Exit Project
Mass Effect Andromeda
UI Design • UX Design • accessibility redesign
01 —
Why redesign this game?

Mass Effect is a highly known and fan favorite gaming trilogy, that recently released a spin-off game called ME: Andromeda. This game was launched and received a lot of backlash from fans, but in terms of UI/UX, the game suffered criticism on accessibility, menu design, and the HUD.

Once I started playing, these issues became overwhelmingly clear. I could not even read the subtitles as the font size was too tiny on PS4. I knew that there would be a simple fix in design to add ease of use and clarity within these aspects, and started this project to fix some of those issues.

02 —

As a series that had continuously improved UX/UI before, the UX was lacking compared to the other installations. I realized through research and my experience playing the game, that the accessibility with font/captioning both in-game, menus, and cutscenes was not adequate when playing on console. Another recurring issue I found was that the menu was confusing to players, especially the activation/location of quests in the journal, and navigating from different categories to another.


I conducted research that would improve the accessibility, navigation, and menu layout so that the user experience would be significantly improved, while saving the player's time. To improve the experience, I changed the current interface for the journal, inventory, map, main menu, and in-game & cutscene captioning. The main goal was to establish a clear interface that would be easy to use, and streamline the process of managing a large menu.

03 —

To figure out how to tackle these issues that I faced while playing, I sought out what the players thought of these features as well. Many of them had similar confusion to navigation, setting quests, and how tedious the menu could be. Console users especially had trouble with accessibility, in reading captions and subtitles while playing, which is an extreme set-back for those hard of hearing or with any impairment. I interviewed users and asked them for their feedback, and created a persona based off of it.

I then conducted competitive analysis to see how other triple AAA role-playing games such as The Witcher 3, The Outer Worlds, and Dragon Age: Inquisition, designed their menus, taking a closer look at inventory systems, pause menus, and quest/journal structures. I found that they often made the character visible, and had a grid based inventory system. The Outer Worlds used a thorough dropdown to manage quests which was extremely helpful in processing information. Dragon Age used a circular menu as well, but had less menus to select from than this game, yet still streamlined the process of select a sub-menu.

04 —

The main challenge regarding the inventory was the sheer amount of equipment and how to categorize and display it coherently. The current dropdown interaction the player interacts with to find a weapon they are looking to equip hides away information in drop-down menus. If the player wants to find a specific pistol, they first click on the weapons sub-category on the inventory page, and then click each drop-down button for the weapon to see those specific equipment. It becomes a tedious process, so I thought starting off with your load-out on screen, and then being able to have a double scrolling process once you land on a category, would improve the overall experience. From there, you can mod your weapons and see the stats and text clearly to the right side.

04 —

The journal menu was a big user frustration according to user interviews, and to players posting to forums online expressing their frustration. It was difficult for users to find a quest point they had already activated, and find what the next step would be to continue the quest. The user would have to go in and out of each sub-category, and the nested information made the flow quite tedious. From my research in analyzing how other games manage a large quest system, I saw that dropdown menus with limited clicking were the best way to show categories, in a two-column layout that would have the key points and quest summary to the side to process information more quickly.

05 —

Games should be accessible for all audiences, and for all types of people. Mass Effect Andromeda's accessibility was lacking heavily in these options, especially in console ports. The text size was illegible from a small distance, and the captioning lacked a dark background for color contrast. To improve these features that aggravated many users, I increased the font size substantially, included a dark background for all captions for contrast, and provided color coding for different character's dialogue. This will help those who are hard of hearing, those with visual impairments, or people who just prefer larger captions.

06 —
Future Considerations & Conclusion

I found throughout this process that the feedback I received from users through the internet, and comments from short testing periods greatly contributed to the new redesign layout. I would like to test this even more so that I can base the other designs on how players on average want to interact with a game. Mass Effect Andromeda is a game with an existing beautiful interface, with a fundamentally flawed user experience, that is not helped by its circular layout or its vast sub-menus. The accessibility was non-existent, but by adding these changes, it improves the quality of the game and the players' experience. My redesign puts the player first, while keeping the aesthetic.