Charlene Jennett

Location: Room 8.18
University College London
Malet Place Engineering Building (8th Floor)
Gower Street, London

Telephone: +44 020 7679 0692 (x30692)

Email: charlene.jennett@ucl.ac.uk

Charlene Jennett portrait

User Experience of Digital Leisure Technologies

In my research I aim to understand people’s experiences with digital leisure. I define digital leisure as any leisure activity that utilizes technology. My research questions include:

  • What does a positive experience with a technology (e.g. immersion) look like? How can we measure this experience?
  • What factors attract a person to take on a new technology? Which factors put them off?
  • How do game mechanisms affect people’s motivations to keep playing/ keep using an online service?
  • How can we design citizen science projects to sustain people’s motivations for longer?


During my PhD research at UCLIC, I investigated people’s immersive experiences playing video games. I designed the Immersive Experience Questionnaire (IEQ), a questionnaire that can be used by researchers to quantify immersive experiences (Jennett et al., 2008). In our journal paper we explain how the questionnaire was created and validated; it has received over 300 citations to date.

Privacy and Trust

During my first Post-doc at UCL Info-Sec, I investigated privacy and trust issues that affected whether a person chose to use an online service. In 2012 our conference paper “Too close for comfort” was awarded a CHI honourable mention; this is awarded to the top 5% of CHI submissions. We explain that the more personalized a targeted advert is (e.g. using the person’s name, photo), the more likely it is to be noticed, but also the more uncomfortable the person felt (Malheiros et al., 2012). We argue that this finding is an important tradeoff that social networking sites should consider as they are starting to use increasingly more personalized ads.

Citizen Science

Currently, in my second Post-doc at UCLIC, I am investigating motivations for participating in citizen science projects. Citizen science is a type of crowd-sourcing, where volunteers (‘citizen scientists’) collaborate with professional scientists to conduct scientific research. By utilizing the Internet, allowing volunteers to participate via a website or a mobile app, there is potential for scientists to recruit the help of many volunteers. However there is also the added challenge of coordinating work and keeping volunteers motivated, as the volunteers and scientists have very little face-to-face interaction.

Working on the Citizen Cyberlab project, I have co-authored several conference papers about citizen science so far, including two CHI papers. In Iacovides et al. (2013) we explain that people do not choose to join a citizen science game because they like games, but because they have an intrinsic interest in the topic. This finding is useful for researchers thinking about gamifying their citizen science project, as it highlights that game mechanisms should be thought of as a way to sustain the attention of interested volunteers, and not as a way of attracting gamers to volunteer.

In Eveleigh et al. (2014) we explore the complex relationship between motivations and contribution. While high contributors were deeply engaged by social or competitive features, low contributors described a solitary experience of ‘dabbling’ in projects for short periods. We argue that since the majority of participants exhibit this small-scale contribution pattern, there is great potential value in designing interfaces to tempt lone workers to complete ‘just another page’ or to lure early drop-outs back into participation.

If you would like to find out more about my research then please check out my publications. You can also follow me on Twitter @CharleneJennett


Click here to visit our HCI-games website, where you can download our Immersive Experience Questionnaire (IEQ) with score sheet.

Click here to download the Old Weather survey, which is referenced in our CHI paper by Eveleigh et al. (2014): Designing for Dabblers and Deterring Drop-outs in Citizen Science.

Research Publications

Retrieving data...

News Articles

Is sending shoppers ads by Bluetooth just a bit creepy? October 17, 2014. The Conversation.

The gamer in your life isn't ignoring you, they're blind to your presence. June 19, 2014. The Conversation.

Blog Posts

Redwire at CHI Play 2014. October 30, 2014. Citizen Cyberlab blog.

Dabblers and MOODs at CHI 2014. May 23, 2014. Citizen Cyberlab blog.

'Designing with the Volunteer in Mind' workshop. March 6, 2014. Citizen Cyberlab blog.

A one world web? How new technologies are adapting to different cultures. February 24, 2014. Citizen Cyberlab blog.

Learning from our experience. October 17, 2013. Old Weather blog.

Motivations and Engagement in Citizen Science. September 15, 2013. Extreme Citizen Science blog.

Conference Posters

Redwire: A novel way to create and re-mix games. Presented at CHI Play 2014, October 19-22, Toronto, Canada.

Gamification in Citizen Cyberscience: Projects in Particle Physics and Synthetic Biology. Presented at Gamification 2013, October 2-4, Stratford, Canada.

Do games attract or sustain engagement in citizen science? A study of volunteers' motivations. Presented at CHI 2013, 27 April-2 May, Paris, France.

Conference Presentation Slides

8 Guidelines for Designing Virtual Citizen Science Projects. Presented at 'Citizen + X' workshop, HCOMP 2014, Nov 2, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In the MOOD for Citizen Psych-Science. Presented at the Citizen Cyberscience Summit 2014. Feb 20, London, UK.

Citizen Science: Beyond the Ivory Tower. Presented at 'A one world web? How new technologies are adapting to different culture' lunchtime lecture, UCL Diversity Month 2014. Feb 5, London, UK.

"I want to be a Captain! I want to be a Captain!" Gamification in the Old Weather Citizen Science Project. Presented at Gamification 2013, October 4, Stratford, Canada.

Creativity in Citizen Cyberscience: All for One and One for All. Presented at 'Creativity and Attention in the Age of the Web' workshop, ACM WebSci 2013, May 1, Paris, France.

Sociability in Virtual Citizen Science. Presented at 'Designing and Evaluating Sociability in Video Games' workshop, CHI 2013, April 28, Paris, France.

Special Appearances (Spot me if you can!)

A Day in the UCLIC Lab. ACM Interactions Magazine, page 84. November-December 2013.

Gamification 2013 Conference Highlights. University of Waterloo Stratford Campus. October 4, 2013.

Page last modified on 14 may 13 17:11 by Charlene I Jennett