Projects | ADEPT


How can we engage faculty through role-playing games that inform them about the promotion & tenure process?


Role: UX Designer + Lead Developer  

Tools: Pen & Paper, Sketch, Invision, Angular JS, HTML, CSS  

Duration: 9 months  

Details: 3 person team project @ Georgia Tech  

Presentation Deck: Click here

Problem Statement

ADEPT is a platform first created in 2007 to help professors understand the promotion and tenure process better. However, the platform previously created was a Flash application which needed to be downloaded. It would also rely on external third party softwares on Mac devices since the file extension was .exe. This team was formed to move the platform to a web app and make the platform more accessible for the intended audience.


Research - Old System

Our team analyzed the current system at that point and found that while it had good content, the interface was lacking and didn't invite faculty engagement.

The Good - Conversational Style

The primary content was framed in the form of a conversation instead of a case study; this mirrored the actual situation, making it easier to connect with and understand the situations.

The Good - What’s the best answer?

A ‘most appropriate answer’ rather than one single correct answer implored the user to explore and discuss multiple scenarios. Users are scored on multiple aspects to give them some indication of whether they were going in the right direction.

The bad - The interface


Based on our findings from looking at the original website, we identified an opportunity to leverage existing information but make the interface more engaging and gamified.



Two main user groups emerged: 1) an experienced academic who knew about the process because he had gone through it himself. 2) A relative newcomer in the academic space who wants to learn more about the process and try to do everything by the book.

These two personas guided the design process that followed and ensured that we designed for the most critical user group.

Figure: Persona 1

Figure: Persona 2

Design Guidelines

Based on the research, we came up with the following design guidelines to give us a head start.

  • Immersion
    Since the game requires a good amount of reading, it is important that the user is fully engaged in the game. Research showed that letting the user ‘play a character/role’ proved essential for this cause.

  • Progress Indication
    It is important to constantly display the player’s progress to inform them of how much of the game is completed and how much is left.

  • Supplementary resources at their disposal
    While playing the game, the user needs to make decisions based on a candidate’s past record. Therefore it is important that this past record is available on the screen to refer to at all time.

  • Validations and alerts
    The system should clearly respond to user actions to validate the action. The system should show alerts at crucial points in the user flow. This is important as (due to time and resources constraints) we could not create a functioning backend for the game. Therefore, on exiting a game all progress is lost.

User Flows

We then created a user flow chart to understand how a user might navigate from one state to another.

Figure: User Flows

Low fidelity Mockups

We then started sketching out concepts first on pen & paper and discussed it with the Subject Matter Expert (professors who are tenured or have served on a tenure committee). Her feedback helped us come up with design decisions, which we finally then incorporated into our design.

Landing Page

Simulated Meeting Main Page

Simulated Meeting Transcript Page

Member Bio Option 1

Member Bio Option 2

Navigate Your Career Page

Design Principles

After creating lo-fidelity mockups and brainstorming initial ideas, we arrived at the following design principles.

Following Brand Guidelines

While this product is owned by Georgia Tech, its users would be from multiple educational institutes. Therefore it was important to follow Georgia Tech’s brand guidelines and at the same time retain a general visual design that is inclusive to all audiences.

Following Brand Guidelines

Gestalt's Principle of Similarity

In order to easily distinguish characters, each character was given their own color which also served as an outline color for the chat bubble to helps users distinguish speakers.

Gestalt's Principle of Similarity

Recognize rather than recall

Users would often need to refer to the candidate’s profile (CV and Case Study) while making decisions. The user first reviews this profile on the introductory page of the game. The same profile is then condensed and conveniently placed on the sidebar, from where it can be accessed at any stage in the game.

Recognize rather than recall

Estimated Time

Professors are often very busy during their week and dedicating an undivided stretch of time to this activity may require some planning. The opening screen tells the user the approximate time it would take to complete the activity. Now they can make an informed decision of whether they should start the game immediately or come back another time.

Estimated Time

Progress Bar

The progress bar will constantly inform the user of how much of the game is completed and how much is remaining.

Progress Bar

Development / Final Deliverables

I developed the website single-handedly which can be accessed at after doing the following two tweaks in the UI design based on feedback from evaluation.

Easier to read instructions

We found that users would skip reading the large chunk of text and then get confused about proceeding with the game. We broke down the text into bullet points to increase readability.

Tweak One

More evident feedback for points change

Users weren’t able to establish a connection between their actions and points gained due to the distance between the two areas.

Tweak Two


We conducted user testing with 11 users, both familiar and unfamiliar with the system of promotion and tenure.

We tested for the following parameters:

  • Understandability: Does the user understand their task?
  • User flow: Since the flow of each game is primarily linear, does the user understand how to get to the next screen?
  • Findability: Can the user easily find the content they assume/know is available?
  • Discoverability: Is supplementary content easily discoverable on the screen by the user?


The project was a great accomplishment for the entire team as we delivered the product from design to development. It was a highly collaborative effort, not just within the team but also from external groups. I took the lead to make the Georgia Tech web development division understand our requirements and why we needed to use Angular and not Drupal (on which most of the current GaTech websites are).

Just like any real world project, this project had a lot of constraints from the owner of the product. This made us lay out metrics for evaluation which proved beneficial during evaluation as we were clearly able to move past those issues without probing users further and wasting time.

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