Image for post
Image for post
Atiya Nova

A master’s student in computer science Atiya Nova loves games. She started working with Pejman during her first year, which opened the door to joining UXR Lab as she progressed through her studies. In addition to her work with the lab, she is also interning with Stitch Media.

We spent some time with Atiya and asked her about her passion for games and where she sees her career going in the future.

You can find Atiya on Twitter.

What inspired you to study games and UX?

As a kid I liked playing GRPG (General Role Playing Games) and I would fantasize being a part of the game and working on them. This led me to UX because I liked diving into the mind of the player. I like how various aspect of the game can affect the experience of a user and I wanted to be able to create or help create things that could provide good experience for users. …


Image for post
Image for post
Samantha Stahlke

Having recently finished her Master’s, Samantha is now focused on academics and research. She started working in research with Pejman during her undergrad, but remains interested in a variety of game development areas from programming to math to writing, and has a strong passion (and talent!) for art.

You can find Samantha on Twitter and DeviantArt.

Where do you see your career going from here?

I change my mind about what I want to do with my life quite frequently. A few years ago I thought for sure I wanted to fast-track a PhD. Creating and sharing things is my key passion as of late, which is why I’ve fallen more into the teaching side of things as of late. I enjoy teaching at the school. Teaching online, not so much. It’s hard when you can’t see your students faces, or just walk around the room and have real conversations. …


Image for post
Image for post
James Robb

James is an associate teaching professor in Ontario Tech’s Game Development and Entrepreneurship program. He is a self-described researcher by accident. He’s spent his life loving games and ended up taking an unconventional path into the world of academics and research. Now, in addition to teaching, he is focused on the design of spectator based interactions in livestreamed game content.

Today, we’re talking to James about his career so far, teaching and some of the possibilities that gaming holds for the future.

You can find James on Twitter.

What first got you interested in game development?

As a kid I think I wanted to do something in games because of the aspect of play, but things really clicked for me in high school. A combination of computer programming classes and hobby tabletop games (D&D 3.5 mostly) solidified game development as this crafting of an experience for others. Programming seemed like an easy route since I thought I was good at it, though many years later in grad school I moved into the design space and I like it much better here. …


Image for post
Image for post
Wen Bo Yu

Bo is a current Master’s student in computer science and the most recent member of the UXR Lab team! He started his studies in engineering at the University of Ottawa. After taking some time off, Bo started his journey into the world of game development for his undergraduate degree, which is where he started getting to know Pejman and the work that UXR Lab was doing.

Bo’s interests are varied, and he thrives when he can carve out his own opportunities to both innovate and learn. …


Image for post
Image for post
Nour Halabi

Nour is a researcher who loves the academic side of game development and user research, enjoying everything from play-testing to collecting data. She is currently working toward her PhD in computer science, in order to study how to make sense of all that data, specifically in improving the options for visualization.

How did you first realize you were interested in the research side of game development?

I had no idea this was really an option until close to the end of my undergrad. I did an internship back in third year, developing a website to help researchers setup their studies. So I started to learn more about user research and the kinds of techniques that are used in terms of playtesting. From observation to group discussions after play sessions. This was my first grasp into the research side. And then in fourth year I took an HCI course with Pejman, where I learned more about being a user researcher. …


Image for post
Image for post

Pejman Mirza-Babaei is an Associate Professor of User Experience (UX) Research and Associate Dean Industry Partnerships at the Faculty of Business and Information Technology. His research and teaching is focused on the design and evaluation of user experience in interactive entertainment systems. He is also a co-editor of “Games User Research” book, a compendium of insights from over 40 experts on UX research in games.

After working as a network administrator for a time and realizing he hadn’t yet found his ideal career path, he went back to school and started learning about human-computer interaction, which is where he developed his interest in user experience research, applying that interest to game development for his PhD. …


Image for post
Image for post

Name: Thomas Galati

1. What is your current position?

I am currently a Game Data Analyst at Gameloft.

2. What role did you play at UXR Lab?

I was a Grad Student working on my Masters degree in Computer Science. I assisted in research by helping run studies and writing in papers.

3. What inspired you to go into games and UX?

As early as I can remember I have always had a passion for games, so it was only natural for me to gravitate towards learning the development process behind the scenes. It wasn’t until much later on, after I discovered a love of fighting games, that I realized how much I enjoyed breaking down and anticipating user behaviours. …


Image for post
Image for post

Name: Lena Uszkoreit

1. What is your current position?

I am a user experience researcher at Google. Currently, I am working on Google Assistant in Zurich, Switzerland.

2. What role did you play at UXR Lab?

I was a post-doctoral research fellow at the UXR Lab working with Pejman and several members of the labs on different projects.

3. What inspired you to go into games and UX?

Back in the day, I was a huge WoW-nerd and I realized that many of my guildmates ended up being closer friends than people I’ve met IRL. I became fascinated with the kind of social connections people can form in online spaces and especially in games. After my MA at the Berlin University of the Arts I decided to pursue my PhD at USC Annenberg to study social interactions in online games in more detail. …


Name: Nour Halabi

  1. What role do you play at UXR Lab?

I am a PhD student, I find my role is based on my area of expertise which falls under play-testing data analytics and information visualization. In that role I find that I tend to offer guidance, assistance, and share advice based on my experience whether it’s on how to conduct studies, writing and publishing academically, to game evaluation or tool development.

2. What inspired you to go into games and UX?

Having always been a curious child, I found myself examining and analyzing how different systems and software worked. I’ve always been drawn to new and exciting technologies which led me to pursue a creative major, an undergraduate in game development, aside from my love for video games.


Image for post
Image for post

Name: Atiya Nova

What role do/did you play at UXR Lab?

I am a masters student in computer science. At the lab I work as a research assistant, I help with things like lab related research, writing papers, anything that would need my assistance.

What inspired you to go into games and UX?

As a kid I liked playing GRPG (General Role Playing Games) and I would fantasize being a part of the game and working on them. This led me to UX because I liked diving into the mind of the player. …

About

UXR Lab

Research team at Ontario Tech University exploring the design and evaluation of interactive media. We work on commercial and academic projects.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store