Blog

Evaluation of the game experience of „Need for Speed: Rivals”

Jörg Niesenhaus
January 20th, 2014

In December Centigrade carried out an evaluation of the racing game “Need for Speed: Rivals” for Electronic Arts – one of the biggest publishers and developers of computer- and videogames. Focus of the evaluation was the recording and analysis of the game experience under consideration of different situations in the game.

Based on their vast experience regarding the evaluation of computer and videogames, the pilot study was conducted by the Centigrade team of the North-Western branch under direction of Joerg Niesenhaus in close collaboration with the Deutsche Sporthochschule in Cologne. The Deutsche Sporthochschule runs a state-of-the-art interaction lab and contributed expertise in the evaluation of interactive entertainment via Dr. Carsten Moeller.
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It’s time to redesign email

Andreas Burghart
December 1st, 2013

Some new e-mail clients have been introduced recently. Unibox, Airmail, Mail Pilot and others feature convincing visual design, increased joy of use and intriguing interaction concepts.
In my opinion, the person-centered approach of Unibox is very promising. Instead of being organized in a folder hierarchy, e-mails are sorted based on contacts (friends, colleagues, etc.), which results in speedier e-mail retrieval. In addition, one almost forgets that one is dealing with e-mails – it feels more like a conversation between two people. I wonder why nobody has thought of this approach earlier.

The redesigns have inspired me to have closer look at e-mail clients and propose some additional concepts.

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Industry 4.0: Gamification in the area of industrial production

Jörg Niesenhaus
November 18th, 2013

A few months ago we discussed the challenges and potentials of gamification and the process of implementing gamification methods. We pointed out that an extensive analysis of the existing processes and well adapted gamification mechanisms increase the chances of success – for instance to optimize the efficiency of a process or raise the employee satisfaction.

In our current blog article we dive into the widely debated industry 4.0 theme and focus on the application area of industrial production and the role gamification methods could play within this area, and also which specific requirements have to be fulfilled to enable the implementation of playful elements.

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10 reasons why the “serious” software industry can learn from computer games in terms of user experience – Part 2

Günter Pellner
Günter Pellner
August 14th, 2013

In Part 1, we discovered that the emotional factor of user experience is more important to games than goal-oriented functionality (though being an effective and efficient way of reaching a goal, there is no “Save the Princess” button in a Mario game at the beginning). Up to a certain degree, well-designed user experiences can distract from negative and/or not fixable interaction flaws and can make users “like” an application more than another.

Furthermore the diverse team composition of game development studios was discussed in the first part. In this context we pointed out that the production process of games forces programmers and visual designers to work closely together. Design is not seen as an add-on but as an essential part, which is necessary for the product to work.

The last chapter focused on the aspect of small budgets in game projects. Rapid iterative testing and evaluation (RITE) helps to detect and fix flaws of a UI in a very fast way, thus reducing time and money spent on traditional usability optimization.

In Part 2 we will look at the aspects of imaginary worlds and the link between reality and simulation. Thereafter, we will show which techniques are used in games to reduce loading, and even more important, waiting times. In the last section we compare how serious applications and games introduce their functionality to the user. To get a better understanding of the concept of Gamification you can also read: “Gamification as a design process” by my colleague Jörg Niesenhaus.
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Gamification as a design process

„Game-Based Learning“, „Serious Games“,„Games with a Purpose“ and „Gamification“– the list of concepts, which build upon the prospect of using the potential of games in other application areas is long. All concepts share the same idea of generating additional benefits beyond pure entertainment by using games, their technology or mechanisms. By no means, all of these expectations raised by the concepts are achieved. A lot of projects fail due to the incompatibility of games and serious applications and it often appears, that the effort for achieving compatibility is not commercially viable.

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„We need Ribbons“ – Pros and Cons

Tobias Gölzer
June 28th, 2013

“We need ribbons” is the new “Make it like the iPhone”. Since Microsoft introduced ribbons as part of the Office Fluent User Interface with Office 2007, this sentence is frequently uttered by clients. The rationales for this requirement range from „Microsoft has probably put a lot of thought into it“ to „Our customers are used to Office“. Ribbons seem to be perceived as a remedy for poor usability. But not every interface benefits from using ribbons.

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Desktop Modern UI

Microsoft’s Modern UI design language has arrived in many applications with varying success. By now, almost everybody has seen Modern UI (formerly known as Metro), and Microsoft seems committed. Developers of Windows software have to think about the fact that a lot of established interfaces look out of place in a Modern UI environment. It needs to be adapted to the current state of interface design, even more with Apple similarly moving iOS 7 to a flat UI style. Working on such updates, we have collected a set of 10 design principles we call, for the sake of simplicity, “Desktop Modern UI”, and we want to share them with you. read more…

From windows to tiles: Contrasting WinRT´s UI framework with WPF – Another case study

A while back, we have published a small case study illustrating our experiences gained in the course of porting an existing WP7-based application to WinRT. As we are continuously growing our competencies regarding WinRT development, we were able to identify a bunch of further differences between WinRT XAML and WPF XAML (as well as Silverlight or Windows Phone 7.X). In this blog post, we want to introduce you to some further prominent differences as well as important characteristics of the WinRT UI Framework that differentiate this API from WPF. Specifically, we will have a look at Bindings, Commands and DependencyProperties.
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From windows to tiles: Leveraging reflection to inspect and contrast WPF with WinRT XAML

To begin with, our primal, simple aim was contrasting several concepts as applied in good old WPF with the way they have been implemented in WinRT . To actually enable a both exhaustive and reasonable comparison between both UI frameworks, we pragmatically decided to unleash some reflection functionality on the respectively affected assemblies. read more…

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