Like any studio, PikPok has a usability team that monitors the development of a new title and watches out for any potential pitfalls. It's a thankless job since we tend to not moan whenever a game feels intuitive or a layer of UI makes sense. We also don't get to meet these dudes very often, which is what makes the new usability editorial on the studio's web site notable. In it, we're introduced to an integral piece of PikPok's internal testing pit, Hadley Bellam.
Bellam is allowed to be involved from the start of a new game, which undoubtedly helps the entire usability testing process. Here's a snippet of what Hadley has to say about what he does in early production:
“Outside of UI considerations, early usability is usually focused on input methods and camera/orientation, which are closely related. Whether the game uses landscape or portrait orientation will affect how the user interacts with the device. We need to consider left and right handed players as well as players who play with their finger(s) or thumb(s).”
“Will the game require users to play with multitouch or will it be playable using only one digit? Will input work as well on tablets as it will on phones? These are accessibility questions we aim to answer early to ensure playing the game is not uncomfortable for users. You may notice many PikPok games can be played with a single digit, thumb or finger, on either hand.”
If you're interested in this sort of thing, definitely go give the blog a visit. It's a fun read that gives you a small sense of why PikPok is able to churn out solid game after solid game.