What Can Web Developers Learn From the World of Video Game UI Design?

User Interface (UI) or User Experience (UX) design is all about how the user is able to interact with the application. Web developers can learn a lot from and be inspired by how video game design has evolved and how UI and UX in that context have become exceedingly effective and engaging. While the aesthetic is often held to be of primary importance, in many cases function and form work seamlessly together, but only if there is sufficient expertise brought to bear to achieve the desired results.

Here are some of the best tips from experts that can help you to achieve good UI design in your preferred web environment:

UI elements

Central to great UI design is the code you use, plus the audio and video feedbacks and the hardware devices that support both input and output. Ultimately, you want to achieve a satisfying experience on the part of the user, and the video games industry has provided exactly that for many admiring fans and enduring devotees.

Attracting potential players to a game is one thing, keeping them immersed in ongoing gameplay is a matter of intelligent and skillful design in order to produce a functional and elegant interface. In the gaming world, while novelty can be attractive if new requirements are easily learned, when it comes to upgrades or new releases, anything that requires a steep learning curve because some of the fundamentals have changed often dampens enthusiasm and deters potential involvement on the part of players.

World of Warcraft (WoW) is a great example of excellent UI design. Blizzard Entertainment created this originally in 2004 as a real time strategy (RTS) game, now however, it is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). By May 2015, WoW had 7.1 million subscribers and held the Guinness World Record as a result.

What is attractive about the UI design of WoW is that it allows new players to get started easily and quickly, and enables them to interact with other players from the start, while at the same time keeping experienced players engaged. Director, President and Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick of Activision Blizzard has long campaigned to push business partners in the gaming sector for changes that he believes will benefit the gaming community, and in 2010 it was reported that “keeping passion in game development is something that’s important to him.” This is exemplified in the emotional responses that some of the game’s elements evoke, particularly in the form of challenges and quests.

Focusing on the client

Indeed, passion may be what it’s all about when it comes to most kinds of web design and a clear focus on the needs and expectations of the client has the potential to expand the horizons of every developer as well as to enhance the user experience. What web developers are learning from WoW and other games is that making work-related tasks into fun activities means they can be regarded as just as engaging (and perhaps every bit as addictive) as gaming. Strategies for “gamification” used by web developers might ­include building in the ability for point scoring, setting out rules for play and encouraging competition and engagement with others. All of these can be viewed as good things in almost any business context.

The way ahead

Advances such as wearable technology and the internet of everything continue to highlight the importance of getting UI design right. Developers need to focus on becoming more intuitive, offering the option for users to respond to invitations to participate exactly as suits them. Then they will get the kind of response that has long been the preserve of gaming programs.

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