Conference Paper

Heuristics for designing digital games in assistive environments: Applying the guidelines to an ageing society

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to identify a set of heuristics for designing assistive ‘gamer-friendly’ environments. These heuristics are based on the literature review on game heuristics, game interfaces addressed to older adults and assistive technologies. Forty-seven papers published between 1980 and 2016 in English and Portuguese-language publications met inclusion criteria. Four web-based games and one exergame co-designed with a group of older adults and developed by our research team were then analysed in terms of the heuristics proposed. The following review presents sets of recommendations for designing assistive ‘gamer-friendly’ environments, taking into account the challenges posed by an ageing society.

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... Following guidelines when designing to senior citizens (e.g. Veloso & Costa, 2016), it was decided to use predominantly the font Gibson, which is sans serif, simple and easy to read because of the simpler lines. Open Sans, also a sans serif font, was used in some titles, in order to generate some visual hierarchy between the elements. ...
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Over the past few years, there has been a growing interest in the use of Information and Communication Technologies addressed to an ageing population. Since senior citizens are becoming better consumers of digitally mediated products, there has been an increasingly need to meet their demands and preferences, while fostering active ageing. However, even if a boom is observed in this field, there is a lack of information and products that address cycling, senior tourism and its impact into their well-being. The aim of this research is to report on how gamification can motivate and change senior citizens’ behaviours, whereas a wide selection of methods, including focus groups, eye-tracking and interviews, were used. A total of 46 participants aged 55 years and over, with different nationalities were involved in a development method research. Based on the literature review, related work and the insights from each method, a cyclo-tourism digital app entitled Jizo was co-designed. The results recommend a set of gamification techniques and elements that can motivate senior citizens to cyclo-tourism, being essential integrative parts of an app in this context. The game elements that were highlighted were: social relationships, progression, challenges, competition, feedback and rewards. These data support the view on the potential of gamification to motivate active ageing and sustainable cyclo-tourism.
... AT and accessible solutions also centered around overcoming limitations but for those users whose physical limitations are more omnipresent. Examples include single-handed interaction [36] and [56], as well as support for both left-and right-hand use and various hand sizes and grips [20]. ...
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... teraction, Stockholm, Sweden. Vaziri, D. D., Aal, K., Ogonowski, C., Von Rekowski, T., Kroll, M., et al. (2016). Exploring user experience and technology acceptance for a fall prevention system: results from a randomized clinical trial and a living lab. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 13(1), 6. doi:10.1186/s11556-016-0165-z Veloso, A. I., & Costa, L. V. (2016, 1-3 Dec. 2016 . Systematic review of Kinect applications in elderly care and stroke rehabilitation. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 11, 108-108. doi:10.1186/1743-0003-11-108 Weiss, P., Kizony, R., Feintuch, U., & Katz, N. (2006 Taketomi, T., Sandor, C., et al. (2015, 23-23 March 2015. A user interface design for the eld ...
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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), physical health is one of the indicators for the elderly’s quality of life, and it declines with increasing age. Participation in regular physical exercises can help the elderly improve their physical and functional health, and this has been aided by the use of modern technologies such as robots and other assistive technologies. Of these latest technologies, digital games have shown promise to improve and enhance the elderly’s physical exercise activities through fun, entertaining, and engaging gameplay. Some commercial games in the market (e.g. Microsoft Kinect-Sports and Nintendo Wii Sports games) have shown the potential to improve the elderly’s physical health such as gait, balance, and fall prevention. In recent years, Finnish researchers have used digital games to promote older Finns’ healthy and active ageing; however, further research is needed particularly in the context of Finland. Thus, in this research, we used a digital game-based exercise system called the Skiing Game, designed and developed by the Turku Game Lab, to specifically assess its applications for older Finns’ physical activities, focusing on the quality of users’ experiences, and their reported ease of use and perceived usefulness. By using the mixed methods approach, which applies both qualitative and quantitative research methods, we then evaluated the Skiing Game in Finland with 21 elderly Finns, as well as conducted a comparative test of the game in Japan with 24 elderly Japanese participants to further understand non-Finnish elderly users’ experiences and their perceptions of its usefulness. The findings from the usability study of the Skiing Game in Finland demonstrated that elderly Finns, who never played digital games before the study, had a positive experience in the gameplay, and their motivation was noticeably high. Although prior to the study most of them had negative views and misconceptions about digital games (e.g. “Digital games are only for the younger generation”), after the gameplay their attitudes were decidedly positive. It also confirmed that elderly Finns have a genuine interest in digital game-based exercises and strong intentions to play digital games as a form of physical exercise in the future. They acknowledged that whilst playing digital games could be an alternative way of exercising for them their use would primarily be when they don’t have access to their usual non-digital physical exercise. They recommended using digital games as an alternative exercise at home-based settings while showing the potential use of them at elderly homes and clinical settings (e.g. rehabilitation centers). The findings from the cross-country usability testing in Japan showed that the elderly Japanese people also had similar positive user experiences in playing digital games, and also intend to use them in the future. In addition, the Japanese usability study confirmed that the Skiing Game is well-accepted by non-Finnish elderly people outside of Finland. The findings from this study can provide valuable insights and create opportunities particularly for Finnish policymakers and healthcare practitioners in Finland who are keen to introduce digital games into the aged-care sector in Finland. For instance, our study suggests that digital game-based interventions can be implemented and introduced to elderly Finns at aged homes, clinical and home-based settings. Furthermore, digital game-based activities can be deployed and integrated into conventional non-digital physical exercise programs at elderly homes and individual family homes across Finland. The studies have also provided valuable insights into the optimal methods for introducing Finnish digital games to international markets, in particular, digital games tailored specifically for the physical exercise needs and motivations of the elderly. Based on the usability lessons learned from these two studies, recommendations for practitioners and designers regarding improvements in game design and development are made in this report. Implementing these modifications into future designs and further development of digital games for the elderly will improve their commercial viability and user uptake. Last but not least, the findings from this study open doors for researchers in digital media and gerontechnology to further study in the context of digital games for active and healthy ageing.
... Although there is an urgent need to address these variables when designing digitally mediated approaches with both the delivery of Information and Communication Technologies as a service and the intertwining of technology to daily life and societal challengese.g. gamification, games with a purpose, smart technology, active and assisted living, the proposed solutions seem to focus on the cognitive aspects and rehabilitation (Costa and Veloso 2017a;Veloso and Costa 2017). In fact, when designing solutions for active ageing, one should also address such concepts as health (physical and cognitive activity, nutrition, social relationships), security and participation in society (Costa and Veloso 2017c) as these are suggested to be relevant to the concept of active ageing, provided by the WHO (2002). ...
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Cooperative design has been an integral part of many games. With the success of games like Left4Dead, many game designers and producers are currently exploring the addition of cooperative patterns within their games. Unfortunately, very little research investigated cooperative patterns or methods to evaluate them. In this paper, we present a set of cooperative patterns identified based on analysis of fourteen cooperative games. Additionally, we propose Cooperative Performance Metrics (CPM). To evaluate the use of these CPMs, we ran a study with a total of 60 participants, grouped in 2-3 participants per session. Participants were asked to play four cooperative games (Rock Band 2, Lego Star Wars, Kameo, and Little Big Planet). Videos of the play sessions were annotated using the CPMs, which were then mapped to cooperative patterns that caused them. Results, validated through inter-rater agreement, identify several effective cooperative patterns and lessons for future cooperative game designs.
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In this paper we use evaluation methods that are mainly used in software so as to assess the usability of a video game. More specifically we examine the strategy game "Civilization IV" as well as the tutorial of the game. The study is using during the process of the experiment original evaluation methods as well as combined and the final results are of great interest. It is worth mentioning that we have used a strategy game which is not merely educational and evaluated to what extend it may contribute to the learning process.
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Expert evaluation is a widely used method for evaluating the usability of software products. When evaluating games, traditional usability heuristics lack comprehension and cannot be directly applied. In this paper, we introduce playability heuristics that are specifically designed for evaluating mobile games. Heuristics form a core model that can be used in any mobile game evaluation. The model consists of three modules: Game Usability, Mobility, and Gameplay. The mobile context has some unique characteristics, which require special attention during the evaluation. These characteristics are described in mobility heuristics. Mobile devices also set some of their own requirements for general usability and these issues are described along with game usability heuristics. These heuristics have been developed by using an iterative design process of a mobile game. In addition, we have validated the heuristics and evaluated five mobile games by using them with the expert evaluation method. The results indicate that playability problems, which violate game usability or mobility heuristics, are quite easy to identify. Gameplay problems are harder to find, but gameplay heuristics help in evaluation and focus on different aspects of the gameplay.
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In this paper, we describe a conceptual framework and address the related issues and solutions in the identification of three major challenges for the development and evaluation of Immersive Digital Educational Games (IDEGs). These challenges are (i) advancing adaptive educational technologies to shape learning experience, ensuring the individualization of learning experiences, adaptation to personal aims, needs, abilities and prerequisites; (ii) providing technological approaches to reduce the development costs for IDEGs; by enabling the creation of entirely different stories and games for a variety of different learning domains, each based, more or less, on the same pool of story units; patterns and structures; (iii) developing robust evaluation methodologies for IDEGs by the extension of ISO 9241 to include user satisfaction, motivation and learning progress and other User Experience (UX) attributes. While our research and development is by no means concluded, we believe that we have arrived at a stage where conclusions may be drawn, which will be of considerable use to other researchers in this domain.
Article
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GameSpace was a new kind of a research project: it involved close collaboration between academic researchers and the game industry, and it looked at the methodological issues involved in game creation rather than focusing on a single game product or technology. The project was funded by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) and five industry partners. The GameSpace industry partners were Nokia Research Center, Veikkaus, TeliaSonera Finland, Sulake Corporation and Digital Chocolate. The project ran for over two years, from August 1st 2006 to September 30th 2008. GameSpace looked at the design and evaluation of games that are characterised by three main features: they are casual multiplayer games in a mobile use context. The goals for the project were threefold: • To analyse the playability criteria of a successful mobile multiplayer game - especially in terms of casual gameplay. • To develop and evaluate game design methodologies suited for the aforementioned games. • To develop and test gameplay evaluation methods suited for mobile game development and research. On a broader level, the project could be divided into two major themes. The first theme was design space, involving the study of casuality, mobility and mobile use context. The first phase of the project mostly consisted of conceptual analysis where a deeper and clearer understanding of the design space was sought. This phase mostly focused on the phenomenon of casual games. The aim was to understand the specific features that make a game casual. Casuality in games has not been studied rigorously before, which made it an interesting and important research topic. The second theme was methodological study on exploring and researching new approaches and methods for designing and evaluating casual mobile multiplayer games. The second theme was called design research. The research project was executed by a series of workshops in which the industry partners and the research team worked in collaboration. The workshop themes followed the design space and the design research topics. The first three workshops focused on ideation methods for casual mobile multiplayer games. In these workshops, the GameSpace research team iteratively designed different ideation methods which would be used in the process of game ideation. Later the ideation methods formed a complete package, which was tested by the industry partners during a three-month actual use period. The next two workshops focused on low and medium fidelity prototyping. The workshops focused on practical prototyping work with various casual mobile multiplayer concepts. The sixth workshop focused on using expert evaluation methods in mobile game evaluation. In addition to the evaluation workshop, the GameSpace research team was involved in various case evaluations for different games which we! re evaluated with both expert evaluation and user evaluation methods. The case evaluation work was done in close co-operation with the IPerG -project (Integrated Project on Pervasive Gaming). The last workshop expanded the scope of GameSpace by focusing on the user experiences with different games and game related services. This last workshop acted as a stepping stone for upcoming research projects and it will be reported on elsewhere. The project produced interesting new knowledge on all of the major research areas of the project. Especially the findings on the phenomenon of casual games and the exploratory work on methodological idea generation are leading edge in game research. The prototyping and the evaluation phases also produced new knowledge and the research team produced several conference articles from all these research areas. In addition to the conference articles, the project produced two master's theses. The project received good feedback from the industry partners and led to two continuation projects, SoPlay and GaIn . This final report contains the knowledge acquired from the GameSpace project. Like the project itself, this final report is divided into two main sections: design space and design research. The design space covers the special characteristics of casuality, mobility and the multiplayer aspects. The design research focuses on game ideation, game prototyping and game evaluation methods. In addition to this final report, the research team will produce a Flash-based application which reflects the content of this report on a broader level.
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While this paper looks at the definitions of heuristics and usability as they apply to digital games, its primary focus is expanding the usability dialog into the arena of mobile educational games. It seeks to define the differences between conventional game design and educational game design and to answer the question of whether it is necessary to modify existing game usability criteria when designing educational games for mobile devices.
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This study suggests an approach for the computational modeling of players’ emotional response patterns to story events in video games. We propose what is termed the dynamic narrative emotion model for analyzing the emotional response patterns of video game players by combining and reconstructing the OCC cognitive emotion model and D. Price's emotional intensity equation. Based on this model, we compared with two emotional response patterns of players to story events in both commercially successful and unsuccessful video games. The analysis was conducted with 360 emotional response values extracted from the playing experiences of 10 player’s. The results showed that responses from commercially successful games are 3.3 times higher in terms of the frequency of emotion transitions, 1.3 times in terms of the number of emotion types, and twice as high in terms of the distance of an emotion transition compared to those of unsuccessful games. The results of this study can be applied by game designers with two implications for creating story-driven video games; first, to differentiate the emotional responses patterns of players in successful games from unsuccessful games, and second, to develop emotional transition strategies when designing story events in accordance with feedback from the players’ emotional response patterns while playing the games.
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The field of games-based learning (GBL) has a dearth of empirical evidence supporting the validity of the approach (Connolly et al, 2007a; Connolly et al, 2007b; de Freitas, 2007). One primary reason for this is a distinct lack of general frameworks providing guidelines for structured GBL evaluation. The literature has a wealth of articles suggesting ways that GBL can be evaluated in terms of particular areas with particular measurements, experimental designs and analytical techniques. This paper will present the results of an extensive literature search to identify measurements that have been taken in relevant studies. A new evaluation framework will be presented based on the compilation of all the particular areas and analytical measurements found in the literature. The paper will also briefly review existing frameworks applicable to GBL and will provide general guidelines to focus researchers on particular categories of evaluation, individual measurements, experimental designs and texts in the literature that have some form of empirical evidence or framework relevant to researchers evaluating GBL environments. Due to the extensive nature of the framework, this paper will specifically focus on the GBL environment category composed of evaluation of environment aspects, pedagogical aspects focused on scaffolding, usability, social presence and embedding games within the curriculum.
Book
With the unprecedented advancements in computing power coupled with the societal movement towards inclusive settings, there is no better time than today to strive for assistive technology equity in terms of universal implementation within a transdisciplinary perspective. The Handbook of Research on Human Cognition and Assistive Technology: Design, Accessibility and Transdisciplinary Perspectives marks a critical milestone in the history of implementation and practice of assistive technology. The intent of this book is to assist researchers, practitioners, and the users of assistive technology to augment the accessibility of assistive technology by implementing human cognition into its design and practice. Consequently, this book presents assistive technology as an intervention for people with disabilities from a transdisciplinary perspective.
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When it comes to using computers, older people experience many barriers, which are a considerable hurdle to overcome in order to enable them to accept technological aids. Thus, computer interface design and development must support elderly end users by avoiding many usability issues which lead to negative impacts on them. This paper describes the combination of a computer game design for the elderly and its implementation with user experience considerations embedded in the process. In this way, a positive gaming experience is provided to the end user. This game uses the Kinect device, enabling users to interact intuitively with the computer without any intermediary controller, and its main purpose is to promote at the same time cognitive and physical activities for healthy living. Feedback was taken from physiotherapists’ written observations and user experience questionnaires, which allowed the game to be adapted to their needs, obtaining 86.25% satisfaction. The effectiveness of this study opens the door to new developments in ICT that not only improve quality of life but also reduce the existing digital divide for the elderly.
Article
Many older adults could benefit from additional exercise. In 2011, over 54% of adults between the ages of 65 and 74 and 68% of adults ages 75 and above did not meet the 2008 U.S. Federal Physical Activity guidelines for either aerobic or muscle strengthening activities, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (Schiller, Lucas, & Peregoy, 2012, p. 100). Exergames, video games where players engage in physical activity, could help older adults elevate their levels of physical activity in order to gain associated health benefits. However, most exergames on the market are not designed for older users. Two exergames for Microsoft Xbox 360 with Kinect were evaluated using heuristic task analysis and heuristic evaluation with consideration of older adults’ abilities and limitations. Implications for developing training programs to maximize effective use of exergames for older adults are discussed.
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Currently, few studies focus on analysing the degree of the Player eXperience (PX) in video games. Video games have now become interactive entertainment systems with a high economic impact on society; interactive systems characterized by their subjectivity, which differ from other systems in that their main objective is to entertain and amuse the user (player). This work discusses the analysis and evaluation of the User eXperience (UX) in interactive entertainment systems, exploring how usability, given its definition, objectives and the fact it is one of the main dimensions of UX, is not sufficient to characterize the PX, giving rise to a new concept: Playability. In this paper we present a framework for analysis and evaluation of the user experience in video games. The results show the need and importance of a framework to help us understand and measure the experience that players feel using these types of interactive systems, in order to improve the experience during play time. The framework characterizes the experience due to attributes to identify and properties to measure UX. It thus provides a multifaceted analysis mechanism to assess the impact of the gaming experience and its relationship with elements of a video game. We therefore present a system to represent user experience based on this framework, with the aim of ensuring and measuring a satisfactory experience of the entertainment system. Finally, we discuss a practical experiment in which an evaluation of the playability of a commercial video game was carried out using the methods proposed in this work.
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This paper presents the first step in creating design and evaluation heuristics for social games which emerge from the domain of social media. Initial high level heuristics for social games are offered by reviewing four existing video game heuristic models and analyzing two social games design frameworks.
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In this paper, I will describe my intuitions about what makes computer games fun. More detailed descriptions of the experiments and the theory on which this paper is based are given by Malone (1980a, 1980b). My primary goal here is to provide a set of heuristics or guidelines for designers of instructional computer games. I have articulated and organized common sense principles to spark the creativity of instructional designers (see Banet, 1979, for an unstructured list of similar principles). To demonstrate the usefulness of these principles, I have included several applications to actual or proposed instructional games. Throughout the paper I emphasize games with educational uses, but I focus on what makes the games fun, not on what makes them educational. Though I will not emphasize the point in this paper, these same ideas can be applied to other educational environments and life situations. In a sense, the categories I will describe constitute a general taxonomy of intrinsic motivation—of what makes an activity fun or rewarding for its own sake rather than for the sake of some external reward (See Lepper and Greene, 1979). I think the essential characteristics of good computer games and other intrinsically enjoyable situations can be organized into three categories: challenge, fantasy, and curiosity.
Conference Paper
Video games are varied, with vastly different visual layouts and interaction styles; however, most games that share a common genre still have many user interface similarities. These similarities suggest that genres can be used as a conceptual framework for examining design issues in video games, and for developing a deeper understanding of how the design process can be specialized for specific types of games. In this paper, we consider how genre relates to one aspect of design---the usability of games, which deals with players' ability to learn, control, and understand a game interface. We report results from a study where we coded usability problems in reviews of 108 commercial video games. The review set included 18 games from each of six major game genres. We statistically analyzed the problems from each genre, and found significant differences between many of the genres. We present usability profiles for each genre based on the problem distributions that we found. The profiles describe both common and infrequent problems in each genre and provide details on how they commonly occur in games. The profiles can be used to specialize usability evaluations by helping designers focus on common problems seen in games from each genre.
Conference Paper
The field of game intelligence has seen an increase in player centric research. That is, machine learning techniques are employed in games with the objective of providing an entertaining and satisfying game experience for the human player. This paper proposes an adaptive game AI that can scale its level of difficulty according to the human player's level of capability for the game freestyle Gomoku. The proposed algorithm scales the level of difficulty during the game and between games based on how well the human player is performing such that it will not be too easy or too difficult. The adaptive game AI was sent out to 50 human respondents as feasibility. It was observed that the adaptive AI was able to successfully scale the level of difficulty to match that of the human player, and the human player found it enjoyable playing at a level similar to his/her own.
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Thesis (M. Eng.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 2008. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 41-43). Despite the advances in user interfaces and the new gaming genres, not all people can play all games - disabled people are frequently excluded from game play experiences. On the one hand this adds to the list of discriminations disabled people face in our society, while on the other hand actively including them potentially results in games that are better for everyone. The largest hurdle to involvement is the user interface, or how a player interacts with the game. Analyzing usability and adhering to accessibility design principles makes it both possible and practical to develop fun and engaging game user interfaces that a broader range of the population can play. To demonstrate these principles we created AudiOdyssey, a PC rhythm game that is accessible to both sighted and non-sighted audiences. By following accessibility guidelines we incorporated a novel combination of features resulting in a similar play experience for both groups. Testing AudiOdyssey yielded useful insights into which interface elements work and which don't work for all users. Finally a case is made for considering accessibility when designing future versions of gaming user interfaces, and speculative scenarios are presented for what such interfaces might look like. by Eitan M. Glinert. M.Eng.
Includification – A Practical Guide to Game Accessibility The AbleGamers Foundation
  • Ablegamers
Ablegamers, " Includification – A Practical Guide to Game Accessibility ", vol.14, The AbleGamers Foundation, 2012