The effect of Visual Design Quality on Player Experience Components in Tablet Games
Research in the field of Human Computer Interaction Design indicates that there is a need to develop further methods, tools, and frameworks for the design and evaluation of digital game interfaces. This thesis aims to design, develop, and evaluate two different types of tablet games with varying visual design quality interfaces to examine users’ perceptions of hedonic quality, visual design, emotions, and game enjoyment in different channels of experience. The design-oriented approach was adopted to combine both creative practice and scientific inquiry in the game design process and empirical evaluation. Hypotheses were formulated to explore the significance of visual design quality in relation to the components of player experience. The study entailed two phases. In the first phase, participatory design methods were employed to design and develop the tablet games encompassing mind-mapping techniques, focus groups, iterative prototyping with multiple cycles of usability testing of user interfaces. In the second phase, survey instruments were applied to collect and analyze data from 111 participants using tablet games as stimuli in a controlled experimental condition. The main contribution of this research is creation of a player experience model, validated in the domain of tablet gaming, to serve as a new theory. This research will allow for game researchers and practitioners to obtain a deeper understanding of the significance of the player experience framework components to create optimal player experience in tablet games. The finding shows that highly attractive game user interfaces were perceived to have higher utility and ease of use. Participants exhibited higher levels of arousal and valence in the high visual design quality interfaces mediated by hedonic quality. Participants who were highly sensitive to visual design did not necessarily derive the highest level of game enjoyment. Participants derived a heightened level of engagement in the arousal channel of experience and the highest level of enjoyment in the flow state. The use of 2.5D graphics and analogous color schemes created a spatial illusion that captivated users' attention. Practitioners are encouraged to design game artifacts with feature sets and mechanics capable of transporting players into the state of flow, as this is the stage where they experience game control, excitement and relaxation in addition to game immersion in the state of arousal.
- PhD