The Power of Perception: How UX Research Enhances Card Games

Rusali Adhikari
3 min read

The ongoing debate about whether that picture is a duck or a rabbit always fascinates me. It's a perpetual mystery to me how some individuals perceive a rabbit when, to my eyes, it unmistakably appears as a duck. This ongoing dialogue about perception and the workings of the human mind in processing the world before us is always a fun pursuit.
Our minds are pretty good at making sense of the things we come across, including the fun stuff we play. Understanding how our minds work when we're playing games is a key part of making games enjoyable. It's like a building block for making games more user-friendly .
On numerous occasions, UX researchers may find themselves at a loss when it comes to pinpointing user’s perception and leveraging them to enhance the gameplay. Whether we are talking about time-honored classics such as Poker or a straightforward card game like Stacks, card games are known for giving us a fantastic gaming time. In this blog post, we'll take a trip into how we see and experience card games through the lens of UX research.  At the end of this, you will understand how important these elements are in making card games fun and more engaging. The visual design of any game plays a pivotal role in shaping players' perceptions. Colors, illustrations, typography, and overall aesthetics create the first impression and set the tone. For example: a deck of cards with vibrant, engaging artwork may evoke feelings of excitement and anticipation, while a minimalist design can trigger calmness. They aim to understand which designs resonate best with the target audience and enhance the overall gaming experience.

Card games often involve processing a wealth of information, from card values and suits to special abilities and game rules. UX research helps to optimize the cognitive load placed on players. This means finding the right balance between simplicity and complexity.  The factors might be as simple as the time the person has played the specific game. The user who has played a game such as Call break for a longer time, has different ways to interpret the dealt hand compared to a person who started playing it later.

The perception of immersion in a card game is crucial for player enjoyment. User Experience research looks into factors such as card animations, sound effects, and storytelling elements. These elements work together to draw players into the game's world and make them feel connected to the gameplay. The emotional attachment a user has with the games, or the emotional triggers the game design has may factor the interpretations.

One of the primary functions of  research in card games is gathering player feedback. UX research in card games extends to ensuring that the game is accessible to a broad audience. This involves studying factors such as color contrast for players with visual impairments, providing options for text size adjustments, and creating intuitive controls for players with different levels of dexterity.

By conducting accessibility audits and involving diverse user groups in testing, designers can ensure that their card games are inclusive and enjoyable for everyone. Balancing a card game is an intricate task, and research plays a significant role in achieving fairness and competitiveness.  UX Research helps to  analyze game data to identify any trends or imbalances in card usage and win rates. This information guides game designers in making necessary adjustments.
To illustrate the impact of perception and UX research in card games, let's take a closer look at Marriage Card Game by Bhoos. In the game  we have introduced many themes, and cards based on the themes. The concept was new but was a hit among users. Talking to a few daily users of the game we found that using the ‘Nepali Theme made the game more fun.

Perception and UX research are integral to the success of card games. By understanding how players perceive visual elements, navigate cognitive challenges, and engage with the game, designers can create card games that captivate and delight players. Through user feedback and iterative design, our games have evolved to meet the needs of our audiences, ensuring accessibility, fairness, and continued enjoyment. The combination of perception and UX research has helped transform our games into immersive and memorable experiences for players of all backgrounds and preferences.