Allaland

IA Summit: Design Games for IA

Posted on: March 21, 2009

Donna Spencer led a really fun session about utilizing games for design work. She said that playing games stimulates different parts of our brains, and can help us be more creative. Here are some games that she went over, I am really excited to put them to use!

Also see this Boxes and Arrows article: http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/using-design-games

Books: Thinkertoys by Michalko and Innovation Games by Hohmann

Games to Play with Users

Design the homepage – using markers and paper, ask the user to design a homepage that would be perfect for them. The drawing itself does not have to look like a homepage, and can be much more free form. The drawing will enable you to understand what is important to the user.

Divide the dollar – start with a set a of features (either pre-defined or generated by the user). Give the users 100 fake dollars and ask them to diving the amount among the feature list. Ask the users to explain the reasoning behind their choices. This will help with feature prioritization.

Metadata – show users an object and ask them to tell you what they call that ‘thing’. This will you understand how people think about objects.

Freelisting – tell me as many of [fill in the blank] as you can think about. Pay attention to both the order in which people list items, as well as if they take any significant pauses. The pauses indicate cognitive chunking and perhaps different categories.

Card Sorting – write content ideas on cards and ask users to sort them. You can spice it up by having time pressures, competition, or prizes.

Games for Design Teams

Idea cards – you have three piles of cards that contain adjectives, verbs, and nouns. Pick one card from each pile and then try to design the experience that is provided on the cards. Might also want to use these professional cards: http://www.metamemes.com/
Also these are awesome grow a game cards that can also be used for design: http://www.valuesatplay.org/?page_id=6
Someone in the session also recommended these: Oblique Strategy Cards

Reversal – attack the problem from the reverse direction. For example: “Going through airport security is painful, how do you make it worse?” This is a really fun activity, but can also helps you discover concepts that are important but might be easy to miss.

Design the Box – individuals or teams creates a box as if the product was going to be sold like a software package at Best Buy. Each person should design for the front, back, and side of the box. Some things to consider: the product name, the tagline, the short hook on the front to entice a consumer to pick it up, perhaps a picture. Once the box is designed, ask everyone to “sell” their product to everyone else in the team. This helps figure out the vision statement.

Other games that were suggested by session participants:

Brainwriter – come up with ideas, write them on sticky notes and put them on the wall. If running out of ideas, look over the ones on the wall and see if it sparks more. Then do an affinity sort on the sticky notes for further insight.

Different hats – design from different perspectives. For example, if I was Steve Jobs, what would the product look lke?

Reverse position statement – ask the stakeholders to come up with a vision statement that is the opposite of what they want, this might help clarify/specify the vision.

I totally love the idea of game use for design, and want pointers to more games! If you know of some, please let me know :)

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3 Responses to "IA Summit: Design Games for IA"

[…] Allaland added an interesting post today on IA Summit: Design Games for IAHere’s a small readingDonna Spencer led a really fun session about utilizing games for design work . She said that playing games stimulates different parts of our brains, and can help us be more creative. Here are some games that she went over, I am really excited to put them to use! Also see this Boxes and Arrows article: http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/using-design-games Books: Thinkertoys by Michalko and Innovation Games by Hohmann Games to Play with Users Design the homepage – using markers and […]

[…] Allaland placed an observative post today on IA Summit: Design Games for IAHere’s a quick excerptDonna Spencer led a really fun session about utilizing games for design work . She said that playing games stimulates different parts of our brains, and can help us be more creative. Here are some games that she went over, I am really excited to put them to use! Also see this Boxes and Arrows article: http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/using-design-games Books: Thinkertoys by Michalko and Innovation Games by Hohmann Games to Play with Users Design the homepage – using markers and […]

Thanks for catching those extra games. I was so busy being in the moment of the talk that I forgot them ;)

And it was lovely to meet you…

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Alla Zollers

I design products and services that just. make. sense.

When products make sense, customers are happy.

If customer are happy, they sign-up, stay on site, engage, share, and buy your product or service.

Happy customers allow companies to profit in both senses of the word.

I provide the following services:

• Heuristic Evaluations
• Discovery Research
• Strategy and Vision Development
• Information Architecture
• User Experience Design
• Usability Testing

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