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Crafting Intuitive User Interfaces

Welcome to the second in our series of blog posts which highlight the Milky Tea skill set. Last week we took a look at our character sketching skills, but this week we’re going to focus on one of our lesser known areas of expertise, user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. 

Our design team have created breathtaking and intuitive user interfaces for the likes of Fairy Platinum, SSE, ACC Liverpool, and Gulliver’s World. From booking portals to children’s interactive storybooks, we’ve solved long-standing  user problems and entertained in equal measure with interfaces across multiple platforms which look as good as they behave.

ACC Liverpool came to us looking for a solution to their current booking system. With hundreds of large-scale events held there every year, they wanted a user interface which would make the booking process easier and showcase the convention centre’s facilities in magnificent detail. And that’s what we delivered with the ACC Virtual Viewer.

The online virtual tool allows users to explore what the venue has to offer from the comfort of their computer. 3D images of each of the centre’s rooms were created by the Milky Tea team from 360 degree panoramic photographs. With such a huge amount of information on offer to the viewer, an easy-to-navigate interface was essential. The modern and sleek style of the centre’s interior called for more of the same with the sites styling. The instinctive navigation and clean lines of the new site, plus the sheer amount of information on offer served in bite-size pieces has helped to put ACC Liverpool on the map as conferencing leaders.

When Fairy Platinum launched back in 2011, we had the pleasure of working on a promotional Facebook pinball game for the product launch. As well as designing the chef character who appears throughout, we also designed a user-interface which enhanced game play and was firmly attuned to the Fairy and Fairy Platinum branding.

We created a UI littered with washing up references, from the colours and textures used to the ball itself, which was a dirty dish. As playing the game allowed users to enter a competition with a highly desirable prize, we needed to create a user experience which allowed easy repeat play, and which made the control mechanisms obvious to the user. Fun and addictive due to its easy to navigate style and compelling game-play, the game was a huge success.  Over 16,000 players in its first week online, with 26% of players returning to play again.

We created an interactive story book for family theme park, Gulliver’s World. ‘Gully’s Undersea Adventure‘ was launched on the iPad and featured a user interface tailored towards the less-dexterous fingers of children aged three to six. Though parents could read through the story with their children, we needed to ensure that children would instinctively understand how to use the app on their own.

The heads-up display or HUD (the device which alerts the player to information such as scoring) needed to be easily understandable for the  younger mind. We praised achievement with bold notifications featuring characters from the game, and used special item icons to let the child know how many more jewels they needed to collect. Also featuring three mini-games, we tailored everything towards the target market, from large and easily identifiable buttons, to in-line animations which educated the child on how to play the mini games and move around the app with ease.

Roller Rally is the debut game from our dedicated games division, Milky Tea Play. Launched on iOS in December last year, and on Android in February, we needed a user interface that worked well on the small screen size, giving the player quick to pick up controls in a style which screamed fun. Our extensive user testing told us that players with different capability levels had mixed opinion on the single controls. We incorporated two levels of controls into the final version, one single button, and one three button for the serious gamers, with the three button option posing much more of a challenge

The smaller screen size also called for a HUD which told the player their position and alerted them to status on the various challenges the game posed. Bright, bold colours and iconic branding all added to game-play, with the game and its controls being applauded in the press for their style, gaining five star reviews from leading titles from across the globe.

The success of giving people multiple choice over game controls in Roller Rally has led us to consider dynamic or adaptable controls for our forthcoming title, where the player can move the buttons to wherever they’d like them to be. Increased interaction personalisation can help the game to become a more memorable experience for the player, creating a greater affinity between game and user and leaving more room for fun!

For more information on any of our UI or UX skills, get in touch! You can email our producer, Susannah Howard on hello@milkytea.com or call 0845 003 8159. We’d love to have a chat!