Girl playtesting computer games

CHI Course 2023

Learn how to design and research user experience in games with our online course! We cover UX design, research, and analytics. Experts from the Games User Research book published by Oxford University Press teach you how to use player feedback to make great games. Get the skills you need to understand players and create engaging games.

We are happy to be back at CHI for 2023!

Lennart, Pejman and Anders will be running an online course aimed at helping participants understand the complexities of user experience (UX) research methods for games.

We have put together three course units to cover main aspects of UX research in games: UX design for games, games user research, and game analytics. The goal of the course is to provide a well-rounded overview of UX design and research in games to help participants turn player feedback into actionable design recommendations.


The course is focused on delivering the following takeaways:

• Understanding UX design approaches to video games.
• Learning how to conduct games user research. An overview of the most common approaches
• Getting detailed insights into game analytics

Intended Audience

The course is aimed at early-career researchers and junior students interested in furthering their knowledge in UX design and research for video games. No pre-requisite experience is required to partake in the course.
• Junior researchers wanting to learn more about UX design and research in video games.
• Quantiative researchers wanting to branch out into game analytics.
• Graduate students wanting an overview of what’s possible in UX research and design for games.

Join this online course if you want to expand your understanding about what UX design and research is like for video games and to receive introductory training in the main approaches.

All participants are expected to have a computer with a stable Internet connection, online
video software with microphone and webcam available. It is also recommended that you have accounts and logins created for Notion and Miro before the beginning of the course.

Course content

The course is structured into three online units (see Table 1), the first one UX design for video games, the second one on an overview of games user research methods, the third one on game analytics.

Unit 1 UX Design for Games
• 25 mins Introduction, Goals, and Icebreaker activity
• 50 mins Discussion of UX Design in Games (Lennart and Pejman)

The main goal of this unit is to introduce game design approaches that are focused on creating a positive user experience. The importance of designing game features iteratively will be discussed and special regard will be given to design segmentation and thinking.

Unit 2 Games User Research Methods
• 15 mins Discussion: Which methods for what research questions? (Everyone)
• 30 mins Methods on a budget and working with indies (Pejman)
• 30 mins Lab-based user research (Lennart)

Here, the instructors will do a deep dive into the existing methods and approaches discussed in the book Games User Research. Two approaches will be highlighted in particular: rapid, iterative, mobile and casual testing approaches with independent developers and lab-based traditional user research experimentation.

Unit 3 Game Analytics
• 15 mins Recap and outlook (Anders and Pejman)
• 60 mins Guided discussion and presentation on game analytics (Anders)

The final section will go deep on quantitative approaches to measure UX in games. Specifically, the value of metrics that help understand player behaviour and how it relates time and money spent in a game will be deconstructed.

Practical work

All three units feature bits of practical work, ranging from an online discussion about games user research to work in Notion and Miro. We will review approaches online using post-it notes exercises (e.g., using Miro boards). The coursework aims to strike a balance between practical writing in Overleaf and the online discussion of participants.