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Xbox Research

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Randy Pagulayan, Director of User Research
Tom Lorusso, Senior User Research Lead
Daniel V. Gunn, Senior Research Operations Lead
Chuck Harrison, Senior User Researcher
Tracey Sellar Fuller, Senior User Research Lead
Deborah Hendersen, Senior User Research Lead
Carl Anselmi, Senior Research Lab Ops PM
Jerome Hagen, Senior User Researcher
Bruce Phillips, Senior User Researcher
JJ Guajardo, Senior User Researcher
Todd A. Kelley, User Researcher
Chris LeFeaver, User Research Lead (Vancouver)

Aaron Fulmer, Research Operations PM
Lauren White, User Researcher
Fawn Ellis, Senior Researcher
Deanne Adams, User Researcher
Jess M. Thomas, User Researcher
Melissa Boone, User Researcher
Joe Chisholm, User Researcher
Melissa DeWolf, User Researcher
Jonathan M. Ehrich, User Researcher
Andrew Sahalie, User Researcher
Sylvia Olveda, Senior User Researcher


Randy Pagulayan, PhD

Director of User Research

Randy Pagulayan is one of the first pioneers of the games user research discipline. He leads a team at the forefront of interactive entertainment experiences and is a member of the Microsoft User Experience Leadership team. At Microsoft, Randy has led user research efforts on numerous blockbuster video games and top tier franchises, including Age of Empires and Halo. He has also co-authored book chapters on user-centered design in games and testing methodologies, given numerous talks and keynotes internationally, been featured in a cover story in Wired (Halo 3: How Microsoft Labs Invented a New Science of Play, Sept, 2007), interviewed on National Public Radio, and, most recently, was part of the OXM feature, The Xbox Science Machine (Official Xbox Magazine, May 2014).

Before joining Microsoft, Randy was part of the Human Factors Group at Motorola, and has been published in several scientific journals, including Journal of Experimental Psychology, Brain Research Bulletin, and Human Movement Science. Randy has a BA in Psychology from the University of Maryland, and a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Cincinnati.

Tom Lorusso, MA

Senior User Research Lead

Tom Lorusso is a Senior User Research Lead at Microsoft focused on Xbox and gaming across Windows products and devices. Tom has been working in games for over 7 years, with 15 years in the user research field on phones, operating systems and portable ultrasound. Tom and his Xbox Experiences team tackle a variety of research questions in social gaming, community, monetization, communication, cross-platform gaming, video consumption, accessibility, and inclusivity.

Chuck Harrison, MA

Senior User Research Lead

Chuck Harrison is a user researcher that joined Xbox Research in 2005. During his Xbox Research tenure, Chuck has helped ship some of Xbox Live Arcade’s most successful titles, some web-based games, and retail hits such as Halo Wars, Alan Wake, and Gears of War.

Chuck has 20 years of user research experience ranging from consumer products to back office and business applications. Before joining Microsoft, Chuck worked at several other high-tech companies such as Siebel, BMC, Intel, Netscape, and Amazon. Over the years, Chuck has presented research at several Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and game-related conferences and has published research focused articles and book chapters. Chuck has a BS in Human Factors from the University of Idaho, an MA in Engineering Psychology from New Mexico State University, and an MBA from the University of Houston.

In his off hours, Chuck spends his time with his wife and four boys, running, snowboarding, coaching youth wrestling, playing various team sports, and of course – “researching” games.

Tracey Sellar Fuller

Senior User Research Lead

Tracey Sellar Fuller is a Senior User Research Lead at Microsoft Studios. She has managed or led user research for numerous franchises, including Minecraft, Halo, Gears of War, Forza, Fable, Crackdown, Age of Empires, Microsoft Flight, Solitaire, and Kinect Sports. She established Xbox Research’s international qualitative research program, and currently leads cross-organizational audience research for Gaming for Everyone.

Before joining Microsoft, Tracey was the founder and Director of the User Experience Lab, a games user research consultancy based in New Zealand. Tracey also has an extensive user research background in websites, productivity software, videoconferencing systems, and large interactive display technologies. Prior to getting into technology, she ran a dance company, worked as a professional dancer, and held various roles in the arts industry.

Tracey completed three years of her PhD, exploring new research strategies and methods for evaluating game user experience. She also holds a Bachelor of Business (Honors) in Information Technology, a Diploma in Contemporary Dance, and a Black Tab in Karate. In her spare time, she runs after twin toddlers, collects mid-century modern furniture and contemporary art, and enjoys boxing.

Daniel V. Gunn, PhD

Senior Research Operations Lead

Daniel V. Gunn is a Senior User Research Operations Lead within Xbox Research. His team is responsible for driving the Tech & Facilities, People & Process, and Tools & Infrastructure that empower User Researchers to carry out world-class User Research. Daniel’s background is firmly seated in psychological research methods, statistics, and human behavior. In fact, he has taught several college psychology courses on the topics – Research Methods in Psychology, Statistics, and Psychology of Learning. Daniel received his PhD in Experimental Psychology with an emphasis in Human Factors from the University of Cincinnati (UC) in 2002.

Daniel has presented at several Human Factors related conferences and has published in the American Journal of Psychology as well as Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. In addition, he has co-authored articles and book chapters on the methodologies utilized within Xbox Research to improve games in development. His title work at Microsoft Studios has been on the Forza Motorsport series as well as PC titles such as Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends and Viva Piñata PC.

Daniel’s favorite foods have remained relatively stable over the past 3 decades: pizza, macaroni and cheese, and ice cream. In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with his wife and two sons, playing his guitar, playing games, and watching movies.

Deborah Hendersen, PhD

Senior User Research Lead

Deborah Hendersen is interested in what people do with their minds for fun, which for her falls into two general categories: narratives & gaming. She earned a BA at Reed College after waiting till the last possible second to declare for Psychology (rather than English), swayed by the thrill of falsifiability. She then moved to Stanford University where she earned a PhD in Cognitive Psychology, asking such questions as: Does it matter if the book you are reading is fiction or nonfiction? (Yes.) Why don’t adults have imaginary friends? (Never mind, they do.) And, why are kids afraid of monsters under the bed, even when they know they are imaginary? (A lack of inhibitory control.)

She joined Xbox Research in January of 2011, and has worked on games as varied as Double Fine’s Happy Action Theater, Undead Lab’s State of Decay, and Crytek’s Ryse: Son of Rome. She is interested in the development of new methods and has presented on how to best test with kids as young as three (Gamefest, 2011), and has generated and discussed new methods for testing game narrative at both GDC (2014) and the GUR Summit (2014). Most recently she presented at PAX Prime 2014 (the “One Weird Trick” panel), and was at SIEGE in October, 2014.

Carl Anselmi

Senior Research Lab Ops PM

Carl Anselmi has been part of Usability support at Microsoft since 1996 playing a primary role in the build, operations, and support of the Xbox Research labs. He joined Xbox Research (Studios User Research) in 2002 to support the labs and has been involved in managing them ever since. In 2008, he officially joined the Xbox Research team to manage the lab business as well as build out several of their new testing facilities on the Studios West campus. His responsibilities include overseeing the various facilities and adapting new technologies to help improve and grow the Research business that are state of the art in the User Research community. He is involved in driving new test technologies and environments and continues to push the limits of testing support that is required by a mature User Research team.

Jerome Hagen

Senior User Researcher

Jerome Hagen started working on the research team all the way back in the pre-Xbox, pre-broadband days of 1998. He has led research on game franchises including Minecraft, Halo, Fable, Crackdown, Project Gotham Racing, Phantom Dust, and Kinect Sports. He has a background in social/cognitive psychology and loves the intersection of science, the arts, and an understanding of what it means to be human. He has led Team Xbox LGBTQ and is part of Xbox's focus on Gaming for Everyone to help make Xbox a place where everyone is welcome, respected, and supported.

Bruce Phillips, PhD

Senior User Researcher

Bruce Phillips joined Xbox Research in 2001 and has worked on a wide variety of games and franchises. In recent years, Bruce has been particularly interested in counting things, visualizing things, and applying machine learning to software development. Prior to Microsoft, Bruce received a BA in Psychology from Carleton University and a PhD from the University of Victoria. It’s all been cake and hand grenades.

JJ Guajardo, PhD

Senior User Researcher

JJ Guajardo has over 14 years of experience as a User Researcher. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Northwestern University, he received his PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of Chicago in 2002. Immediately after, JJ came to Microsoft to work on Xbox games as a vendor for a year. Following his stint in the gaming world, he worked with a number of products at Microsoft, including Encarta and Office for Mac. From 2007-2009, JJ lived and worked in Copenhagen, Denmark, conducting user research for Microsoft Dynamics. In 2009, he returned to the US and spent 2 years working in the Windows design and research group. But in 2011, the sweet voice of the gaming world called him back to Xbox Research. Since his return, JJ's worked on a number of kid-focused products and non-game entertainment efforts. He currently supports the Turn 10 franchise, working on the latest versions of the premier racing titles Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon.

Todd A. Kelley, PhD

User Researcher

Todd Kelley joined the team in 2012, coming from the academic world where he studied attention and perception using fMRI, EEG, and TMS. Shortly after joining the group, he began working on studies of latency perception, eye tracking, and biometrics. He led the refinement of the group’s eye tracking methods, making it suitable for large scale studies with quick turnaround. He has also led the UR efforts on Dead Rising 3, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Dead Rising 4, and helped with Sunset Overdrive. Todd is especially proud of how RotTR made extensive use of the narrative testing techniques pioneered by this team.

Todd is a lifelong gamer of all types and will spend a good half hour talking about his all-time favorite games should you ask. He'll also happily get into extended conversations about music.

Chris LeFeaver, MSc

User Research Lead (Vancouver)

Chris LeFeaver joined Xbox Research in 2013 to lead the user research activities for Microsoft’s Vancouver Studios. His initial work focused on Big Park Studio’s Xbox One TV and App experiences, including the NFL, ESPN, Bonnaroo apps.

With Microsoft’s acquisition of the Gears of War franchise he became the lead user researcher for the Coalition and was responsible for both GOW: Ultimate Edition and GOW 4. His passion projects over the last couple of years have focused on integrating telemetry into playtests, formalizing internal feedback channels to remove inherent bias and using fast turnaround usability testing to provide more immediate and deep insights.

Prior to joining Microsoft, he worked for Sony Playstation where he helped build and define their European and American UR teams and processes. Chris graduated with an MSc in Human Factors and Ergonomics from Nottingham University in 2006. He subsequently worked at a user experience agency in London where he conducted user research and design for webpages, mobile phones, and console games.

In his spare time, he is an avid consumer of all kinds of games. Board games, poker, and League of Legends ranking as his favourites.

Aaron Fulmer

Research Operations PM

After stints in sales, personal finance, operations for an SEO start-up, and owning/operating a business, Aaron joined Xbox Research as a Project Manager in early 2010. His first role within the team focused on process improvement, project planning and staff management in and around the playtest environment. Since then, his responsibilities have grown across the Windows & Devices Group to include cross-business partnership management, operational cost tracking and process efficiencies, managed service delivery, strategy planning – and really anything else needed in partnership with the Xbox and WDG Research & Intelligence LT to help develop and drive robust Research Operations solutions. As the business demands for research continue to grow and evolve so do the operational considerations in and around them. Aaron is here to help ensure that things run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Aaron has a BA in Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University, where he finished an 18-year baseball career. He loves being an uncle, anything to do with music, food, drinks, sports and good company.

Lauren White, PhD

User Researcher

Lauren White joined Microsoft in early 2015. Before that, she was sharpening her skills as a user researcher with consumer products. She has a BA in psychology from Reed College, and a PhD in media psychology from Fielding Graduate University. She is currently working on the Xbox platform shell with a focus on UX experiences and accessibility. When not working, she's gardening or looking up at space and wondering when we'll get to Mars.

Fawn Ellis, MA

Senior Researcher

Fawn Ellis holds a Masters of Arts from Parsons School of Design and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, where she studied material culture and how society and politics affect design. She also attended Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands where she worked on her Masters in Science in Interaction Design and Behavioral Psychology. It was here where she began studying the question, what is needed to develop and build a healthy human relationship between humans and how does this translate to digital technology and services?

For nearly a decade, Fawn has helped global companies and startups understand and solve big problems, such as healthcare, finance, insurance, shopping and now gaming platform.

Fawn’s history is extensive and diverse spanning from digital and physical goods to services. She has worked as a researcher and strategist for founding leaders in experience design and strategy, such as the renowned experience design and strategy consultancy Adaptive Path; award winning physical home goods company OXO good grips (think.. rubber handled kitchen tools) and GE Healthcare, where she worked on 3D imaging and monitoring products.

Deanne Adams, PhD

User Researcher

Deanne Adams received her PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara in the Spring of 2013.  Her research areas included multimedia learning, educational games, cognitive tutors, and spatial cognition.  She spent a year at Vanderbilt University working on an educational game aimed to teach Newton’s Laws of Motion to middle school kids.  She then switched gears while working at the University of Notre Dame to examine the effects of stress on navigation in virtual environments.

Deanne enjoys playing tabletop games including an ongoing (5 year) long distance series of Dungeons and Dragons campaigns.  She also is an avid fantasy reader which is possibly due to being married to a librarian who constantly has book recommendations.

Jess M. Thomas, PhD

User Researcher

Jessie Thomas joined Xbox Research in the summer of 2015 and since then has worked on several titles including Killer Instinct and Microsoft Solitaire Collection. She currently is part of the UR team for 343 as well as a member of the Design Intelligence group where she focuses on making pretty maps of in-game player activity.

Prior to joining the team, Jessie earned her degree in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan and her PhD in Cognitive and Perceptual Psychology from the University of Washington where she focused of making pretty maps of in-brain neural activity.

She loves all things music related and often forgets people can still hear her singing when she wears headphones.

Melissa Boone, PhD

User Researcher

Melissa joined Xbox Research in the summer of 2015. After earning her BA in psychology from Spelman College in 2008, Melissa went on to complete her PhD in social psychology and public health from Columbia University, where she studied how people's social interactions influenced their risk for HIV and drug abuse. She also did a stint conducting market research in video games, which inspired her to make the leap to the games world.

Currently, Melissa conducts research across the Minecraft franchise; she also investigates diversity and inclusion across Xbox's games and experiences contributing to the Games For Everyone initiative. In her free time Melissa enjoys hiking, tabletop games, reading fantasy novels and - of course - playing video games.

Joe Chisholm, PhD

User Researcher

Joe Chisholm is a user researcher who joined our London, UK-based Xbox Research in 2015 and was then moved to Redmond HQ in the summer of 2016. Prior to joining Xbox Research, he completed a PhD in Cognitive Science at the University of British Columbia, where he studied the cognitive benefits associated with video game experience and how games can be used to study cognitive processes. He continued this line of research as a postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University where he also worked on the development and evaluation of a series of brain training games aimed at improving cognitive function.

Joe spends much of his free time with his wife and two daughters, who are enjoying being back in the Pacific Northwest. He also enjoys playing and talking about all kinds of games, both video and tabletop, consuming movies, tv, books, and comics, especially anything fantasy or super-hero/villain related, and, to further perpetuate a Canadian stereotype, he is a big hockey fan.

Melissa DeWolf, PhD

User Researcher

Melissa DeWolf joined Xbox Research in the summer of 2016. She earned a BS in Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012. She went on to study Cognitive Psychology at University of California, Los Angeles and earned her PhD in 2016. Her graduate work focused on understanding how people learn about and represent different things. This mostly centered on piecing together how people learn different aspects of math like fractions and algebra.

Melissa and her husband love spending copious amounts of time with their dog, Jeter. This includes watching sporting events, talking long walks and exploring Washington.

Jonathan M. Ehrich, PhD

User Researcher

Jonathan M. Ehrich joined Xbox Research in 2016 after earning his PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Washington. His dissertation focused on understanding how stress increases the rewarding effects of addictive drugs, leaving him perfectly placed to transition into games research. At Microsoft, he has worked on UR for Dead Rising 4 & Crackdown 3. Away from Microsoft, he has worked to bring the Synaptic Aquarium, an LED-driven model of neural network interactions, to Burning Man, while also spending his summers working with his award-winning competitive sketch comedy team.

Andrew Sahalie, EdM

User Researcher

Andrew Sahalie joined Xbox Research in 2017 after working as a data scientist at a small science-based app-development company. Prior to that, he conducted education research for 11 years from a variety of approaches focusing on a variety of cultures.

His interest in Xbox stems from a long-time fascination with the strange ways in which people interact with technology and each other. Xbox is the perfect platform for people to play and interact, giving Andrew endless access to fun opportunities and great researchers.

Andrew has an EdM in human development and psychology from Harvard University and a BSEd in secondary education/physical sciences from the University of Idaho. He spends most of his free time in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness near Seattle.

Sylvia Olveda

Senior User Researcher

Sylvia has over 15 years of industry experience and received her education at Stanford University with a focus in Social Psychology and Human Computer Interaction. During this time, her first UX research jobs included early eye-tracking studies on how people read online news (Poynter/Stanford), how people search on portal sites (Oracle/Stanford), people’s perceptions on web security (NSF/Stanford) and working at Softbook Press, a startup that introduced one of the first e-book readers.

Sylvia then moved to Seattle and joined the Xbox Research team in 2002, learned many best practices, built great working relationships and had many fun times. She then spent 7 years at Amazon focused on many major features helping introduce many Community features, Prime, digital products (Kindle, Video and Music), Clothing, and subsidiary sites (Fresh, Endless). Moving on to Nordstrom, she spent 4 years introducing new processes, building research labs and focused on creating seamless cross-channel experiences, introducing innovative in-store experiences and developing new measurement strategies for in-store pilots. She then moved on to support Target’s Innovation teams building new in-store experiences and evaluating potential startups.

She recently returned to the Xbox Research team in January 2017 and is focused on improving the Xbox Live and social experiences. Outside of work, she loves going to see live music, spending time with her husband and boxer dog, Tela, gardening in her local community garden and constantly learning and gaining new skills.





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