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GUR Cafe

GUR Cafe

By GUR Cafe
GUR Cafe is hosted by Lanie Dixon of Ubisoft Montreal.

GUR Café podcast was created as a place to chat about all things Games User Research. The hope was to create content discussing topics we wish more people in Games User Research were talking about.

Join us each month for new episodes!

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Going Beyond the UR Report
Delivering insights or research reports is a key function of our roles as Games User Researchers. Unfortunately, it is far too easy to get stuck in a loop of presenting a piece of research then fading into the background until the next research request comes around. But is the research deliverable itself the only and best way for us to show our value?   Join Lanie and Steve Bromley in this episode as they discuss how we as researchers can and should find opportunities to provide greater impact and bring influence beyond the report at the end of a test. They discuss how they've seen success in approaching their role with the mindset that we can in fact be design tools. They'll share how they have been able to successfully leverage the entire timeline leading up to a test, during, and following the research deliverable to identify numerous opportunities to provide insights, increase influence, and deliver impactful deliverables alongside their stakeholders.   Steve Bromley teaches people about user research for video games, and provides user research consultancy for games studios.   Prior to this he was a senior user researcher for PlayStation, and started the IGDA games user research mentoring scheme.   He recently released the book How To Be A Games User Researcher, and shares free regular games user research lessons at
May 25, 2022
Day in the life of a GUR
Games User Research roles can vary depending on the size of your team, the studio, how your team interacts with the stakeholders, your seniority, and more. In this episode we are chatting a bit about what a day in the life actually looks like as a games user researcher working at Ubisoft Montreal with Tristan Carreiro-Blanc & Gabrielle Mourra. We'll discuss what it is like to work with game designers to plan a piece of research and what those tests can look like day to day. So, if you've ever wondered what it is like to be an embedded games user researcher this one is for you! ___________________________________ Since an early age, Tristan has always been drawn to video games and the appeal they have on different people. As an embedded user researcher at Ubisoft Montreal, he leverages the skills acquired during his studies in psychology to conduct research for video game productions. By collaborating and providing actionable insights to the design teams, he intends to leave his mark on the development of the games he works on. Gabrielle is a User Researcher at Ubisoft Montreal, with an academic background in Psychology and Marketing. She was born and raised in Haiti, a country that has suffered much political and economic turmoil. This led her to strive to understand what makes people tick and how they create the perception of the world around them. Since joining Ubisoft she has used her knowledge of human psychology and research methods to understand how players interact with games and help production teams give players the intended experience while playing.
April 06, 2022
UR Strategies for Beginners
Building a User Research strategy can feel daunting, especially for beginners. What does a research strategy even have to look like? Where should you begin? Join Lanie and Sarah Romoslawski in this episode as they discuss how you can start building your User Research strategy for your project, even if you're still a beginner. They'll share tips on where to begin and how you can kick off building your own strategy but starting with 2 simple questions -  what do we want to learn? And, what is our end goal?    Sarah Romoslawski is a user researcher that has worked in games, children's entertainment, consumer electronics, health tech, and most recently, fintech industries. Sarah's interest in user research for games came about while working in academic virtual reality and mixed reality research groups at Carnegie Mellon and Arizona State University. Starting her gaming career at EA as a game producer, her first research-focused position was at Sifteo, where she built a grassroots playtesting service for the iconic video gaming blocks. Previously the Senior Manager of User Experience Research at Glu Mobile, she grew the user experience research function there from a team of one to a team of eight, supporting a wide variety of game genres and multiple game development studios. Sarah is currently a Staff Researcher at Coinbase focused on the design system.
February 21, 2022
Leveraging design playsessions in UR
Design playsessions, or playsessions run internally within a design or production team for the purposes of testing a new concept or validating a decision, are happening whether we are a part of them as researchers or not. While these types of testing are most often not with the target audience of the game and can bring their own flaws and biases, how can we embrace these imperfect opportunities as researchers to produce valuable insights?        Join Lanie and Sebastien Francois, former User Researcher and now UX designer on Rainbow Six Siege, as they discuss how and why you should spend time on integrating yourself and user research into design playsessions to maximize insights, long term UR impact, and influence. Sébastien François - UX Designer @ Ubisoft Montreal After several years in game design and user research, it felt natural to merge both and focus on UX design. My main interests are in moment-to-moment gameplay, and the intersections of systems building up the player journey.   Lanie Dixon -  User Research Team Lead @ Ubisoft Montreal  All-around GUR evangelist. 6 years in GUR with experience working on games in everything from VR, educational, indie, and AAA. Former indie game studio owner. Getting fun out of watching my siblings play games growing up trained me for this.
January 17, 2022
What if we're just design tools after all?
As Games User Researchers our roles can be multi-faceted, but at our core we want to help ensure that the experience the designers are creating for their game matches what the players are experiencing. Regardless of what tools, methods, or strategies we use to get there – it is focused around understanding our players. But what if we approached our research a bit differently?     What if we shift from a mindset focused on research around understanding, and better understanding, the player to how do we design more effectively?      What would happen if we changed our approach to research and positioned ourselves as design tools? Would this work?       Join Lanie, Oli, and our special guest, Julien Hugenin, for a discussion on how we as researchers can help contribute to designing better things as well as some tips of ways we've seen this approach be successful.      Special thank you to Julien for joining us for this episode! Julien is the Game Intelligence cell owner on Rainbow 6: Siege. He focuses on bridging gaps in research pipelines and helping the project navigates player data and insights.
December 14, 2021
Episode 3 - What does it mean to be a blended researcher?
Join Lanie & Oli in a discussion inspired by a talk from Julien Huguenin, "Blending User Research into the Design Cycle to Maximize Impact" given at the 2019 #gamesUR Summit in San Francisco.  Julien's talk here :      There is certainly no shortage of discussions regarding the importance of building influence as a researcher, but what does it mean to be a blended researcher? What have we learned and how have times changed in the last 2 years since Julien's original talk? In this episode we'll discuss:    - The difference between embedded vs blended, as well as what it means to be a partner vs support to our design teams   - Some of the current issues that can and do hold us back as researchers   - The many ways in which we can be blended into the design cycle and begin to own at least a portion of the iteration process   - How we and our teams have built healthy relationships with our stakeholders and production teams, as well as how Covid has (or hasn't) changed all that   - Steps we can all take to move towards a more blended relationship with our design teams while fighting the iteration black box
November 23, 2021
Episode 2 - The Importance of Communication
How much time should we spend 'doing' research vs time spent communicating?    In this episode Lanie, Oli, and Seb discuss why time spent communicating with your dev teams and stakeholders is more important than running the research itself. We'll break down some of the things you can do to be more communication focused in your work, and the 2 most important aspects of successful communication; understanding what they need and delivering it.
August 03, 2021
Episode 1 - Introductions & UR Mindset
In the pilot episode Lanie, Olivier, and Sébastien talk a bit about their backgrounds and how they ended up in GUR. They also begin discussing one of their favorite topics – the all-important and highly sought after User Research Mindset™    Who are we?  Lanie Dixon User Research Team Lead @ Ubisoft Montreal All-around GUR evangelist. 6 years in GUR with experience working on games in everything from VR, educational, indie, and AAA. Former indie game studio owner. Getting fun out of watching my siblings play games growing up trained me for this.     Olivier De Maeyer User Research Manager @ Ubisoft Montreal UR Veteran. 19+ years of studying human interaction with everything that has screens and buttons, including 6 years in games. Obsessed with methods. My appeal to UX started at 8 years old when I discovered how painful “ergonomic” scissors were for left-handed people like me.   Sébastien Lourties User Research Team Lead @ Ubisoft Montreal Fascinated by end-user power. 4 years in the finance industry before joining Ubisoft. I chose UR & UX when I discovered most digital projects failed due to the lack of customers involvement in the creation process. Special expertise with large UX research roadmap and biometrics involvement.   Logo & assets contributed by Marie Roy
July 13, 2021