Playability heuristics for mobile games using touchscreen displays

Ülger, Gülşah
Mobile applications market is rapidly growing. The “mobile game” is one of the most popular applications available to users and has a huge market share. Game developers are trying to release games that are more enjoyable and addictive to play. However, only a small minority of these games are successful. Development of a successful mobile game requires that preferred ways of interacting with the game is known. This knowledge is available through user experience (UX) studies. However, most of the UX research for games is on video games played on PCs or dedicated game consoles and not mobile devices. It is known that interaction mechanisms with mobile devices are fundamentally different from those with PCs or game consoles. UX in mobile games has two distinct aspects different from UX in video games in general. One of these aspects is the usability of mobile devices within the context of interacting with a mobile game and the other is the playability of a mobile game using these different means of interaction. While there exist generic sets of heuristics that address good game design, the only set of mobile game playability heuristics was developed in mid-2000s and did not address touch-based capabilities of modern mobile devices. This requires a set of guidelines for developing a good mobile game on modern mobile devices with touchscreen displays. This thesis aims to extend existing heuristics on mobile game playability for touchscreen devices. Previous research on mobile game playability and developments in touchscreen display are reviewed. Existing mobile game playability heuristics are discussed. Four new heuristic rules addressing 1) distribution of game items, 2) user’s handedness, 3) use of tilt sensors and 4) haptic feedback are proposed. These heuristic rules are then tested using subjective UX studies with the widely used game experience questionnaire (GEQ). In addition, expert views from game developers are collected and reported. It was shown through analysis of the obtained results that the distribution of the game items, the user handedness and the tilt property are significant while playing a game. However the existence of haptic feedback in a game does not affect the playability.


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Citation Formats
G. Ülger, “Playability heuristics for mobile games using touchscreen displays,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2013.