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As a lucky handful of UK gamers prepare to hole up this weekend with Nintendo’s newly launched DS, Serco Usability Services today publishes the first usability guidelines for the design of handheld gaming consoles.

Like many in the industry SUS are intrigued and excited by the gameplay possibilities that new devices such as the DS and Sony’s rival PSP might offer, but is it all good news for the consumer? Are the novel control and input facilities offered by the Nintendo DS usable, and are they going to be useful in the long run? Can the Sony PSP succeed as a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ or is it better to focus on delivering one type of entertainment experience?

Usability consultant Ben Weedon says, “as long as the designers consider the needs of the users, rather than bolt on functionality for the sake of outdoing each other, the customers will be satisfied”.

These guidelines are derived from a series of expert reviews using an imported Nintendo DS and Sony PSP and examine the two devices from the perspective of the end user. Director Owen Daly-Jones says, “the guidelines are derived from our ongoing research programme into novel technologies, and we are pleased to make these early insights available to a wider audience. We will also be publishing further ground-breaking research as we work closely with the gaming industry during these exciting times.”

Read the full set of guidelines at: http://www.usability.serco.com/research/research.htm

About Serco Usability Services

Serco Usability Services has a 30-year history, it is the most experienced company in the UK usability industry and one of the most experienced in international usability. The company still employs founder members of the original team.

Serco Usability Services works with both public and private sector clients and across a wide range of technologies including websites, mobile applications, interactive TV and appliances. We employ world-recognised experts in usability and accessibility who regularly appear at industry events and remain at the cutting edge of best practice and research.

Serco Usability Services is a subsidiary of Serco Group (www.serco.com), a FTSE 250 company. As one of the world’s leading service companies Serco Group’s activities spread across a diverse range of activities and geographic markets around the world. They include managing research laboratories, operating the Docklands Light Railway in London and the Copenhagen Metro and operating air traffic control towers in the Middle East and across the USA.

Serco has grown rapidly since the management buyout of RCA Services Limited some 16 years ago. It currently employs around 40,000 people in the UK, continental Europe, the Middle East, North America and Asia Pacific. Serco Group’s turnover was £1,556m for the year ending 31 December 2003.

For more information please contact:

Gemma Wisdom
Marketing Manager
Serco Usability Services
T: 020 7421 6499

Published on: 12:00AM on 11th March 2005