Improve User Experience | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

Improve User Experience

Tourists looking at map and taking photo

PhD candidate Ye (Sandy) Shen is helping improve user experience in the tourism industry by researching gamification and its future development.

Gamification is the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts. This design technique uses game mechanics – such as points, challenges, rewards or badges – and applies it to non-game contexts such as the workplace, marketing materials or tourism brochures.

U of G PhD candidate Sandy Shen is using her research to investigate what motivates users to use a gamified context, and how gamification can be effectively used to boost user experience in the tourism and hospitality industry.

“By understanding what motivates people to use gamified contexts, designers can better understand why and how they can create more engaging contexts.”



Awards and Honours

  • Ontario Trillium Scholarship (2014-2018)
  • PhD Scholarship, School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management (2014-2018)
  • Best Visual Paper, TTRA International Conference (2018)
  • First Place in the 3-Minute Thesis Competition, College of Business and Economics, U of G (2018)
  • National Scholarship, Ministry of Education, China (2009, 2012)


  • PhD Candidate, Management, School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management, University of Guelph
  • MSc Geography, Peking University (specialization: Tourism Planning)
  • BBA Tourism Management, Southeast University
  • Previously a consultant at the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design

Research Interests

  • Travel behaviour
  • Tourism marketing
  • Tourism experience
  • Destination management