highlights
  1. Why is UX design in Mobile Games so important?
  2. Mobile game app design process
  3. 1. Know the market and generate an idea
  4. 2. Define your genre
  5. 3. Create your mechanics
  6. 4. Choose your home
  7. 5. Create a quality design
  8. 6. Develop the game structure
  9. 7. Monetization
  10. 8. Develop the title
  11. 9. Testing
  12. 10. Release the app
  13. 11. Ongoing support
  14. What are the challenges in UI/UX mobile game development?
  15. How to deliver the best mobile game UX design?
  16. 1. Do research
  17. 2. Accessibility for all
  18. 3. Avoid Distractions
  19. 4. Only Essentials
  20. 5. Simple is best
  21. 6. In-game Navigation
  22. Pingle’s Experience
  23. Final Thoughts

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Mobile Game design presents just as many challenges as standard game development with the add-on of having to compete in one of the most competitive gaming markets in the industry. A huge part of successful Mobile Game design comes from the implementation of great UX practices. In this article, we will go over the key components of mobile game UI and mobile game design, as well as demonstrate how we at Pingle Studio can assist you with your mobile game design.

Mobile game UI/UX is pivotal to the success of a product, as without quality UX (user experience) your game will not gain traction in the market and generally you only get one first impression when it comes to the user. There is an art and a process behind mobile game design and if you follow the process correctly, or hire mobile game development company and outsource the mobile game UI/UX to another studio that is familiar with that process (like us at Pingle Studio) you will immediately see the positive results upon release of your title.

Why is UX design in Mobile Games so important?


Mobile game design stands on top of a foundation of quality UX design – this may sound like an exaggeration but think of mobile game UI and UX design in mobile games to be the bridge that covers the gap between user and development content. Without this bridge, you cannot successfully communicate your game’s intentions and systems correctly. Ultimately UX's only goal is to make your game as understandable and clear as possible to its user base, which makes it a core of the mobile game development pipeline.

We mentioned previously that the UX and UI design of your mobile game dictates your first impression on the user, which makes it incredibly important. When we look at the mobile games market and the sheer size of the user base, we can see the importance of needing your game mechanics and interface to be communicated to the player.

Number of mobile gaming users worldwide in 2021 by regions (in millions)

Source: Statista.com

Mobile game design differs from the standard game design due to the user demand for ease of access. Mobile games need to be easily accessible and easy to understand and pick up – as the market is so easily accessible for titles, generally user attention spans for games are much shorter than on other platforms.

Mobile game design and specifically UX/UI development is the key to creating a “hook” for the user, if you can deliver your mechanics in a simple yet rewarding and clear way, you’ll find success even with the most basic of game concepts. When we look at game titles like Flappy Bird – which grew to monumental mobile game success, the concept was incredibly simple and the UX was carefully considered to create an easy-to-play, hard-to-master hook.

The importance of the user experience means that it is something you need to consider throughout the entire pipeline of the mobile game design process – as dynamics can shift during production. If you consider your UI/UX design throughout the process, you provide a consistency that the user will certainly appreciate. Quality Mobile Games Development services like us at Pingle Studio recognize that successful mobile game UI and UX come from a tight collaboration between game designers and UX designers, as UX designers help game designers understand the limitations required to create a smoother user experience.

Mobile game app design process

You’ve got two main options when it comes to the mobile game design process, you can follow our basic guide here to begin to develop an understanding of the process, or you can hire a mobile game development company with experience – both are valid options and amazingly, we can assist you with both today.

Most mobile game development services breakup the game design process into the following steps:

1. Know the market and generate an idea

Study the market closely and identify a demand to fill. If you can find a particular gap in the market or something that will begin to trend, you can adapt or generate a specific idea to meet that demand – this is where to start.

2. Define your genre

This step allows you to be a bit creative and define your direction – do you want to be an action title or a puzzle game? The choice is yours, but keep in mind the process of step 1.

3. Create your mechanics

Draft your mechanics with the focus being on active encouragement and engagement, meaning create a mechanic process that entices the user to play “one more round”.

4. Choose your home

Something often overlooked when considering the mobile game UX best practices, is actually where your app will be accessible. Will you be available on the AppStore, PlayMarket, or Google Play? The choice is yours but always consider your audience.

5. Create a quality design

This is where mobile game UI comes into play, it isn’t enough for your mechanics to be engaging if they aren’t accessible and well presented. As mentioned before, UI is among the most important aspects of development and most mobile game development services will agree.

6. Develop the game structure

Among the mobile game UX best practices, sits the development of the game structure. Take the culmination of your research and early development, and begin to put the pieces into place to begin development.

7. Monetization

Specifically important in mobile game design is how your product will be monetized, there are plenty of options but we suggest not to go overboard with the advertising as this can make the mobile game UI very unappealing and most research on this topic agrees. With that being said, there needs to be an understanding that your product has value and is worth your user’s time and money.

8. Develop the title

At this stage, you begin coding the title as you’ve got everything else in place at this point, the mobile game UI scheme and layout, the mechanics and how they’re going to be presented to the user.

9. Testing

This step can run alongside the last step, test consistently and test every aspect of your mechanics and mobile game UI to ensure the experience is nothing short of sleek and smooth. Testing is among the most important steps in any game development process but even more so in mobile game design, as user attention spans and tolerance is much shorter.

10. Release the app

At this point, you’ll have your title developed, tested and implemented all your design elements – its time to release the title. Read thoroughly your chosen store platform’s terms and ensure that you’ve got the right deal for you and your game title – and then submit your app for review. Reviewing is a standard practice on app stores and ensures quality control.

11. Ongoing support

Something successful titles have in common, is the developers continue to support that title well after release. The user is encourage to continue playing even a title with bugs, if they know that the developer will continue to support and update the title.

What are the challenges in UI/UX mobile game development?

Mobile game development more than any other platform requires UI/UX to be considered throughout the whole process. Accessibility is more important than ever as users like to be able to access things quickly and easily – as with most of the applications on their device. The main challenges arise with that expectation.

Some studios will prioritize UI/UX aspects even over the mechanics of the title, as it is more important to be accessible than it is to be original in some cases. You can have the best original idea for a title, but if it isn’t easy to access and simple to pickup, users will not stick with the game for long on a market that is filled with better more accessible options.

How to deliver the best mobile game UX design?

We can easily break down delivering great mobile game UX design but consider what the consumer wants in a mobile game title. Below is a list to follow that will help guide your UX design to be exceptional.

1. Do research

Explore your competitors' titles, explore the market, look for consistencies in the UX and take notes.

2. Accessibility for all

Cater for everyone. Add options for vision impairment or motor skills impairment, and carefully consider the concept that, everyone is different and has different requirements. If you can cater to everyone’s abilities you can reach a larger market, much more than your competitors.

3. Avoid Distractions

Phones receive calls/texts and messages of all sorts – how does your game function when this happens? Does it pause? Does it give you an option to save when this happens?

4. Only Essentials

When we say, only essentials, we mean only put what is completely necessary into your game title. Quality UX/UI design means no clutter of any sort, only providing the player with what they need to enjoy your game.

5. Simple is best

Keep your UI sleek and smooth, there is nothing worse than dozens of buttons in a menu when you only use two of them. Define what you need and only provide exactly what is needed in a UI layout.

6. In-game Navigation

Ensure the in-game functions are easily accessible, it should be easy for players to navigate from one screen to another, regardless of genre or game style.

Pingle’s Experience

Whilst we’ve provided you with a comprehensive guide to mobile game UX/UI design, you definitely can simplify this process by just hiring a company that has extensive experience in this process, like us at Pingle Studio.

At Pingle Studio, we can provide you with industry veterans who have successfully helped developers bring titles to mobile platforms. We’ve adapted team 17’s hit title The Survivalists to mobile devices and achieved a 5-star rating on the app store in the process, not only this but we’ve provided support to tinyBuild by bringing Reliable Delivery Service to iOS and Android, which is no small feat considering it is a sandbox, ragdoll-physics based game.

We don’t just provide experts in UX/UI design, we can provide all sorts of services for your mobile games, including optimization for porting. We’ve provided optimization for Revolution Software’s Beyond a Steel Sky, successfully bringing it to apple devices by optimizing its code and achieving great performance.

Final Thoughts

Mobile game UX/UI can make or break a game title and therefore its an incredibly important aspect of your game development to get right. However, if you follow our extensive guide, or even better, use our expert services to aid in this process, you’ll find that this aspect of game development is simple to overcome and you’ll be able to reap the rewards of fantastic Mobile Game UX/UI design.

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