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I having been programming games for some time, but while my teachers say that my code is good and advanced, my friends say that the interface is hard to understand and not the easiest to navigate. I want to learn how to design good user interfaces so that I can program better games, and people will have a easier time getting around. Does anyone know of any good books or websites about designing video game interfaces?

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Start by google searching "video game ui design". Read as many articles and perspectives as you can while you learn more about the topic. –  Amplify91 Apr 9 '12 at 17:05
    
Unfortunately this kind of question is not very well suited to the Q&A format of our site. There's lots of things you can search for, and there's also an entire stackexchange site dedicated to UX ux.stackexchange.com This would be better if you had specific questions on how to improve readability of a given feature or something like that. –  Tetrad Apr 10 '12 at 15:54
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closed as not constructive by Nicol Bolas, Tetrad Apr 10 '12 at 15:54

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3 Answers

I feel as if good design is something that is hard to get right the first time. The field you might want to read up into is called human computer interaction.

Basically the approach is based heavily on prototyping and running usability tests on participants to observe how they interact with your system, where the difficulties arise from, what is intuitive and non-intuitive. These type of tests need to be run without bias and you need to encourage the participants to think out loud.

You start off by given them a scenario to complete in your system. You don't tell them anything about the specifics of how to do it, and let them try figure it out. If they get stuck, you try and find out what they're thinking. You note down all of this information and iterate over the design.

Good interface design is something that's hard to get right without doing these style of tests. I would even recommend doing paper prototyping for your interface.

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Do you have any suggestions for resources on human computer interaction? –  Mike C Apr 10 '12 at 1:40
    
This is the book that I used: amazon.com/Interaction-Design-Beyond-Human-Computer/dp/… I feel as if the topic itself (while there are a lot of advanced topics on it as well) isn't that hard to understand and pick up (at least the basics). It really does come down to whether you're willing to take this style of approach when it comes to interface design. From what I've experienced, the benefits definitely outweigh the costs. –  Mick Apr 10 '12 at 8:28
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I reccomend picking up "The Design of Everyday Things" by Donald Norman. I think it is a very good basic book that anyone who is concerned with usability should pick up.

Playing other games with similar features as well as iterating on your friends' feedback should also help you get a better understand of user interface design.

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gamedesignreviews.com - reviews and constructively critiques game design

brandfeelsgood.com - a sporadic game interface reviewer (my own blog )

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