Game Usability Heuristics categorized into hygiene factors and motivators

Video #game heuristics can be categorized into hygiene factors and motivators. #gameresearch

According to research made by Björn Strååt and Henrik Warpefelt of Stockholm University, it is possible to almost completely divide video game PLAY heuristics into two categories. Hygiene factors and motivators, inspired by Herzberg’s two factor theory. This division provides a feasible way to manage video game heuristics when doing an analysis. It could be that the results could help the video game industry to further understand the required mechanics in video games.

Video game heuristics are required to determine how playable different games are. They are a way to test and make analysis of games. The two factor theory introduces hygiene factors and motivators. Those are in a way the opposite ends of motivation. Hygiene factors are the motivation that comes from the outside as extrinsic motivation. Motivators in contrast is the motivation that comes from the inside as intrinsic motivation.
Research says, that hygiene factors include heuristics that concentrate on providing a working and enjoyable gaming experience when instead motivators include heuristics that are used in analysing the aspects that polish the experience. If hygiene factors are not first observed objectively in heuristic evaluation of video games, it is almost not sensible to even begin observing the motivators. That is because even if motivators are fully in order it is not possible to save the game experience if hygiene factors are not. Researchers state that in the future the game industry could describe the hygiene factors as “must have” and motivators as “nice to have”.

The research was conducted using questionnaires to determine if heuristics are part of hygiene factor category or motivator category. Even though it was possible to mostly divide the PLAY heuristics into those two categories, there were some heuristics that could not be completely placed in either category. Researchers encourage future researchers to concentrate on those particular heuristics and to research if there can be found reasons for this kind of behaviour. It was also pointed out that the diversity of respondents was not as good as it could be and future researchers should also concentrate on widening that scale.

Researchers are positive that these findings could lead to be further developed into more practical uses. For instance findings in quality assurance could be divided into hygiene factors and motivators to give creators a better view of how severe the problems are and to which problems concentrate the most. These could in the future help in choosing the severity rating for the issues.


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