40 years of HCI International. Join us in Washington DC to celebrate

T12: Interaction Design and Evaluation in Digital Games

Sunday, 30 June 2024, 13:30 - 17:30 EDT (Washington DC)
Back to Tutorials' Program


Pejman Mirza-Babaei (short bio)

Bluemoon UX Research and Development Ltd. / Ontario Tech University, Canada



This tutorial covers a UX-focused approach to game interaction design. Created with the needs of aspiring games and gamification designers in mind, it's suitable for HCI and games students, practitioners, educators and researchers looking for a deeper understanding of how players interact with video games and how these interactions impact player experience. With hundreds of universities worldwide offering digital media and game development programs, interactive technology is a fast-growing field of study. This tutorial fills a much-needed gap in the HCI games community by connecting interaction design to fundamentals of user experience research (UX) and general game design, addressing the needs of students and educators.


Content and Benefits:

The tutorial aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of game interaction design and evaluation from an application perspective, suitable as both an introductory content for those new to the field while also covering a systematic approach to interaction design for more experienced participants. This balance will be achieved by first providing an essential introduction to interaction design, user-centred design, and human-computer interaction for games, followed by an in-depth analysis of different components of interaction design by exploring design examples and case studies from industry researchers across several categories of games. Topics covered: 1) Intro to understanding players: different people play and interact in different ways, people have various gameplay preferences, etc. 2) How a better understanding of user interaction has helped to shape modern software design practices: Briefly discuss interactions design in games, serious games and gamification versus productivity applications. 3) Discuss a holistic understanding of the interaction design process for games from research to implementation. 4) Learning how to conduct UX research. An overview of the most common approaches for incorporating user feedback and data analysis into game design.

The tutorial content comes from "The Game Designer's Playbook" and the "Games User Research" books published by Oxford University Press. Both books were co-created by the instructor. Participants will learn the skills they need to recognize, evaluate, analyze, and understand interaction design from UX perspectives. Through hands-on exercises, participants will learn how to identify factors that affect how a player plays a game and how to incorporate feedback into their design process. Participants will learn ways to get information from players, such as through direct observation, interviews, and surveys.


Target Audience:

This tutorial aims to provide an introduction to interaction design and its applications in digital games (including serious games and gamification). The audience for the course is split into two components within the HCI community: 1) Students and educators in programs related to the design and development of digital products, interactive media, and video games; 2) Professionals (designers, developers and researchers) in interactive media industries, such as game and app development.


List of materials or devices required by the participants:

Given the hybrid format, all participants should have access to computer, webcam, microphone and headphone.

Bio Sketch of Presenter:

Pejman Mirza-Babaei is an Associate Professor at Ontario Tech University. His research and teaching is focused on the design and evaluation of user experience in interactive entertainment systems. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles, and frequently speaks at academic conferences and industry events. Most of his projects are in collaboration with commercial game developers. Pejman has worked on pre- and post-release evaluation of more than 25 commercial games. He worked as UX Research Director at Execution Labs (Montréal, Canada) from 2015 - 2017 and was a UX researcher at Vertical Slice/Player Research (UK) from 2009 to 2013.

Pejman has taught many courses, tutorials and workshops on topics related to game design and UX research at HCI conferences worldwide. He co-authored a book on game interaction design (title: The Game Designer's Playbook) and a book on user research methods in games (title: Games User Research) published by Oxford University Press.