Video video games have a few of the finest consumer interfaces and consumer experiences amongst all digital merchandise. And that’s why some tech firms are taking inspiration from the individuals who design video video games, on the subject of designing non-game expertise interfaces.
Harlan Elam is an efficient instance of somebody who made the leap from video games into cybersecurity, the place his expertise have been very helpful in visualizing sophisticated dashboards.
Elam labored for four.5 years at Blizzard Leisure as a consumer interface and consumer expertise designer, however he not too long ago redesigned the product interface for Jask, a cybersecurity firm. That is precisely the type of leap that McAfee predicted in a report final yr, the place the safety agency stated that avid gamers have the abilities to be good cybersecurity professionals.
Elam pulled concepts from quite a lot of disciplines — video games, digital actuality recreation Lone Echo, and even science fiction exhibits like Westworld — to construct a heads-up show (HUD) fo Jask. I talked to Elam about this crossover, and it jogged my memory of a chat that John Underkoffler, CEO of Rectangular Industries, gave at our GamesBeat Summit occasion in 2018. Underkoffler, the science adviser for the landmark sci-fi movie Minority Report, begged recreation designers to lend their experience to designing expertise interfaces of the longer term.
And whereas Elam wasn’t conscious of Underkoffler’s speak, he answered the decision. Right here’s an edited transcript of our interview.
Picture Credit score: Jask
GamesBeat: You’ve some background at Blizzard, proper?
Harlan Elam: Oh, yeah. I had 4 and a half years there. At 5 years you get a sword, which is actually cool, however the alternative at Jask was too engaging. I handed on my sword, however we’re doing enjoyable work right here.
GamesBeat: The place are you primarily based now?
Elam: Our HQ is in Austin. There’s a Blizzard workplace in Austin, which is generally buyer assist, however additionally they run the World of Warcraft web site and the Diablo III web site. That’s the place I labored.
GamesBeat: I don’t know if you happen to can discuss every thing you probably did, however what had been the duties you labored on at Blizzard?
Elam: I used to be employed to revamp the World of Warcraft web site and the Armory app, the place gamers might view their character profiles. These had been two of the larger tasks I labored on, in addition to supporting design work on Diablo III. Diablo III, whereas I used to be there, launched the Rise of the Necromancer DLC. I designed the mini-site for that, and the cell web site as properly. I did some assist on their esports apps. Once I had some downtime I’d soar over to that workforce and assist out with their Android and iOS apps. So I used to be doing UI and UX work.
GamesBeat: Do you miss something in regards to the Blizzard life?
Elam: There’s positively a geekiness there that isn’t right here at Jask. Everybody right here attire actually properly. There’s no statues on their desks or something. [laughs] It’s simply totally different.
GamesBeat: Are you doing related work at Jask, or one thing totally different?
Elam: The duties and the processes are basically the identical. The product could be very totally different. It’s not consumer-based, I assume is the appropriate technique to name it. It’s extra for companies. Nevertheless it’s product design. It’s extra strictly interface and fewer about going to purchase one thing or try a information article across the recreation.
GamesBeat: Is it extra geared towards skilled individuals, then, versus a shopper web site? Is large distinction?
Elam: Yeah, it’s extra B-to-B. This can be a instrument that safety analysts will log into to watch their community and ensure their community is secure. They’ll see incoming threats and cope with them appropriately.
Picture Credit score: Dean Takahashi
GamesBeat: We do the GamesBeat convention, and we had an fascinating speaker a few occasions, a man named John Underkoffler. He was the science advisor on Minority Report, the place Tom Cruise used these knowledge gloves and the gesture-based controls. He made it his startup’s work to take that expertise and put it into workplace merchandise. You should use large screens in a management room, or only a large assembly room, and use gesture controls to throw photographs on the partitions. He got here to our convention and stated that recreation builders are the very best at inventive consumer interfaces and controls for complicated software program. His concept was that these individuals could be the very best to design different merchandise — that folks ought to take classes from recreation design and apply them throughout different software program, which appears type of like what you’re doing.
Elam: We’re making an attempt to. We’ve a methods to go. However that’s positively avenue we wish to take. I’ll say that I haven’t developed video games per se. I labored carefully with some recreation groups, and I’ve been a gamer my complete life. We’re taking plenty of these UX philosophies from video games to what might probably be a really sterile and boring instrument to make use of. That’s the chance I noticed and was excited to hitch.
GamesBeat: What kind of classes do you suppose you’ve drawn from video games?
Elam: By way of app design, particularly in cybersecurity, plenty of the merchandise are tough to make use of. There’s a steep studying curve. I type of equate it to tutorials for video games. The tougher video games have extra intense tutorials. At Jask we wish to make it very easy to leap in. I do know that myself, and most avid gamers, would favor to not learn a guide. We wish to simply soar in and begin enjoying. Most individuals we speak to agree with that. Once they get a recreation they wish to simply put it in and never fear in regards to the directions.
By way of how we implement that within the product, we wish to simplify. A few of that has to do with the format of the app, including labels to icons that didn’t have them. A few of the phrases we use are proprietary, so the extra we will do to make issues apparent, the simpler it is going to be for analysts to select up on the nuances of the app. For the HUD specifically, we launched this radar graphic within the center with these purple triangles which are the issues you might want to deal with. We use easy shapes and colours which are historically used to speak, “Hey, it is a factor you might want to have a look at.” We use purple to determine one thing you might want to care for earlier than one thing even worse can occur.
I used to be impressed in my preliminary considering by issues like Missile Command, House Invaders, Battlezone for the Atari. Simply quite simple level and shoot video games. Whereas we’re not fairly there but, we’re getting there. That’s the inspiration for the radar. Present you there’s one thing you might want to go assault. The concept, ultimately, is that we’d like these triangles to maneuver. As the danger issue goes up, the extra possible it’s that an assault goes to be damaging to your community. The construction goes to get nearer to that bullseye within the center, displaying precisely the place you might want to go click on to care for these items straight away.