The Return of Dungeons & Dragons

Black Dungeons and DragonsOf course for some of you D&D never went away, but all of a sudden there’s a resurgence of interest from ad agencies and design firms. Sam Grobart reports for BusinessWeek:

Bust out your graph paper and dodecahedron die, because Dungeons & Dragons is back—and in business. Literally.

In a video that may seem a parody at first, but really isn’t, ad agency DDB demonstrates how using the role-playing game from the 1970s and ’80s can help people understand and design user experiences (UX) for websites.

Vincent Higgins, DDB’s executive director for UX, explains in the video how “Dungeons & Dragons taught me everything about user experience design.” Higgins, who will clearly be played by Fred Armisen in the movie version of this story, says he was “heavily involved” with the role-playing game and its hit points and half-elves while growing up. As a designer of choices and paths a person may take when visiting a website, he realized that his old days as a chaotic-evil gnome (or perhaps he was a lawful-neutral paladin?) could inform the work he is doing today.

Tyler Wilson, a senior planner at DDB, was initially skeptical of using D&D in planning website design, but he came around fairly quickly. It turned out that D&D could be useful when drawing up a map of a user’s journey through a site. “What we love about the map,” he says in the video, “is that you take the same principles of building a dungeon and actually apply it to the classic logic map.” Site planners roll multisided dice to simulate the different ways someone may interact with a Web page. “Dice gives you two things: variability and probability,” says Wilson. “When we look at a consumer journey, there are probabilities built into what they’re going to do, but those probabilities are not absolute.”…


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

Latest posts by majestic (see all)

2 Comments on "The Return of Dungeons & Dragons"

  1. And good on them! Just one of many ways classic RPG structures remain relevant. (never minding the inherent geekery…which I admit to without shame…I picked up some good skill sets in interpersonal communications, presentation and language/elocution from my many wonderful evenings spent with friends around a table rattling dice.)

    • Hadrian999 | Jul 26, 2013 at 10:45 pm |

      PNP rpg’s are great if you can find a group, PC and console rpg’s are fun but will never match the creativity and interaction of a good PNP campaign

Comments are closed.