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Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is a multi-disciplined study of the relationships between humans and computers. A system may fulfil all of its required specifications, presenting the user with a usable interface. Despite this the user may still, and often does, find the system irritating, annoying or difficult to learn. Consideration of HCI may help to prevent this. This manual attempts to introduce basic concepts, with specific application to designing interfaces for computer games, and is not intended nor suitable for non-game applications. The manual attempts to resemble an early platform-style game, as an easily-identifiable metaphor for this sort of design.

The overriding human considerations are formal and informal assimilation, and the ways in which people store, access and use that information.

Formal Assimilation

Information may be presented by a manner of formal methods may be directly measured in terms of usefulness to the user, such as printed and electronically displayed text, icons, images, layout arrangements, menu bars, etc.

Informal Assimilation

When a user is confronted with any new interactive material, positive and/or negative impressions will be formed, that is, the "intangibles" of the interface. This is unavoidable and should be a consideration when designing interfaces. Informally assimilated areas originate in user perceptions of system response time, appearance, consistency and controls.

Memory Considerations

This information is stored in short-term/working memory (eg where the user is going within the application), and long-term memory (eg the rules of behaviour governing machine use). The ease of this learning, the rate of forgetting, and the interference between similar but different systems all contribute to the usability of the system.

Manual Layout

As this manual specifically concerns games, Shoddy Design believe that the user will benefit most with the information placed in topics appropriate to game design. Consequently, the HCI topics have been divided into the following areas:

Conventions Sound and Colour
Navigation Sound
Layout Colour
Help Colour Tips
Character Controls Packaging

Playability Memory
Usability Human Memory/Cognition
Difficulty Levels Memory Components
Physical Interface Easing Overburden
Storyline Response Time


Above, the topics are indicated in dark blue and the sub-topics in light blue. From the main page, clicking on a topic heading will take the user to a sub-menu, with that topic then indicated on the platform in the top-left of the screen. This link will then become inactive, with the sub-topics being links to the relevant pages. Links within the main text of these pages are to other web sites.

The user may return to the main page of the manual at any time by clicking on the "Home" icon in the top banner image.

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