Evaluating the Future Through UX & Gaming
Danielle Green has achieved professional success by almost any standard. She’s an assistant professor of practice in the Division of Organizational and Behavioral Sciences at CGU, founder and director of the Games & Interactive Technology Laboratory, co-founder of the UX Researchers Guild, and has the distinction of teaching in the same school she graduated from at CGU (MA, Cognitive Psychology, 2016).
Her unique background allows her to bring a fresh perspective to UX at CGU because, well, she’s been through it already. That’s rare for a program that hasn’t been around for very long.
“There are [CGU] faculty members who taught me, and now I’m in faculty meetings [with them]. And it’s like ‘oh, this is a new view.’ I also think being an alum helps me empathize with different parts of the student experience.”
That empathy goes far with students who are usually trying to figure out what kind of avenues UX will provide them in their post-graduate careers. From Green’s perspective, UX isn’t just limited to digital avenues but rather transcends the digital realm and lends itself to plenty of real-world applications, too.
“Some interesting [career] spaces that folks don’t usually think about are hardware, for example. Physical products and wearable technology are common landing spots for UX professionals. We even have one student who’s currently working in architecture. So, there are lots of digital experiences, but also lots of physical UX experiences—things like hospitals, city planning, and architecture, all of which are human-centered—that need to be optimized.”
Green thinks it’s better for students to arrive with interests they are excited about and use that to shape their path in UX.
“In my experience, it’s great when folks come in with a few passions—like they’re passionate about education or healthcare. They find where they want to be, and we try and present them with opportunities based on that path. We try to fit them with jobs and class projects that they can form around.”
That kind of thinking is sound logic, especially considering the ripple effects that AI is having on every industry today—but even more so in the tech sector. It is estimated that AI has the potential to eliminate up to 300 million full-time jobs. That is a scary statistic and one that Green and other UX professionals are attempting to combat.
“I think [AI] is providing some nice shortcuts in the field. However, there are groups who are trying to see how far we push that. How many of these tasks do we leverage these tools for? Because of what UX is, folks are starting to look at how we interact with, say, a chatbot—and instead of talking to actual users, can we evaluate things like usability, accessibility, and the value of different digital experiences? That philosophical question is sounding alarm bells for a lot of UX professionals because we are, by nature, a very human-centered discipline. So, we’ll see where that line is and where we all land in terms of what we can use AI for and where we need to set up boundaries and hold our ground.”
For now, Green is happy to focus her efforts on the positive effects that UX can have on people and the world. She enjoys exploring the cognitive science behind games and how they can create change for the better.
“Something we are working on right now is ‘what is the role of games in team building?’ Especially for fully remote teams. A lot of professionals who are fully remote are using online games to build community and cohesion among their team members, and we are looking at what kinds of games are the best to produce those outcomes and do they supply the right avenue for teams to bond.”
If you would like to learn more about Danielle Green, the Games & Interactive Technology Laboratory, or the UX Researchers Guild, check out the links below.