Heuristic Evaluation of MapleStory UI
Assessment based on established human factors and design principles.
- Selecting [Help Guide] inside the Menu category redirects the player immediately to the website.
- Users should be properly warned when they are going to be redirected outside of the game.
- Functionality Issue/Bug – There’s no Help Guide. Is this suppose to be the Maple Guide (inside the game)?
- Selecting the button for [Cash Shop] at the top-level triggers a behavior that is different than the behavior of the other top-level buttons.
- It directs players to the Cash Shop without proper warning.
- All the other categories, including Event (which offers one option just like Cash Shop), open a sub-menu. All elements should behave the same.
- Players might be having issues understanding the availability of the screenshot tool.
- The screenshot tool is not set to the expected key, Print Screen, thus it can cause confusion.
- It seems like the only way to know its availability is by studying the key bindings (Keyboard Shortcuts) in the game.
- This feature should be easier to find. Players’ screenshots can become an important aspect of their game experience.
- Players might be having issues finding some Mini-games and guides.
- “Professions”, “Silent Crusader”, “Tot’s Know How”, and “Maple Guide” are in the Keyboard shortcuts but are not a sub-category within Menu.
- Functionality Issue/Bug – The Key Binding for Monster Collection opens the “Crusader Codex”.
- Are these mini-games and guides important? Are they just clutter?
- The use of English terms that might be too obscure for first-time and international players.
- Key Bindings = Key Mapping, Key Layout, Keyboard, Keyboard Settings, Keyboard Setup
- Joypad Settings = Controllers
- There’s inconsistency in some sub-categories terms inside [Menu]. Some have a “Go to” call-to-action and other don’t.
- Go to Auction House = Auction House
- Go to Farm = Farm
- Keyboard shortcuts expand arrow seems hidden – top level UI.
- Suggestion = change the expandable button to a brighter color when the cursor moves over it.
- Inconsistency between the term Settings in the [Settings] button and the name for the category once it expands – Setting (no “s”)
- It should say Settings in both areas.
- [Help Guide] inside the Menu category doesn’t show you a Help Guide. Is this suppose to be the Maple Guide (inside the game)?
- Key Binding for “Monster Collection” goes to “Crusader Codex”.
Challenge 1: Keyboard Settings
The keyboard setup comes in two layouts:
- Basic Key Settings – MapleStory default layout
- Secondary Key Settings – Other games’ standard layout
The two categories don’t give the players any tips about where to assign new skills. It is up to the players to do their research and decide what to do. Improper layout of keys can cause frustration, fatigue, and even pain after many hours of gameplay. Key mapping can be an easy task for experienced players that have had the opportunity to learn by trial and error. Yet, it is definitely new territory for the inexperienced and players that are used to consoles.
Suggestion: This is an area that needs research. Left and right-handed players might prefer different key layouts even when using the same type of keyboard. The hardware is another issue. There’s a variety of keyboards out there that don’t match with the layouts that the game presents. Yet, most of them can probably be grouped into 4 to 5 categories.
Challenge 2: Controller Support
MapleStory lacks comprehensive controller support. Accessibility in games is very important and it’s not just for players with disabilities. It is no secret that proper accessibility helps the user experience for everyone. The controller support is under Joypad Settings in the Settings sub-menu. It does recognize the most popular controllers but there’s a lot of room for improvement.
- The mapping of keys from keyboard to controller lacks the proper controller button visualization or label. Players need to figure out which button is Button 5 by assigning a skill to it, saving the mapping, and triggering all controller buttons until the skill is activated.
- Many players end up using third-party software to connect their controllers. The in-game support seems to not take into account the triggers in many controllers.
Suggestion: Controller support needs to be updated. It should recognize all buttons, triggers, sticks, and shoulder pads of all popular PC controllers. It should also present proper labels and/or visualizations for the buttons that are being mapped.