Understand Your Constraints

2Whether it’s gravity for hover vehicles or light speed for warp drive, understanding the constraints around your project is critical. Many designers feel that constraints make them more creative by defining the boundaries they can challenge.

Our team had many constraints to consider. Our platform was a large 8 x 2.5-foot touch table that comfortably accommodated six people playing at one time, two on each side and one at each end. This great crowd-drawing feature posed significant design challenges. Text and game elements had to be within view of each player (not on the other side of the table) and oriented right side up. Our solution was to use six individual docks for the trivia games and to split the table into two teams for action games.
Unlike Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed, our game was targeted primarily at non-gamers: highly educated doctors of the baby boom generation, who were not likely to be familiar with gaming conventions. Without the ability to use sound, we focused on intuitive swipe gestures and finely tuned visual metaphors to make the game simple but not belittling or trivial.

We also knew that we would have limited time and much competition to capture attendees’ attention in a conference setting. For this reason, we designed the experience to be both flashy and quick. Participants were given a branded card to log in that contained a booklet with more detailed explanations of trivia and action educational concepts. Finally, participant play time could not exceed five minutes.

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