Creating "Create New World"
How we designed our new Bedrock screen
Greetings, everyone! As some might have heard either through rumors, whispers, or this highly accessible blog post, we’re rolling out an updated Create New World experience for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition to a selection of players! Yay! But why rebuild this UI? What types of challenges were there? And what does the process even look like when designing a UI in a game? Don't worry, your friendly neighborhood Bedrock UI team is here to answer all these questions and more!
First, what does “UI” mean? UI stands for “user interface” and is a space meant to make it easier for us humans to interact with computers. It helps us with navigation, decision-making, and making sense of possible actions. In Minecraft (and most other games) this includes things such as the menu, inventory, Marketplace, or the UI settings, just to mention a few!
Our work began with our players getting invited to take part in “usability studies”. The goal was to learn more about the state of our UI, and we noticed that parts of it were difficult to navigate and understand. Toggling, for example, proved difficult to understand whether it was turned off or on. Scrolling could accidentally change settings (without you even noticing it!), and who knows what “Simulation Distance” even means?
A UI should be easy to use, without causing any hiccups, and one of our most visited screens is the Create New World screen. This screen is used by Minecraft players the world over every day to create new Minecraft worlds, so we felt it was long overdue for some usability upgrades. Not only did we listen to player feedback, but we also looked at data on how players interact with the screen, as well as what settings they most often interacted with.
With the goal of creating the best possible user experience in Create New World, we set out on a journey to change it. Our team’s first task was to brainstorm about the worst possible experience (including lots of popups, buttons that move when you try to click on them and text that is so tiny you can’t read it) to explore what to avoid and to get everyone's brains into a creative mindset.
With terrible experiences out of the way, we moved into the opposite scenario to come up with ideas on how to improve the overall experience. The player research and data mentioned earlier was used as a foundation to make sure the team focuses on solving the issues that stuck out the most.
With a whole bunch of amazing concepts, our UX designer took these ideas as inspiration and began to explore the details around them and what we could achieve. At this point, the iteration and design phase really took off! We drew up concepts, created layouts in the form of wireframes, and iterated over and over and over. In the meantime, our developers began to investigate the technical challenges of restructuring the code in order to find out what we needed to be able to rebuild the screen and learn about potential limitations – which of course also affects the options we have in terms of design.
The concepts evolved and became something we could now show to players. We added clearer states, improved contrast, rethought the page structure, and added option descriptions to make it easy for anyone to use.
We did multiple usability studies to validate the design and of course – usability. This was done by inviting several players to try out the design by clicking through and interacting with a prototype. We gathered all the insights we got from this process – both positive feedback and things that can be improved, which all impacted the design choices we made.
Gradually, a new design started to emerge and from here, we began to break the work down into smaller, more digestible pieces that can be implemented by our developers.
Tech-wise, the most difficult part was to work on refactoring old code to make it easier to work with and enable a more stable platform. We tested everything that was being made both by the team and with the help of a quality engineer, who specializes in testing features and code. This was to limit the number of bugs that each task could bring. Despite this, some bugs always manage to slink past us, but luckily, we have an amazing community of players that always help us discover these mischievous errors so we can fix them. Thanks, community! <3
After working on a lot of polish and missing features, we have released the screen in Minecraft: Bedrock Edition for a selection of players on Windows 10 and Xbox. This to ensure the new UI meets our level of quality, and to gather insights along the way for how we can enhance the experience. We hope you’re one of the lucky ones who can see the new screen! We’ll continuously increase the number of players the screen is visible to and will also add more platforms when they are ready.
For the Bedrock UI team, it was a big step for us to finally go out in beta and share this new design with you all! We really do hope you like it and find it easier to use. Again, thank you for all your feedback! We managed to fill the feedback thread post to its maximum number of comments – we’ll take it as a good indication that people are passionate about this update.
There are always improvements that can be made to our game, and we’re already looking at many possible areas to sink our teeth into. Who knows what the next exciting project will focus on? Stay tuned!
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