Simplifying Sustainability Game Design: A Usability Evaluation Of The Makahiki Virtual Machine Installation And The Smart Grid Game Designer

Date
2014-09-26
Authors
Takayama, Jordan
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Publisher
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract
The usability of an application is a measure of how effectively it can be used to perform the tasks it was designed for in its target environment. A user interface – the toolbars, menus, and other elements that control an application – determines how quickly and correctly users can complete tasks. Makahiki is an application framework for designing serious games (games which teach a serious subject) focused on energy conservation, recycling, and clean energy issues. Two features were added to Makahiki in response to user feedback: support for a cross-platform installation method for virtual machines, and a simplified drag-and-drop graphical user interface called the Smart Grid Game Designer (SGG). Usability testing data and feedback on these new features was compared to data and feedback from the previous iteration of Makahiki to determine the effect of these features on the user experience. It was found that the virtual machine installation produced significant improvements in user experience and configuration time. However, users who tested the Smart Grid Game Designer reported issues in understanding Makahiki's "predicate system" of relationships between game tasks that were similar to issues reported by users of the previous iteration of Makahiki.
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Keywords
Virtual Machine, Vagrant, Smart Grid Game, Serious Game, Game Design, Usability, Kukui Cup, Makahiki
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