A web based roleplaying game promoting transparency in the process of promotion and tenure


Problem Space

The ADEPT (Awareness of Decisions in Evaluation of Promotion and Tenure) team at Georgia Tech works towards giving professionals in academia (like professors and other faculty) information about how promotion and tenure activities happen in academia. The existing tool was built around 10 years ago and consists of three activities/games: Simulated Meetings, Navigating Your Career, and Annotated Vitae. Each game is primarily targeted towards a particular group of stakeholders. A team was formed to redesign this existing flash-based role-playing game to incorporate a better user experience focusing on inclusivity for stakeholders within the academic space.

My Role

I worked as a UX Designer and Engineer under advising professor who oversaw the team containing another UX and Visual Designer as well as a Content Strategist.


Aug 2017 - Present


Shruti Dalvi
Danielle Schechter
Carol Colatrella (Advisor)

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Even though we had time constraints, we didn't want to proceed without doing initial research. Our research consisted of going through the old flash based game and looking at other educational tools.

Existing Product

The existing product had two problems. First, it was a flash based executable file which needed to be downloaded to use. Secondly, it did not follow the Georgia Tech Web Standards guidelines.
Figure: Old Design - Annotated Vitae
Figure: Old Design - Simulated Meeting
Figure: Old Design - Simulated Meeting
Figure: Old Design - Navigating Your Career

E-Learning Tools

We looked at existing e-learning websites like Coursera and Duolingo in order to identify patterns - user flows, information architecture; that make these websites more engaging for the users.

Design Implications

Player representation using characters creates a more engaging experience for the player.
Player progress indication keeps the user motivated to finish the session.
Providing alerts and validations to indicate end of session since time restrictions didn't allow us to have a progress saving handling.


Based on the target audience, we created two distinct personas which guided our design process and helped us focus on the task at hand.
Figure: Experienced Edward
Figure: Newcomer Nadia
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User Flow

We created a revised user flow for the web app which helped keep the three activities as similar as possible to aid better learnability and memorability.
Figure: User Flow

Low Fidelity Prototypes

Figure: Introductory Page
Figure: Member's Bio Option 1
Figure: Member's Bio Option 2
Figure: Simulated Meeting Main Screen
Figure: Simulated Meeting Transcript
Figure: Navigate Your Career Main Screen

High Fidelity Prototypes

Following Brand Guidelines
Even though the web app is meant to be used by general public, it was still important to follow Georgia Tech Web Guidelines since the product would be launched by Georgia Tech. However, the aim was to still keep the visual design flexible enough to be more inclusive of the design.

Easily Distinguishable participants in the conversation
Following Gestalts principle of similarity, a lot of color correlation was used. For example, each character had their own color chat bubble to establish stronger correlation.

Recognize rather than recall
Since the activities have a lot of text that the user needs to read through before playing the activities, providing a convenient way to refer back to the data while still being in the same greatly increased the efficiency the performance of the application.

Estimated Time
To account for the user group's busy daily schedule, having this feature allows them to make a quicker decision to play the activity and also increases the completion rate of the activity.

Progress Bar
Providing an indication of current status of the activity provided motivation to complete the game and also provided real time feedback on user actions within the activity.

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User Testing

Unable to establish connection between points and questions
Users found it difficult to establish a correlation between points in different categories with questions. Users did not find the My Progress card as they were playing the game and felt disconnected from it. Showing the progress card just beside the question view helps decrease the eye movements required to view the progress card.

We are still conducting user testing and will launch the application end of April 2018