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I'm trying to come up with the UI for a game I'm creating for the iPhone/iPad. The game is based off another online game form years ago, and they had their HUD on the left side of the screen.

I'm trying to make my game look as different from the original as possible, so I was trying to see if moving the HUD to a different part of the screen would help.

Here is the game that is my inspiration (I plan to make my own graphics and everything myself. I don't want it to resemble the original game at all graphically): enter image description here

The object of the game is to match symbols on the game board with others of the same symbol or same color. The grey box being a wild space. The end goal is to try to fill up the board with yellow spaces to clear the level. A yellow space is placed once a symbol is correctly placed on the board. If an entire row or column is filled, the symbols clear, but the yellow spaces stay. There's also a 'trash can' that a player can drop a symbol if it won't fit on the current game board. It will only hold 4 symbols and a gameover is on the 4th symbol dropped in.

enter image description here

Anywho, my question is, if this game were on an iPhone or iPad, would it make less sense if the HUD (the area to the left with the score, etc) was on the right? or even the top or bottom?

It seems more intuitive to have it on the left because that's how I read, but is that really the case? Could I move it around without causing annoyance or confusion?

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Create HUD graphics you can easily move around and test what works the best. –  Barfieldmv Nov 24 '11 at 7:36
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3 Answers

LEFT. And for 2 reasons.

  1. We read left to right
  2. Physically its easier to reach diagonally with your right hand to the left side of the screen, so right handed people want it on the left.
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For a certain small definition of WE. –  Barfieldmv Nov 24 '11 at 7:35
    
Reading left to right (not by all of us by the way), is exactly why it should be on the right. The game itself is the most important part of the screen and should take priority (in reading order as well) over stuff that merely "sets it up." –  Marjan Venema Nov 24 '11 at 8:48
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I think there are a few valid options for you here, the first being let the user change where the HUD is. If that is not an option, then it depends on what you think your target audience will be and where you think they will be using their iPad or iPhone when playing.

Given that most people are right handed and will probably hold their device with the left hand while playing with the right, the HUD on the left makes more sense there.

If your game is also going to work in portrait mode, I would recommend placing the HUD on the bottom, based on my own personal gaming preferences on my Android tablet. If I have my feet propped up on the couch and the tablet against my legs at an angle, I'd want the gaming portion of the screen as high up as possible, so having the HUD at the bottom would serve to elevate the game in my lap and cause fewer neck problems.

There are certainly plenty of existing examples of popular top and bottom HUDs out there, but you might also consider appropriating the corners of the screen for HUD details rather than having them all grouped together. Quite a few of the games I've played lately do that to afford the user more space devoted to the game itself, which I appreciate!

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Ha! it looks like Gilbert and I are in agreement, at least. –  Karen Nov 23 '11 at 20:44
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If the game board (the panel with the game grid) is on a device with a landscape orientation, then having the game panel on the right is best for right handers. Left handers would appreciate the game panel on the left.

If the game board is on a device with a portrait orientation, then the game board should be on the bottom.

The idea is that the most used panel (in this case, the game board) should be accessed without having to "reach over" other panels.

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