GDC | UX Summit

UX Summit

Learn UX design and strategy best practices to improve overall quality and increase the likelihood that your game will create and sustain engagement in the UX Summit on Monday, March 19, 2018. UX helps ensure that the design and business intent of your game is the one ultimately experienced by your target audience. Learn about all facets of the user experience discipline in the video game industry using knowledge from cognitive science, psychology, and application of research findings.

2017 Highlighted Sessions (M-T)

All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, or GDC Summits Pass required to attend summit sessions (M-T).

It Takes Two to Tango: Integrating UX Research and Production at EA
Veronica Zammitto (Electronic Arts)
Improving the user experience throughout game development requires meaningful actionable UX insights that support the advancement of quality production. Setting processes to seamlessly integrate user research findings into iterative development is challenging. Research and design should be fully synchronized to avoid missing key UX opportunities to thrive within production's tight timelines and to oversee reachable UX wins to improve the game. Over the last several years EA has been iterating and optimizing the flow for UX research and production. This talk shares best practices on organizational structure, UX processes, and effective communication to enable such collaboration applicable from small teams to AAA titles.
Throwing out the Dopamine Shots: Reward Psychology Without the Neurotrash
Ben Lewis-Evans (Epic Games)
Have you ever heard someone say a game gave them a "shot of dopamine"? What does this mean? This talk will dispel the neuromyths around dopamine and focus on the psychology behind reward systems in game design. The topics covered will include basic reward principles, cognitive biases that impact reward perception, and the importance of progression, control, social interaction, and expectation, and the vital role of feedback and UX when designing effective rewards. When it comes to designing an effective reward, if players like it, have learned how to get it, or are motivated to get it can be different outcomes.
From Rational to Emotional: Designs that Increase Player Retention
Jim Brown (Epic Games)
Humans aren't always as rational as they might think. They are subjective thinkers who are driven by powerful, and often misunderstood, emotions. This talk will dissect the basic emotions that drive everyone, and provide specific examples of design techniques that encourage the formation of enduring emotional ties that could enhance both retention and enjoyment for players. This is NOT a talk about narrative design or "how to make people cry", but an evaluation of the underlying factors that can create emotional attachment, and how to encourage those connections in games with focused design and UX techniques.
UX Methodologies for Holistic Product Design
Paul Rybicki (Electronic Arts)
This talk will focus on best practice methods for creating design deliverables which are readily digestible to other disciplines, thereby increasing product development velocity. Learn how to make your UX designs more holistic and repeatedly referenced, so you can spend more time iterating and revising in each sprint, while still keeping stakeholders from engineering, product or game design well informed of the current design direction and the game's design as a whole.

UX Summit Advisors

Anouk Ben-Tchavtchavadze
Anouk is a UX Lead at King who has over 10 years of experience designing games on various platforms, devices and consoles. She has managed teams of varied skill sets and sizes in an ever growing industry and field, on a range of projects implementing and innovating in best UX and research practices.  She is dedicated about putting players first and crafting amazing and fun experiences through meaningful gaming experiences. She worked on games at Ubisoft, Zynga, Amazon, GSN Games, and now at King.
Celia Hodent
Freelance, Game UX Consultant
Celia Hodent is recognized as a leader in the application of user experience and psychology in video game design, and in the development of UX strategy and process in game studios. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Paris Descartes-Sorbonne where she specialized in cognitive development. In 2005, Celia stepped aside from academic research to work with an educational toy manufacturer, VTech, and then entered the video game industry. She has worked at Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Montreal, LucasArts, and Epic Games to help guide the studios, and their projects, toward improved user experience practices. Celia's approach is to use cognitive science knowledge and the scientific method to concretely solve design problems and make sure the player experience is always enjoyable and engaging, while reaching business goals. Celia is also the founder and curator of the Game UX Summit, which launched in Durham, NC in May of 2016, hosted by Epic Games. She has worked on many projects across multiple platforms (PC, console, mobile, and VR), including the 'Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six' franchise, 'Star Wars: 1313', 'Paragon', 'Fortnite', and 'Spyjinx'. Celia is the author of The Gamer's Brain: How Neuroscience and UX Can Impact Video Game Design.

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