I’ve been getting asked a lot lately about UX games used to train UX people. I talk a lot about training games and how they’re good ice breakers, good character and skill building tools, and positive social activities in training. Fail to mention, I’ve said many times how good gamification is for training, and these little tools are an example of microscopically-deployed gamification in its purest, easiest form. But, UX games are few and far between, to be honest. Other fields like management, customer service and the like have a vast library of social training games that teach the various aspects, in a realistic but relaxed way, of each of the related topics. However, for UX, given its kind of fuzzy identity and abstraction, it is harder to apply gamification to it. Nonetheless, that’s not to say it’s not impossible to make something useful out of the concept. Today, I’ll do my best to give you what there is to be had. Mind you, these are less engaging and game-like and more of interactive demonstrations of concepts, as is apt to happen in such a field. So, bear with me on that.
This is a simple concept, but a good one. Order the group into a pipeline of people, which create “widgets”, or pieces of paper, with writing, and then fold. Have the production line continue and measure how much folding, writing, unfolding, writing, getting up and passing around etc. is involved in the process. Now, have the trainees observe this pipeline, and make suggestions for making production faster and higher quality, without changing the processes applied at their cores.
UX for Programmers
Programmers are hard to approach in regard to the importance of UX because they their minds are wrapped around a different space than UX people, most of the time. This game is to train programmers to accommodate UX managers and designer, and for UX workers to become accustomed to working with what programmers give them as well. Pick a simple language and have UXers, who have basic training in the language, take turns searching through a piece of code for instances of a variable name, with no highlighting or comments put in place. The more instances someone finds, the more points they win.
These UX games aren’t entirely games, but they are good thought exercises and good practices to hone the skills of UX people without tedium or pressure.