your own. Try to write UX reviews of some games, and then try to get feedback on them from more experienced Researchers. Then iterate on it. Join the GamesUR Discord channel ask for some specific advice. Ideally, get yourself a mentor too!

Have you recently read a book or paper that has influenced your work or changed your perspective on GUR? Please share!

A book I really enjoyed recently is Game Usability – Advice from the experts for advancing the player experience (2008).

Time to ‘fess up: what is your game that is a guilty pleasure?

Puzzledom!

Milo and Aleksandar’s talk on Research Sprints is being presented exclusively at #gamesUR in London, Nov 24th. For more from Milovan, connect with him on LinkedIn

Morgane Schreiber, Ubisoft Paris

Morgane ‘s extensive work in Ubisoft’s Editorial User Research team has seen her lead research for some of Ubi’s highest-profile projects, including Far Cry 5 and Ghost Recon Wildlands. In her talk “Ghost Recon: Wildlands Case Study: Looking through the lens of self-determination theory” Morgane will explore the unique influence of this motivation-theory model on the development of one of 2017’s best-selling titles.

Hi Morgane, could you summarise your talk and one of the key takeaways the conference attendees can expect?

Morgane Schreiber: My talk is about how we better understood players’ needs thanks to Self Determination Theory, and how it helped us improve Ghost Recon: Wildlands’ experience for players.It allow us to ‘go beyond the fun’ to better understand our players and share more actionable feedback to the development teams.

Self Determination Theory really enabled us to give a better structure to interconnect each part of the game, and understand how they could impact the overall experience.

Could you share your favourite session you’ve previously seen at a #GamesUR Conference?

MS: I love so many of them! But if I had to choose only one… it would be Laura Glibert’s talk on VR user research. It was clear, actionable and pleasurable to watch. GG again Laura! And special thanks to the #gamesUR attendees I interviewed for the “What is GamesUR?” series, because they were SO great!

There are lots of people trying very hard to get a job in the GamesUR space! Could you share a piece of advice you’d give to people wanting to get into the domain?

MS: Develop your communication skills more than anything else. You will need to be pertinent, to-the-point and crystal clear as development teams are always 200% busy. But also assertive because you should  convince them of why they should pay attention to “this novice who knows nothing at all about their baby but is already criticizing it”. Also, first step for anyone wanting to get into the domain is the GURSIG Mentoring scheme.

What would you consider the biggest challenge that games user research faces today?

MS: Creating a strong UX task force with UX Designers, Community Devs, QA testers, Marketing teams, etc. – we’re all working to improve, with one voice, the overall player experience right from the beginning until the end.

Favourite game of all time?

MS: The Binding of Isaac <3

How can people follow your wonderful work?

MS: On LinkedIn (but I only update it once per decade) and also on Twitter @LameDeMorgul, but I will flood your feed with human and animals rights stuff from time to time (I warned you 🙂)

Hear Morgane’s talk “Ghost Recon: Wildlands Case Study: Looking through the lens of self-determination theory” at the #GamesUR Europe Conference, 24th November in London.

 

Alistair Greo, Player Research

With 5 years each of traditional UX and games user research under his belt, Alistair has seen both sides of the games/non-games divide. Sharing the #gamesUR stage with Parliament UK’s Steve Bromley, they’ll explore explore lessons from ‘mainstream’ UX and their applications to video game user research.

Together with Steve Bromley from Parliament UK, you’re talking about ‘mainsteam’ UX and leanings for Games Researchers – why this topic?

Alistair Greo: I feel that Games User Research is leaving data on the table with it’s approach to the methods available. We see a lot of cookie-cutter playtesting using the default approaches every time. We could do better work, and help to make better games for players if we were more aware of, and more willing to use the whole suite of user research methods depending on the developer, their game and the research questions they want answered.

Could you share your favourite session you’ve previously seen at a #GamesUR Conference?

AG: Anything where alternative techniques and perspectives are championed – Jonathan Dankoff talking about narrative testing was great, last year Jochen Peketz sharing his experience with diary studies, and Laura Gilbert did the same for VR playtesting. I also liked hearing from Austin Harley about how Riot embed their researchers into teams, leading to a more collaborative approach exploring new, different methods, tricks and techniques.

Could you share a piece of advice you’d give to novice Games User Researchers or folks wanting to get into the domain?

AG: The hardest thing for a novice Games User Researcher is to get ahead of other applicants. You need to stand out, show you can do the work already. Don’t just say you can do the job, remove any doubt – get writing!

Do analyses of games, playtest with friends or ideally friends of friends as participants and write up your reports. Essentially show a nice portfolio of work so a perspective employee can see you will hit the ground running.

 

Do you have a favourite example of an elegant usability/UX fix or feature?

AG: I love that to navigate menus in Fruit Ninja the player had to slice fruit. It means by the time the player gets started they already know exactly what to do!

Finally, your game that is a guilty pleasure?
AG: Fairway Solitaire – I love it!
Full details of Alistair’s talk with Steve Bromley entitled “All Your Methods Are Belong To Us: Lessons GamesUR Can Learn From ‘Mainstream’ User Research” are available on the sessions page.