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I've played quite a lot of console games, and some of the game menus tend to go pretty deep. It might go something like:

Home Screen -> Play -> Multiplayer -> Online -> Create Room -> Customize.

I was wondering if that is acceptable in the mobile world (Board game genre)? On paper, the design looked great and isolating the decisions to only what matters, but when I started testing the actual build, it felt too deep. Here is the Menu navigation tree sample:

Home
|
|__> Play
     |
     |__> Singleplayer -> customize screen
     |
     |__> Multiplayer
          |
          |__> Local -> start game
          |
          |__> Online
               |
               |__> Rooms -> ...
               |
               |__> Matchmaking
                    |
                    |__> Ranked -> searching for opponent
                    |
                    |__> Unranked -> searching for opponent

Looking at what I have, I can foresee three possible reactions:

  1. Cut the depth! Short circuit some choices ... I don't think this is possible, without sacrificing focus and simplicity.
  2. There is nothing wrong with that, this is perfectly normal even for mobile gamers (given the genre is board games). Yay!
  3. It depends on the graphical representation. In that case, I am using side menus that push in from the left, and hide the previous menu:
 _________      __________
|         |    |back      |
|     play| -> |    single|
|_________|    |_____multi|

It doesn't actually take up the whole screen, just pushes in enough to reveal the new menu.

If I had to give some justification as to why it is that way, it's because each menu now is kind of logically coherent. The home screen, for example, has a huge PLAY button, as well as settings, leaderboards, and account. The rest should be self explanatory.

Just to clarify The goal is to reach a design where the user isn't lost in menus, and doesn't feel burdened to launch the game and start playing.

2

Some designers says putting lot of call-to-action together is better. Because the user can get their goals more easily and quickly.

It's not true. It's not important how many actions as it is how productive those actions are. Because every action or interaction should take the user closer their goal while eliminating.

I highly recommend you to read these articles:

Interaction Elasticity

Breaking the Law: The 3 Click Rule

  • Thanks, I agree as I mentioned in the first point of the options above. The links are very helpful, but would really love to hear from game industry experts that may have went through the exercise on mobile specifically. – Mazyod Jun 25 '15 at 13:14
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After posting the question, and looking at the tree some more, I realized I can optimize for the type of user persona by shuffling things around.

For example, a user that wants to get started right away probably wants a quick Matchmaking option. By removing the "Matchmaking" button, and showing the "Ranked/Unranked" right away, I effectively promote that feature, and help those users get playing quicker. As for the more analytical users, there is always a "Rooms" button, where they can go and browse rooms, or create their own, which is inherently a slow process.

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