This second workshop focuses on playtesting as a method to iterate and refine an existing design. It emphasizes asking answerable, accurate, and important questions; integrating playtesting into production processes; and making data-driven decisions about game design.

In EXPLORE we introduced four approaches to playtesting: observe, probe, test, and co-design

In REFINE, we will focus on data collection methods for an established game or experience. We will explore: observation, think-alouds, interviews, and surveys.



Methods for Playtesting in Refine

  1. Observation:

    Contextually looking for player actions, reactions, and changes over play. Remember: Do not interrupt!

  2. Think-Alouds:

    Helping a playtester talk through their thoughts as they engage with your experience.

  3. Interviews:

    Generating and asking important, accurate, and answerable questions about your experience.

  4. Surveys:

    Generating concise and relevant survey questions for your experience.

Downloads (Last Held On: 2/19/16)



An overview of how playtesting can be used to refine a game through observation, surveys, interviews, and think alouds.


Refine Packet

All worksheets for the Refine workshop. Includes: Workshop overview, Recipe exercise, Generating Playtest Research Questions, and Planning your playtest.


Handout: Bridge Activity (Moving from Compositions to Recipes)

A worksheet intended to help bridge composition activities from Explore workshop with activities from Refine workshop.
Given to students three days before workshop.


Handout: Generating Playtest Research Questions

Once teams have a working model of their game, this worksheet helps them create research questions to refine the game.
Given to students during workshop.


Handout: Planning Your Playtest

A worksheet that takes designers step by step through planning their playtest.
Given to students during workshop.


Smart Survey Design

By: SurveyMonkey

This guide provides information on writing successful and effective survey questions, creating survey flow and layout, calculating response rates, tips for increasing response rates, and the pros and cons of online surveys.

Smart Survey

Some Techniques for Observing User

By: Kathleen Gomoll

Users should be involved in interface design. But how many people practice what they preach? Until I started observing users, I didn't know the excitement, the value, and the ease of involving users in design.

Observing Users

Self-Assessment-Manikin Scales

By: Hans Irtel

An explanation of a pictorial rating system used to obtain self-assessments of experienced emotions on the dimensions affective valence, dominance and arousal.


A Brief Introduction to Reliability, Validity, and Scaling

By: Karl Wuensch

An overview of observation techniques and an in-depth inspection of reliability, validity and scaling.