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. Today, we’re asking him so questions about his experiences with his UXR Lab and beyond, and already can’t wait to see where his career will take him.

What inspired you to go into games and UX?

I played a lot of games as a kid. I figure that games have a lot more impact than I think most people realize. A huge part of games is the user experience. The game is all about providing a service that delivers a user experience that satisfies someone’s emotional or mental needs. Whether it is to be challenged or find friendship or just simply to relax.

What are some of your favourite aspects of UXR Lab?

Everyone here is very supportive. We are always willing to help each other. There’s not a lot of micromanaging going on. It’s really a lot of learning towards your own passion too.

Do you have a favourite project you’ve worked on so far?
Nav Canada, which is basically all of Canada’s air traffic controllers. They were looking to re-vamp their teaching materials, so we built a project to gamify their training process. I can’t go into much detail about this, but we were focusing on improving their outcomes. There was already a lot of simulation involved in their process already, they wanted to get some feedback from game developers and experts in the field in order to make the process more enjoyable for their students, while also using technology to enhance the learning experience.

It was really great because we got to speak with all of these people who had been in this industry for years in order to get a sense of what they do, the technology they use and how their evolving their process over time. It opened my eyes to see that even though I had been working in games and web development, user experience can relate to so many more areas. This was also my first time really designing an experience rather than an interface which really solidified in my mind that this is the right path for me.

What path do you see your career taking in the future?

When I graduate, my dream right now is that I’d really like to get a job at a design firm to do product design or as a user experience designer, because they take in projects from multiple fields. It’s important to me that I’m always learning, and I think it would be really interesting to work in a variety of areas throughout my career.

I do love where I am now though as having talked to so many of my friends, or people who have already started in a job since graduation, I see how long it took before they had the chance to work on projects where their responsibilities are significant enough that they’re actually learning something. Especially in tech, for the first year or two, typically you tend to get smaller projects as part of their training process. Where as with my masters, I’ve been offered great opportunities, and I had a chance to take them if I felt I was comfortable with the projects. And many of these projects are as experimental as you can get, which is where I think I can learn the most.

What kinds of games do you usually play for fun?

Usually, Esports. I do play League of Legends the most. I used to play Overwatch as well, which I liked for the shorter games. League of Legends is a little bit different, and there’s always a lot to consider. I enjoy that it is a bit of a mind game of its own. And I like to play characters that work with the environment that can put pressure on the other team. Skill wise, I know I’m not the best, but I think I can make up for a lot of that by providing other aspects that might benefit my team, like distracting enemy players, or going for objectives when everyone else is focused on getting kills.

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