In 2016 the Utah Games Guild is launching several new initiatives, including our biggest project yet: opening a community-oriented games user research lab!
The quote above comes from this article in which user researcher Graham McAllister gives a quick overview of what user research is and how it differs from simple playtesting. It's as good a place as any to start learning about this crucial new discipline in game development.
Many of the biggest studios have dedicated games user research teams and testing labs. We're looking to bring some of those tools and resources to our own community by opening the first user research lab available to Utah indies. The official opening is still several months off, but we will be rolling out bits and pieces of the project between now and then as we ramp up to a full launch.
Today we're tackling the first and biggest challenge: finding our players.
To that end, we're now inviting players of all types to join our playtesters database. The database is an ongoing collective effort to ensure we have access to a wide range of players of varying experience levels so we can pair developers with the most appropriate players for their games and their specific research goals.
Please feel free to share this new initiative to your friends, your schools and workplaces, and your social networks by linking to our playtesting initiative page. The more awareness we raise and the more players we can attract, the bigger and more diverse the playtester pool becomes, and that translates into better and more accurate results for devs and better indie games for everyone!
If you're a developer and would like assistance planning for testing, recruiting participants, getting support before or after tests, consultation on other user research services, or you are interested in getting more information about how the lab will operate, get in touch! We welcome your comments, questions, and concerns; they'll all help us build a better lab.