We are an applied research lab at Ontario Tech University studying the way people experience interactive systems. We are passionate about design, research, and making the world a better place through interactive technology. Our projects cover a wide range of applications, from mobile apps to virtual reality games and everything in between: board games, console and PC games, productivity software, web applications, streaming content, and even delivery robots! We’re always on the hunt for new projects and like-minded collaborators to explore the limits of how people experience technology.
We are focused on user experience (UX) research, which looks at how people experience interactive systems like games, software, and other forms of digital media. This means that many of our projects involve collaborating with developers to improve their creations during the iterative design process, or evaluating existing products. Additionally, we take on projects to develop things like games, software tools, and mobile apps. Of course, we also conduct academic research, primarily within the domains of human-computer interaction (HCI) and games user research (GUR). So far, we’ve studied things like visualization, game accessibility, and automated playtesting, to name a few – you can see some of our publications here).
Whether a given project is focused on evaluation, development, or research, the majority of our work relates to the following three themes:
Game design research. Video games are a fast-growing segment of the global economy and an increasingly ubiquitous form of entertainment. Many of our projects relate to the design, development, and evaluation of games, and most of our team members have extensive experience with game development and games user research.
Some of our papers relating to this theme look at the relationship between playtesting and critical reviews, visualizing many types of data from multiple players, and how to compare a designer’s intended experience with that of real players.
Apps, simulations, and accessibility. Software is about much more than just entertainment and productivity. Some of our projects have explored the potential of apps, simulations, and games in areas such as training, changing habits, public awareness, gamification, and healthcare. Sometimes, these projects can help make the lives of professionals and everyday people a bit easier, or make existing products more accessible. Other times, they can help pave the way for new ways to think about things like getting in touch with a healthcare professional, or designing a new training program.
A few of our papers relating to apps, simulations, and accessibility include guidelines for using games in stroke rehabilitation, adapting board games for the visually impaired, and reviewing the use of games to help seniors maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Novel interaction modalities. Innovation in both design and technology has drastically changed the way we interact with software, video games, and other interactive media. From the ubiquity of touchscreen devices, to the development of virtual reality, to the rise of eSports and streaming, new ways to interact with technology arrive with each passing year. Part of our work is centred on developing design and evaluation guidelines for these new interaction modes, as well as designing experiences capitalizing on the opportunities they provide.
Some of our work in novel interactions has explored interactivity for people who watch eSports, using augmented reality in museums, and the impact of audience reactions on people playing games.
In addition to academic research, we also frequently work with developers to evaluate and improve their games. If you are a developer interested in collaborating with us, you can read more about working together here.