About design games (the website)

This website contains a collection of design games – games that you can use with users, design teams or stakeholders to provide input to design problems.

Some of the games have been around for a while, some are brand new. Some we’ve learned from other people (and referenced them), some we’ve adapted from training and brainstorming methods.

This site was first created by Donna Spencer from Maadmob, and is now maintained by Luke & Matt from over at UX Mastery.

Game descriptions

At the moment, the descriptions of the games are fairly brief. We’ll keep updating them as we use them more in design projects, and will add examples as well.

The descriptions of the games aren’t intended to be final and inflexible – all the games are just guides for things you might try to make your project work more fun. If something sounds like it could work with some modification for your situation, modify it (and add a comment so we can all learn from you!).

The boundaries

In writing the inital set of games Donna set herself some boundaries to define the types of things to include here – without some boundaries it would have been easy to end up with a long set of brainstorming methods or workshop activities.

The rough boundaries she set were as follows. To be included, a game had to meet the first and a couple of the others of these:

  • Provide something useful for a design problem. Of course, that gets into a definitional circle about what a design problem is, but we think of it as any situation where you are creating something to suit a specific situation. We do mostly web site and application design, so some games lean toward that situation.
  • Fun, or able to be made fun. No boring workshop techniques here.
  • Stimulate creativity or help people think about an issue in a new way.
  • Beyond normal work for a design team. Getting together for some brainstorming and sketching is not a game. Planning a game to get an outcome is.

We’ll no doubt refine these as we add more games and refine the content. But that’s the starting idea.

Suggestions and questions

If you have used an activity that sounds like a design game, let us know about it. We’ll add it and reference you (one day we’ll get time to make it easy to add, but right now it’s old-school).

And if you aren’t sure how to run one of the games, let us know or leave a comment for others to help as well.