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. From there, Pejman’s journey in the world of UX has gone some unexpected places, which he was kind enough to talk with us about today.

Pejman: There are a couple of other faculty members in the game development program at the university, but they do research on games in general. I really wanted to create a space with a focus on user experience research. So decided to start my own research group focusing on that area. We still work with other faculty members and external collaborators but the UXR Lab is mostly a space for applied research projects in the game development field.

Pejman: We have such a nice group. We’re all very supportive of each other. Very kind people, all of them. And working with them is very satisfying, and seeing them succeed is the best part of all of it.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Pejman: I play video games on an almost daily basis but I don’t consider myself as a hardcore gamer. I usually play on mobile and the type of game I enjoy mostly are games like Sim City which is the one that I’m playing a lot these days. So not a fast paced game, but something with more strategy. If you’d asked what my favorite games is, I also used to play loads of Red Alert.

Pejman: I’ve been wondering these days about what sorts of things I should do to have a higher impact in the world. So things that I’ve recently been more interested in are less focused on game development and research projects and more on developing myself and the people I work with. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can collectively make our lives better in terms of how we work and which projects we take, not only with students but also with colleagues. I’m very interested in changing the way that academics approach their work and lives. It’s one of the things that I care about and I want to focus more on that.

Pejman: I’ve been wondering these days about what sorts of things I should do to have a higher impact in the world. So things that I’ve recently been more interested in are less focused on game development and research projects and more on developing myself and the people I work with. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can collectively make our lives better in terms of how we work and which projects we take, not only with students but also with colleagues. I’m very interested in changing the way that academics approach their work and lives. It’s one of the things that I care about and I want to focus more on that.

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UXR Lab

UXR Lab

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