Associate Professor, Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, Communication Arts

Lennart NackeLennart Nacke is an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo, Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business. He is the director of the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Games Group at the Games Institute of the University of Waterloo. He is well known for his pioneering research on physiological evaluation and interaction in video games and his ground-breaking gamification research, forming a new HCI research field. He has also edited a book on Games User Research published by Oxford University Press in 2018, which is one of the most robust treatments of the topic of user experience research in games. He teaches courses about user experience, game design, and academic writing on his website The Acagamic.

Courses taught

  • (UX) User Experience Fundamentals and User Research
  • Introduction to Game Design
  • Design and User Experience of Games

Research and teaching interests

Gamification: Involves the use of game design principles in systems that primarily support non-game tasks, with the goal of increasing fun, engagement and motivation. Dr. Nacke has been involved in the definition of the term and leading the academic movement in workshop and conference settings. His students have created several games that were deployed outside of gaming contexts, such as finance, social networks, and fitness.

Games user research: Developing new methods and tools for improving player testing and user research in games and entertainment systems. Dr. Nacke works closely together with the International Game Developers Association Special Interest Group on Games User Research and he has served on their steering committee in the past.

Games for human health and fitness: Making sports, physiological exercise, and health applications more playful has become one of Dr. Nacke's recent research focus areas, especially in light of the recent increase in sensor use and the quantified self movement. As part of this, he has investigated how to foster healthy habits, such as sticking to a fitness routines and engaging older adults with technology. His students have developed their own apps and his research team has worked with companies such as Ayogo Health, Inc. in Vancouver, British Columbia, to analyze social health games on Facebook. A recent Engage grant with Vintage Fitness in Toronto supported a project to develop a gamified online fitness service to keep older adults fit and healthy. 

HCI for games: Finding novel sensors and interaction paradigms that drive the manner in which we interact with computers in a meaningful
and engaging way.

Affective gaming: Research using psychophysiological analysis and physiological sensors to track player sentiments when gauging engagement, cognition and player emotions.

Social relationship-building games: Developing games and installations that can be used in public spaces to build relationships and foster social interaction in groups.

Select publications

Nacke, L.. (2013). An Introduction to Physiological Player Metrics for Evaluating Games. In Seif El-Nasr, M., Drachen, A., & Canossa, A. (Eds.), In Game Analytics (pp. 585-619). Springer London. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4471-4769-5_26

Mirza-Babaei, P., Nacke, L. E., Gregory, J., Collins, N., & Fitzpatrick, G.. (2013). How does it play better?: exploring user testing and biometric storyboards in games user research. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1499-1508. DOI: 10.1145/2470654.2466200

Robb, J., Garner, T., Collins, K., & Nacke, L. E. (2017). The impact of health-related user interface sounds on player experience. Simulation & Gaming, 48(3), 402-427.

Nacke, L. E., & Deterding, S. (2017). The maturing of gamification research. Computers in Human Behavior, Vol. 71, pp.450-454. 

Dennis L. Kappen and Lennart E. Nacke. 2013. The kaleidoscope of effective gamification: deconstructing gamification in business applications. In Proceedings of the First International Conference on Gameful Design, Research, and Applications (Gamification '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 119-122. DOI=10.1145/2583008.2583029

Sebastian Deterding, Dan Dixon, Rilla Khaled, and Lennart Nacke. 2011. From game design elements to gamefulness: defining "gamification". In Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments (MindTrek '11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 9-15. DOI=10.1145/2181037.2181040

Contact Information

Extension: 47822

Office: ML 239


Lennart's department profile

Lennart's Stratford campus profile

For more information, please see Dr. Nacke's HCI Games Group and his publications.

University of Waterloo

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