Notes from the BayCHI talk “Please Don’t Face-Plant Into the TV: Researching Games with Kids” given by Sarah Walter, user experience researcher and consultant with a focus on games.
Sarah shared several techniques for conducting user research with children. The first two techniques (usability and playtesting) are fairly standard techniques that are used throughout the games industry.
Although these techniques have been long-used for “hardcore gamers”, a target that is well understood, there was much to be learned about designing games for children. How do you know what’s “fun” or “engaging” for a 4 year old who can’t fill out your post-game survey? And how do you even find that 4 year old to play test with?
So her team came up with some “kid-friendly” ways to conduct user research for the younger audience:
Bringing kids into the lab on designated days…
Working directly with schools…
… and visiting families at home.
Since this was with children, they had to be extra diligent about explaining who they were, answering any questions, and ensuring a safe environment for their young play testers.