This year while on a honeymoon in Bulgaria I stopped by at my wife’s relatives for a couple of days. Great family they are. It was interesting for me to see how Anna Maria gets around with computer. She’s the youngest of two girls in the family, around 6 years old. Anna Maria is already fluent in using computer despite the fact she can’t read much. Moreover she has no problem playing online games no matter what language the game uses.
The reason is obvious — most games are designed so that you generally don’t even have to read the label or know how to read at all to know what button to push. In this example first one in the list obviously starts the game because you usually place the most used option first:
The ‘Nail Studio’ game that you see above works in a wizard-like manner. Turns out it’s obvious for even an illiterate six-year old to guess what button to push to continue (the one to the right :) ):
There are loads of examples and tips for interface designers in gaming industry. In general, all the well-known interface design axioms work so well in games because game designers know better than any other that intuitive interface is crucial for game’s success.
Most of the principles can be applied in web and desktop apps, so play more and keep an eye for good advice.
P. S. For those willing to play Nail Studio: www.girlsgogames.com/game/Nail_Studio.html :)