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Heather Desurvire, B.S., M.S.

Part-Time Lecturer

Affiliated Divisions:

Interactive Media & Games Division

Work Phone: 213.821.4472

Heather Desurvire, Owner and Principal of the Game User Research company, Behavioristics, Inc., is one of the foremost specialists on Usability/Playability research for games and interactive media; Adjunct Professor in Game Design at USC, School of Cinematic Arts, Los Angeles, California.

Her published work on usability methodology has been presented at the prestigious CHI (Computer Human Interaction) conference in 1991, published in Jakob Nielsen’s seminal work on Usability Inspection Methods (1992), and her original research on evaluating games for fun, evaluating multiplayer games, and assisting game developers to create games with easier access for casual gamers (CHI 04’, 06’, 08’). Her work on Accessibility for games has been published in 2010 at the conferences: CHI, INTERACT, HCI, and IEEE (best paper award), as well as the 2010 book published by Springer, "Evaluating User Experience in Games".   She is on the board of directors of the IGDA group, Game User Research.  She co-chaired the second annual Summit for Game User Research, held at GDC 2011.

As a practitioner, Desurvire’s clients benefit from her great wealth of knowledge and experience with approachability, usability and creating optimal UX with many of the top Fortune 100 companies such as Microsoft, United Airlines, Citibank, AOL , Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and top game publishers including Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, Blizzard, THQ, Sega, LucasArts, Sega, Relic, Kaos and many more.  She also serves as an Expert Witness on games. Ms. Desurvire is delighted to be a part of the faculty at USC and to help the design students how to make games more fun, through best practices and methods, as well as becoming sensitized to what optimizes the players’ experience.

Ms. Desurvire is often asked to speak and teach workshops, most recently for the game companies, Ubisoft, Paris Game Connection, and Science Alberta.    She has recently been asked to guest speak at the InPlay conference, Toronto 2011 and the Big Design Conference, Dallas 2011.