Game Usability Heuristics (PLAY) for Evaluating and Designing Better Games: The Next Iteration

  • Heather Desurvire
  • Charlotte Wiberg
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5621)


Game developers have begun applying formal human-computer interaction (HCI) principles in design. Desurvire et al [2] adapted a set of Heuristics for productivity software to games. The resulting set, presented at CHI 2004, was Heuristics to Evaluate Playability (HEP). Generalization of these heuristics is required to make them applicable to a multiple of game genres and game deliveries. This follow-up study focused on the refined list, Heuristics of Playability (PLAY), that can be applied earlier in game development as well as aiding developers between formal usability/playability research during the development cycle. Heuristics were formed based on their efficacious scores on the popular game review website, Fifty-four gamers rated High and Low ranked games on 116 potential heuristics. Implications for how these Heuristics will help developers improve game quality are discussed. PLAY has been found useful in design evaluation and elf-report survey format.


Usability Heuristics playability play testing design guidelines video games computer games games evaluation usability user testing HCI design principles 

ACM Classification Keywords: H.5.1 [Information Interfaces and Presentation]

Multimedia Information Systems-evaluation/methodology


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Desurvire, H., Kondziela, J., Atwood, M.: What is Gained and Lost When Using Evaluation Methods Other Than Empirical Testing (short paper version). In: ACM conference, CHI 1992, collection of abstracts, pp. 125–126 (1992a)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Desurvire, H., Caplan, M., Toth, J.: Using Heuristics to Evaluate the Playability of Games. In: ACM conference, CHI 2004, collection of abstracts (2004)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Desurvire, H., Jegers, K., Wiberg, C.: Evaluating Fun and Entertainment: Developing A Conceptual Framework Design of Evaluation Methods. In: Facing Emotions: Responsible experiential design INTERACT 2007 conference, Rio, Brasil (2007)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Desurvire, H., Wiberg, C.: Master of the Game:  Assessing Approachability in Future Game Design. In: ACM CHI 2008 conference, CHI 2008 International Conference on Computer Human interaction, Florence, Italy (2008)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Falstein, N., Barwood, H.: The 400 Project,
  6. 6.
    Federoff, M.: User Testing for Games: Getting Better Data Earlier. Game Developer Magazine, 35–40 (June 2003)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Federoff, M.: Heuristics and Usability Guidelines for the Creation and Evaluation of FUN in Video Games. Thesis, University Graduate School of Indiana University (December 2002)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fulton, B., Medlock, M.: Beyond Focus Groups: Getting More Useful Feedback from Consumers. In: Proceedings of the Game Developer’s Conference (2003)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Malone, T.W.: Heuristics for designing enjoyable user interfaces: Lessons from computer games. In: Thomas, J.C., Schneider, M.L. (eds.) Human Factors in Computing Systems. Ablex Publishing Corporation, Norwood (1982)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Nielsen, J.: Heuristic evaluation. In: Nielsen, J., Molich, R.L. (eds.) Usability Inspection Methods. John Wiley & Sons, New York (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Silverman, B.G., Johns, M., Weaver, R., Mosley, J.: Authoring Edutainment Stories for Online Players (AESOP): Introducing Game play into Interactive Dramas. In: International Conference on Virtual Storytelling. Springer, Toulouse (2003)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather Desurvire
    • 1
  • Charlotte Wiberg
    • 2
  1. 1.Behavioristics, President, Professor, USC, Cinematic Arts, Game Studies Playability/Usability SpecialistMarina del ReyUSA
  2. 2.Assistant Professor InformaticsUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

Personalised recommendations