Emilio Jéldrez has worked in user experience (UX) design for almost a decade and, during that time, he has seen the industry undergo tremendous change. For one thing, everything now has mobile — even blockbuster console games offer freemium mobile versions. Players are more diverse, spanning all regions, cultures, abilities, genders, and ages. And UX designers are learning the importance of making their games more accessible and inclusive to audiences, on web, mobile, and social platforms, and on any device.
As Senior UX Designer at King.com, Jéldrez sees the changes unfold daily as he navigates UX design at a top game company. King is the interactive entertainment company behind Candy Crush, one of the world’s most popular mobile game franchises. Over 74 million kilometres have been swiped in Candy Crush Saga in 2020 alone. That’s the equivalent of travelling around the Sun almost 17 times. All told, its games attract a staggering 258 million active players worldwide every month as of Q1 2021. For Jéldrez and his team, the challenge is to create fantastic experiences for every player.
“No matter where they are or their background, players have to feel like the game was designed for them. That’s the hardest part of this job,” says Jéldrez. “Fortunately, we have a diverse team that brings many perspectives to our design process.”
King has developed more than 200 game titles and is always looking to bring moments of magic to players. Doing so requires a culture of collaboration and experimentation — not only among UX designers like Jéldrez but also across the larger team of UX writers, artists, testers, researchers, and accessibility experts. Teams at King are cross-functional and take a human-centered design approach, which keeps them focused on the people they’re designing for — players. The choice of tools, though important, is secondary.
“In game design and development, nobody really cares what tool you use,” says Jéldrez. “You’re open to choose whatever you prefer, which is incredibly liberating. Personally, I’ve used Adobe tools all my life, ever since I started working with computers.”
Jéldrez is not alone. His team uses a variety of tools, but Adobe Creative Cloud is central to how they create and collaborate, providing a shared platform for design assets, wireframes, and working prototypes. That’s crucial as UX design teams explore and validate ideas for innovative, crowd-pleasing new features and games.