Developing user-friendly online games and gaming apps

posted by Chris Valentine

The new frontier for video games and gaming generally is online or via apps downloaded to a mobile device. Although gaming online is nothing new, the rise of cloud computing, plus the use of increasingly sophisticated smartphones as our primary portal to the internet, means that developers are now looking to online as the primary platform for premium quality new online games.

But while many popular games can translate seamlessly from console to website, designing an online game requires that particular features be kept in mind. There are many ways that gaming websites and apps can become more consumer-friendly, easier to use, and more accessible to players worldwide.

Ease of use

The golden rule of conventional websites and apps is that everything should be as easy to use and understand as possible. With games, a certain level of difficulty is part of the package. Games should be challenging but in the right way. Poor design can keep you from a great gaming experience, so it’s up to developers to get the balance right.

One way to do this is to keep players informed of what’s going on. They should know immediately if an action has been executed. Depending on the nature of the game, they should also be able to see immediately how much credit they have left, or how many lives, or health points, and the like. Clear, instant feedback should be an essential part of the gaming mechanism.

Payment methods

If a game is played with real money, it should accept as wide a range of payment options as possible. With cryptocurrencies being an increasingly popular choice, a bitcoin slot is a logical and welcome addition to any casino site. The player should also feel confident that these payment methods are secure and reliable, so they don’t spend the whole game worrying about where their money is going.

Minimal jargon

As far as possible, instructions and information in a game should be presented in clear, concise, and easy to understand language. Using technical terms or complex terminology can alienate or confuse players and slow down gameplay.

A balance needs to be struck between world-building and clarity of information. Giving in-game items fantastical made-up names and qualities can stimulate the imagination and make the game more immersive. Still, it also increases the cognitive load on players when they must make quick decisions to survive or proceed.

Keep it simple and consistent

Game aesthetics are important, and the screen shouldn’t be cluttered with too much information. Only show statistics and controls that are relevant at any given time. Especially when optimizing for mobile, the best practice is to keep it simple.

Game controls should also be consistent with what players expect. If certain buttons or actions are commonly used to do particular things, it makes sense to stick with convention. Gameplay should be as intuitive as possible, and often this is achieved by sticking with what works and is expected.

There are many ways to make gaming websites and apps more user-friendly, and some of the above suggestions are already being implemented. Games should be challenging but fun. Making a game that people want to play is the first step.

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