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TESTIMONIALS

What do people have to say?

"Dr. Jennings is easily one of the most capable, observant, wonderful, and humble people I've ever had the pleasure to work with. She is adaptable to situations, learns new skills extremely quickly, and is able to use her deep understanding of psychology to leverage her research to create meaningful and impactful insights. She is thoughtful, mindful, kind, and simply just a joy to be around."
Kat Kingsley
Chief of Staff
"Eevin did high quality work, and completed the project very quickly. Very qualified and professional. Will reach out to Eevin again for future projects."
Parker S.
Associate Director of CRO, National University
"Eevin was great to work with. She developed several templates for our social media posts, and we are actively using them. She also put together a slide for a special film event, and we were very happy with how it turned out."
Fabi Hirsch Kruse
CEO and Founder
"Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful - It was beyond my expectation. Eevin is very skillful, she knows her job, she is readily available when you need her. She supported us beyond her duty call. She is really qualified and suitable for the job. Working with her was so motivating and we would like to do more projects with her."
Saeed W.
CEO and Founder
"This was very nice for decision-making. It allowed a high degree of parallel input that would have literally taken hours or days to get through using any kind of round-robin discussion."
Isaac V.
Director of Core Technology
"Eevin went above and beyond to use her skillsets in user research, data visualization and survey design (among many others!) to help every department when we worked together at Volition. Whether it was to help understand the needs of our summer intern group or to properly run a post mortem after a major game release, she was not only an expert on gathering the data, but also managing, aggregating, and displaying it in an easily digestible way that made all of us feel like our thoughts and feelings mattered."
Sarah Masuda
PMP & CSM

PROJECTS

Video Games

Saints Row (2022) DLC

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As the User Research Manager at Volition, I pioneered and executed all research efforts on the three DLC releases and research program development. I also collaborated with our parent company/publisher's research team, PLAION GamesLab, to strategize and execute studies for other studios. Below are short summaries of the main projects I carried out in relation to DLC.

Playtester Sign-Up Webpage

I revitalized all of the recruitment materials to improve their compliance with ethical APA standards, but I noticed that we had a history of a very low sign-up rate. To match Volition's research recruiting page with its values toward equity and accessibility, I conducted a usability test with prospective users who had never used the site before. This revealed significant issues with information architecture, visibility, banner blindness, and copy clarity. I forwarded a screenshot of the page with the issues and my solutions to our webmaster, who implemented many of the changes. This resulted in a 200% increase in sign-ups in just a week's time.

Below: Original design with my observations and solutions.

Below: After most of the changes were implemented.

Heuristic Analysis for the Wingsuit Event

Telemetry showed that players didn't use the wingsuit mechanic in the overworld. To encourage its use, the Missions team built a 5-sequence event in which players were provided comprehensive in-game onboarding and tutorials to learn its usage. Due to time and budget constraints, I elected to curate a game-specific heuristic analysis to catch errors (and inform decisions to design cuts). I completed the analysis in parallel with my research partner at GamesLab to make sure there was more than one pair of eyes on the study.

The team had been concerned that players wouldn't know where to go when given a path of rings to follow. Below, you can see how chaotic the pathway looked. There was no clear end point or direction to follow, and the difficulty spiked unpredictably between challenges. In addition, the wingsuit mechanics were unclear and instructions were vague.

Below: The original start of the wingsuit challenge. The mission was designed to take around 1 minute to complete, but I couldn't even finish it in three hours!

I provided a topline "5 biggest issues" and "5 solid wins" for the team alongside a complete report for their needs. Not even three days later the mission team followed up with me for a post-hoc review to see if I had any other feedback. They had implemented the suggestions that alleviated 99% of the observed problems!

Below: After the changes were implemented (and, of course, polished for release).

Afterward, onboarding was a breeze. Tutorials occurred in-context at the right time, the path from start to finish was clear, and difficulty progressed as players would expect over the course of the 5 challenges.

Usability Test for The Heist and the Hazardous

One of my junior UX Designers doubled as a Missions designer. While working with teams on the earliest DLC release "The Heist and the Hazardous," he expressed a need to conduct usability testing. This was informed by his suspicion that conveyance was inadequate, which would result in players becoming confused, misled, or frustrated when unable to discover where things were or what they did. I helped him run a week-long session of usability studies, the results of which he compiled into a concise report that our Senior Franchise Producer used to direct necessary changes.

Below: Screenshot from the report depicting moments where the Objective Indicator (OI) would be helpful, and conveyance issues repeatedly occurred.

Playtest for Doc Ketchum's Murder Circus

After the production team sent me a 15-page list of things they wanted to test for an upcoming mission (which I personally thought was awesome, but alas, there was only one Eevin), I worked with them to whittle their needs down to most urgent and highest impact: usability and some attitudinal variables. Time constraints and budget determined we would only have one shot at testing with users, so it had to be comprehensive. As such, we tested with an incomplete build and some lorem-ipsum placeholders. That was nothing new.

The results were enough to confirm changes to characters' narratives, move forward with lighting choices, and sculp the utility of the in-game store.

Aside from the research tactics, one of the primary challenges was ensuring that we conveyed that this release was an entirely different mode and completely separate from the main game; I made sure to ask about this, and users confirmed that it was very salient. Win!

Below: Screenshot of a slide from the playtest results presentation depicting successful clarity across multiple usability variables.

Usability Test for Dustfaire

Dustfaire was set to be the final Saints Row release ever, so we wanted to go out with a bang. Market research from Deep Silver indicated that players had really enjoyed the LARP segments of the main game, so the game designers developed a brand new district, huge narrative and dialogue style, and multiple side quests for this massive, seven-mission beast.

We got started on Dustfaire as early as we could; this time, the budget and critical team members' PTO were our primary limiting factors. Again, since there was only one Eevin, I prioritized usability testing to make sure players could do what they needed.

I had one week to conduct usability tests across these 7 missions, but only 3 were testable when the time came. In consulting the design team and producers, we concluded that we wanted more in-depth feedback for one mission at a time (as opposed to more shallow feedback across all three). So, we scheduled all Mission 1 participants for Monday, all Mission 2 participants for Tuesday, etc.

To expedite turnaround, I streamed the live session to the designers, writers, programmers, and producers, who volleyed between decisions in a separate Teams channel. I had coached them on appropriate questioning earlier on, so I was confident in allowing them to ask post-test questions as needed (and was impressed!).  

Below: Screenshot from one of the remote moderated usability tests I conducted for Dustfaire. Photo shared with permission.  

The studio was thrilled with the immediacy of the live-streamed usability tests; decisions were made quickly and with clarity, dev teams' energies were replenished, and everyone wanted more! The following week, I curated a series of tutorials and trained our Principal Game Designers on how to run internal playtests, which became a weekly occurrence thereafter. Ultimately, this led to higher-quality materials for the subsequent Dustfaire playtest and therefore enabled us to focus on longitudinal experiences.

Playtest for Dustfaire

With the usability tests under our belt, we recruited 30 players from our target audience to play through all 7 missions and answer questions about each. As predicted, there were additional bugs, usability issues, some accessibility problems, and a variety of polarized opinions.

Below: A high-level view of the affinity diagram analysis for each mission's free-response feedback.

Below: An example of the mission-specific report covering the primary variables of interest and my qualitative assessments.

Ideally, we would have conducted more tests to continuously evaluate whether the changes were in-line with users' needs, but we were at the end of the timeline. As far as I am aware, the teams made as many of the high-level changes as they could under massive time constraints.

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Dead Island 2

ROLE

UX Research Strategist & Analyst

AFFILIATION

Senior UX Researcher - Volition & PLAION GamesLab

CONTRIBUTIONS

Worked with stakeholders from Deep Silver Dambuster to identify and prioritize research needs; collaborated with Lead Researcher and Head of Analytics; developed surveys and participant instructions; analyzed user playtest and survey data; consulted on research insights.

IMPACT

Significantly improved first-hour user experience, including gameplay balance, pacing, usability, player appreciation, and brand trust.

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Payday 3

ROLE

UX Researcher

Affiliation

Senior UX Researcher - Volition & PLAION GamesLab

CONTRIBUTIONS

Collaborated with stakeholders from Starbreeze Studios; worked with Lead Researcher to design research strategy, methodology, and analysis of complex, repeated-measures playtests and focus groups early during alpha stage; designed and analyzed survey and focus group data.

IMPACT

Tested design decisions; informed design direction based on single-player vs co-op experience, player appreciation, and brand trust; identified key areas for improvement in usability and tutorialization for new users.

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Space Punks

ROLE

UX Researcher

AFFILIATION

Senior UX Researcher - Volition & PLAION GamesLab

CONTRIBUTIONS

Collaborated with research teammate at Flying Wild Hog to identify and prioritize stakeholder needs; developed surveys and participant instructions; conducted remote playtest via Parsec.

IMPACT

Improved usability issues in affordance, tutorialization, and onboarding for the first 3 missions.

EdTech & Learning Experience

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Cengage Learning

ROLE

UX & Learning Solutions Consultant

AFFILIATION

Freelance

CONTRIBUTIONS

Conducted evaluative research on the 2nd edition beta version of the MindTap e-learning platform. Interviewed student and instructional users to reveal pain points on interactive module features, user flow, analytics tracking, and usability of drag-and-drop mechanics. Proposed mock-ups and design suggestions ad-hoc.

IMPACT

Significant improvements to default configuration, user flow, and customizable features for instructors and student users.

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Pearson

ROLE

UX Consultant

AFFILIATION

Freelance

CONTRIBUTIONS

Provided expert analysis, heuristic analysis, and task analysis on Pearson’s MyLab & Mastering E-learning platform for 2 user personas.

IMPACT

Substantially increased user sign-ups and decreased customer support tickets.

Non-Profits

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involvemint.io

ROLE

UX/Web Design Consultant

AFFILIATION

Freelance

CONTRIBUTIONS

Created a CMS and style guide, standardized the CSS, and generated interaction designs for the website; created a CMS, reformatted classes, and diagnosed issue with a custom script.

IMPACT

Saved company $10,792 in 4 weeks, heightened visibility of call-to-actions on 4 web pages and provided technical web design training to developers & CEO.

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Code For America

ROLE

Lead UX Writer, Researcher

AFFILIATION

Freelance

CONTRIBUTIONS

Collaborated with a cross-disciplinary, distributed, remote team and LA's Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to design a responsive web resource with online data literacy modules for LA's citizens (Access the Data); guided research direction/analysis, optimized web copy, iteratively designed and tested a responsive website prototype; conducted Tree Tests and Card Sorts using Optimal Workshop to investigate the navigation and menu.

IMPACT

Significantly improved web usability, copy, and design system; standardized research protocols, materials, and scripts.

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Namwera Aids Coordinating Committee

ROLE

UX Research Consultant

AFFILIATION

Freelance

CONTRIBUTIONS

Performed a customized usability audit and heuristic analysis on the website; defined user needs and journey maps; suggested changes for WCAG 2.0 accessibility; proposed options to improve SEO and UX writing to better reach target audience (medical professionals, educators, and at-risk populations in Malawi); developed Figma prototype to guide designers in making website enhancements; Analyzed and recommended improvements for SEO, privacy & security, and WCAG 2.0 standards.

IMPACT

Saved the organization $7,000 in losses by boosting site traffic, accessibility, SEO, and content organization.

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Friends of Aphasia

ROLE

UX Consultant & Visual Designer

AFFILIATION

Freelance

CONTRIBUTIONS

Collaborated with CEO to redesign visual branding with a focus on visual accessibility for aphasiac clients; conducted literature reviews to inform content and copy font, color, size, and graphics organization; developed visual assets for brand and marketing.

IMPACT

Improved readability and acquisition of marketing content for targeted customer base; designs featured in a film, improving company's reach to global audiences.