THE CURRENT DESIGN
Trade interface with Trade window for Portugal open.
In Stellaris the player can assign Leaders to manage certain tasks, like planet governing, take charge of armies/fleets, explore galaxies or to research technology. Over time Leaders age, gain experience and level-up, which gives them traits and abilities. Eventually all leaders die, either from age, accidents or combat. Each time this happens (death/level-up) a pop-up comes into view and a notification at the top of the screen.
Scientist gained trait.
Leader Level-Up/Gained Trait notification.
Governor gained trait.
Leader Death notification.
The flaws to be pinpointed and produce sketches for.
The pop-ups for the Leader events are inconsistent in their visual design and some of their functionality. Some of the pop-ups give very detailed information about the Leader's skills, traits and appearance in the form of a photo, while some just give a line of text. The window for the Leader Gained Trait also faces some problems as it's information is in some aspects too short and it's visual artworks sometimes uses artworks for other in-game events.
The pop-up for a Leader that has leveled up is much more elaborate in it's information about the Leader than the pop-up for the Leader who has died.
When a Leader levels up the player can see the photo, the name, the occupation, the skill-level and the traits of the Leader. It also gives the ability to "go-to" the Leader via a button in the top-right corner of the window. The pop-up for Leader Died just shows the name and the age of the dead Leader.
The short line of text that the player is treated to will more likely confuse the player, rather than inform the player of the event that has just taken place. During the mid and late game periods of Stellaris the player will most likely have around 10 - 15 leaders, which is quite a lot of names and skills to remember. So when a Leader dies and the pop up comes into view the player will have to divert brainpower to remember what Leader has passed away, just by reading the name and the occupation.
The look of the pop up is also rather impersonal for something that concerns the loss of a character the player has. With no photo of the Leader it becomes harder to make the connection to the character and without any information of what skills the Leader had the impact of the loss feels much weaker.
Scientist Gaind Trait.
As for the Gain Trait pop-up the artwork that accompanies it is sometimes reused for other in-game events, so there can visual clash between these events. The text that describes the gained trait is not very helpful in telling what has been gained and there is no way to see what the effect of the trait is, from the window. If the cursor is placed over the OK-button a tool-tip comes up that spells out what trait has been gained, but not the effect of it.
So the only place in the interface where the player can tell what trait has been gained is in a window that only shows up if the cursor is placed over one of the buttons that closes the window. A player could therefore easily miss the information through a hastily mouse click.
Sketches for a possible redesign.
The sketches that I was assigned to do was made with the intent to highlight parts of the interface that could be built upon for future iterations. So these sketches were never implemented once completed.
What I aimed to accomplish was a more complete, consistent and clear pop up for the player. To reach this goal I set about to dress the pop ups in more visual cues.
Leader Death redesign.
Leader Level-Up redesign.
For the redesign of the Leader Death pop-up I reused the layout of the Level-Up window. But to make it stand out I added a red outline around the portrait, a red line of text (to indicate a loss of an asset), occupation prior to death, years of service, go-to button and a background with the skull icon in the Leader Death notification. For the Level-Up window I also added the level-up icon in the background and years of service.
Leader Gaind Trait redesign.
The Gain Trait pop-up was reworked to resemble the other Leader pop-ups, but it keeps the text box for the descriptive text. The text is however changed to write out what trait has been gained and what the effect of it is. The new trait is also highlighted.
The sketches were made with the intent of making the information more clear, consistent and accessible. The sketches were not to be implemented at the time of their creation, but collected and noted to highlight possible redesigns.