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Hi, I'm Anya Osborne
Welcome to my portfolio!

Anya Osborne

As a UX designer and design researcher specializing in new media technologies, I'm passionate about creating cutting-edge user experiences that bring value to the future of work and gaming. With a Ph.D. Candidacy in Computational Media from the University of California Santa Cruz and a background in game design, psychology, and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) methodologies, I bring innovative research and development (R&D) strategies to emergent technologies and products for training, entertainment, and enterprise. With over 7 years of experience leading research projects and collaborating with cross-functional teams, as well as a decade of experience in the global games industry, I have a diverse skill set that enables me to create engaging and effective user experiences.


I am constantly exploring new frontiers in HCI, social computing, game design, R&D, and Virtual and Mixed Reality technology to build immersive virtual worlds that meet the evolving needs of users. I thrive on collaborating with like-minded individuals who are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of design and technology. Whether you are in academia or industry, if you share my passion for creating innovative user experiences that drive growth and impact, I would love to hear from you!

2022 -- Present

Lead VR/XR Design Scientist

This project, a cornerstone of my Ph.D. dissertation, revolutionizes VR/XR social affordances. As the Lead Design Scientist, I've orchestrated the creation of a unique VR meeting toolkit in Mozilla Hubs, introduced to academia and industry leaders through immersive workshops. These game-changing tools, designed to enhance conversation, emotion signaling, environment crafting, self-presentation, and time management, foster productive collaboration among remote and hybrid teams. The research findings are on the way. Discover more about this exciting project on our website below.

Anya Osborne XR Researcher

Social Superpower Tools in VR

VR XR Designer

2021 -- 2022

VR/XR Designer and Researcher

Our team created a VR environment that visualizes conversational dynamics for balanced remote communication in the Mozilla Hubs platform. The visualization is represented by elongated cylinders rising above speakers in real time. I adapted the study design, collaborated on the publication, and demonstrated the RtD prototype at CHI’22 Interactivity. The visualization, encouraging participation, was tested using a VR simulated Desert Survival Task. The project resulted in several top-tier conference publications and demonstrations.

Conversation VR Visualization

2019 -- 2021

Lead VR/XR Design Researcher

In the NSF-supported project "Being Social in VR Meetings," we explored seven commercial VR meeting applications to understand their shared social experiences and collaborative abilities. Using an autobiographical landscape research method, we documented our self-usage to gain insights into design choices. These insights are now informing our ongoing Research through Design work in social VR. We're leveraging these findings to create playful and creative augmentations for virtual meeting spaces, aiming to redefine what's possible in VR business meetings.

Anya Osborne VR/XR Designer and Researcher

Being Social in VR Meetings

Game Designer Anya Osborne

Avatar Systems in Social VR

2017 -- 2018

VR Design Researcher

In this project, I conducted a comprehensive study on the design practices for avatar systems in commercial social VR with creators of VR platforms. The research underscored the importance of avatar systems as the defining framework for user experience in social VR, highlighting the role of embodied locomotion, avatar aesthetics, personal space, social mechanics, and avatar's relation to virtual identity. The findings provide valuable insights into the relationship between design decisions, platform specifics, social contexts, and emerging design practices in shaping the embodied user experience in VR.

Game Designer Anya Osborne

World Of Riders: VR Exergame

Exergame Lab - MSU, East Lansing, MI

2015 -- 2016

Game Designer

World of Riders is my MA thesis project in serious game design,created in a team of two students, where I led the design process. This project was showcased in CHI Play and Meaningful Play conferences in 2016. It is an online multiplayer first-person exergame developed for mobile (iOS, Android) and virtual reality (Gear VR) platforms. Players compete and cooperate with other players to defeat the boss while completing their regular exercise routines on stationary cycle trainers. The gameplay is designed to simulate High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and support people's exercising routines.

Anya Kolesnichenko

Game Designer Anya Osborne

Game Designer Anya Osborne

Dreamy Food


Trained Food Classifier

Dreamy Food is a class project developed in a group of three students. The goal was to develop artifacts that appreciate art. Dreamy Food is based on the trained Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) of World of Warcraft (WoW) icons that generates new stylized art using the Google Deep Dream algorithm and Gradient Ascent. We then used a trained food classifier using the Inception V3 model and applied it to classify the resulting Deep Dreamed images of WoW art. The project shows that our algorithm can be employed for creating stylized images that can be viewed by the machine as food.

Game Designer Anya Osborne

Call Of Duty Black Ops 4
Call Of Duty Black Ops 4
Call Of Duty Black Ops 4
Call Of Duty Black Ops 4
Call Of Duty Black Ops 4
Call Of Duty Black Ops IIII


Systems Design Intern

Call Of Duty Black Ops 4 is a multiplayer first-person shooter, the first title released without a traditional single-player campaign mode. The multiplayer mode was the first in the series to not feature automatic health regeneration and introduced both predictive recoil and a new ballistics system. I was a System and UX Design Intern on this title. I translated game systems and gameplay user experience goals into intuitive UI to support and enhance the game's multiplayer experience. I designed game systems, conceptual wireframes, user flow diagrams, and low fidelity prototypes to communicate design concepts for further discussions and playtests purposes.

Manu Video Game Maker

MANU, Moscow, Russia

2020 – 2021

UX Researcher and Product Designer

MANU is a game engine software designed for people who want to create games with little coding experience. In MANU, I managed and conducted user research and usability tests, planned and implemented user research strategy and methods, led remote user recruitment activities. I worked closely with marketing and product teams to identify research topics. I performed task analysis, qualitative and quantitative analysis using SPSS. I translated research findings into actionable recommendations and assisted with product design by creating software UX/UI wireframes, mock-ups and prototypes using Figma.

Wireframe for VR menu EXP
Wireframe for the Web menu EXP
Saving Draggy

2015 - 2016

Game and UX Designer

Saving Draggy is a mobile third person adventure game for young children with lessons about financial literacy. A player is a wizard apprentice who goes on an adventure to save their missing friend (a baby dragon) by completing mini-games with both educational and entertainment content. My role on this project was to design a single player experience. In applying the research on children's stages for cognitive development, I designed the mini-games system, progression and wireframed the game flow. I also assisted with the design of user interface and narrative.

Game Design Class Project - MSU, East Lansing, MI


Game and UI Designer

DROp. is an Oculus Rift SDK I - powered, first person immersive space walk experience. Player explores asteroid fields and space wreckage in search of salvageable materials. Player’s main objective is to remove the debris by detonating a bomb. DROp was developed in a team of 6 people, where my primary role was designing and employing user interface for VR in Unity, as well as milestone planning, and facilitating the communication among team members.

ya Osborne VR Game Designer

Debris Removal Operation in VR
Love Quest: Board Game

Class Project - MSU, East Lansing, MI


Game System Designer

Love quest is a trivia based board game designed for couples. A player and his/her partner answers questions about each other to score points and move through five levels. A palyer and his/her partner needs to work together against the game. The objective is to raise the most points possible by the end of the game. It’s an ideal game for couples trying to go down the memory lane, couples wanting to learn more about each other, or need a good way to break the ice. I prototyped the game using the results of our design research study with people who were in romantic relationships.

Lady Popular Fashion Arena

Playvision, Ltd. - St. Petersburg, Russia

2014 -- 2013

Game Producer

Lady Popular is a browser-based, free-to-play, online multiplayer fashion game developed by the Bulgarian software company XS Software. In August 2012 Lady Popular Fashion Arena was released. Lady Popular is a casual dress-up game that aims primarily at a female audience. Lady Popular has been translated into 21 languages and has over 8 million registered users. At Playvision Ltd. my role was to manage the process of publishing and launching the game for the Russian-speaking consumer market.

Mushroom Wars

Creat Studios, Inc. - St. Petersburg, Russia


Associate Producer

Mushroom Wars is a fast-paced, accessible single and multiplayer RTS game with a quaint visual style that brings skirmish gameplay to the forefront. Battles of opposing tribes of Mushroom armies take place in close-quarters maps using simple, straight-forward controls against AI or friends. It is one of my favorite projects I worked on. My role was an Associate Producer, I prepared localization kits, coordinated work of 8 game language translations, help communications with publishing companies. I also conducted user research studies for further design and development of in-game events.

Nitro Nation: Drag Racing

Creative Mobile, OU - Tallinn, Estonia


UX Researcher and Designer

Drag Racing Nitro Nation 3D is a mobile game with very addictive mechanics. Players can play in the campaign mode or race against each other online in real time. My role on this project was to conduct user research study in order to identify the most attractive profiles of game's character to the game's target audience. Based on the results of the study, I developed psychological portraits for game's characters with reference pictures to be used as guidelines for character artists and designers.


  • Game Platforms: Consoles, Web, Mobile, PC, Oculus Rift, Gear VR, HTC Vive, Microsoft HoloLens.

  • Social VR Platfroms: Spatial, Glue, MeetinVR, Mozilla Hubs, VRChat, AltspaceVR, Rec Room, Facebook Horizon, High Fidelity, Anyland.

  • Programming (limited): Java, JavaScript, Python, HTML, C#

  • Web and Graphic Design: Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Creative Cloud), Figma, Sketch, InVision, Balsamiq Mockups, WordPress.

  • Game Development: Unity, Knowledge of Unreal, Game Maker Studio, Godot, Buildbox, Roblox, Dreams (PS4).

  • Software: MS Office, Qualtrics, Mailchimp, Knowledge of SPSS and statistical software.

  • Productivity and Communication: Microsoft Visio, Outlook, Notion, P4 (Perforce), Hansoft, JIRA, Basecamp, Trello, SCRUM, Slack.

  • Research Methods: Playtests, Research through Design, Heuristics, Focus Groups, In-depth Interviews, Diary methods, Surveys, Ethnography, Cards Selection, Task Analysis, Technology Probes, Theories from psychology for User Profiles.

  • Languages: English (fluent), Russian (native).


CHI PLAY Student Game Design Competition Certificate for (Samsung Gear VR), Austin, TX, USA, 2016
International Game Developers Association (IGDA) scholar at GDC, 2016
Muskie Summer Internship scholar, USA, 2016
Outstanding MA Student Leader Award, 2016
Fulbright student scholar, USA, 2014 – 2016
MI MA Academic Merit Award, Michigan State University, USA, 2015
Young Professionals in Foreign Policy Award, USA, 2012
Centre for German and European Studies Award in St. Petersburg, Russia, 2010
DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship, 2010


Raquel B Robinson, Anya Osborne, Chen Ji, James Collin Fey, Ella Dagan, and Katherine Isbister. 2024

"That's Not Good Science!": An Argument for the Thoughtful Use of Formative Situations in Research Through Design

In Extended Abstracts of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '24). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 545, 1–8.

Anya Osborne, Sabrina Fielder, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Timothy Lang, Max Kreminski, George ButlerJialang Victor Li, Diana R. Sanchez, and Katherine Isbister. 2023

Being Social in VR Meetings: A Landscape Analysis of Current Tools

In Proceedings of the 2023 on Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS '23), Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Jialang Victor Li, Max Kreminski, Sean M Fernandes, Anya Osborne, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, and Katherine Isbister. 2022

Conversation Balance: A Shared VR Visualization to Support Turn-taking in Meetings

In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstracts (CHI EA '22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 181, 1–4.

​Katherine Isbister, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Anya Osborne, and Jialang Victor Li. 2022

Augmenting Social Presence in VR Meetings

In Social Presence Workshop at the 2022 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '22), New Orleans, LA, USA, 1-4

Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Anya Osborne, Max Kreminski, Sean Fernandes, Sabrina Fielder, Victor Li, and Katherine Isbister. 2021

Social Superpowers in Social VR

In Social VR: A New Medium for Remote Communication & Collaboration 2021 Workshop in 2021 ACM CHI Virtual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: 1–5.

Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Anya Osborne, and Katherine Isbister. 2019

Shaping Pro-Social Interaction in VR: An Emerging Design Framework

In Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Paper 564, 12 pages

Anya Osborne, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, and Katherine Isbister. 2019

Understanding Emerging Design Practices for Avatar Systems in the Commercial Social VR Ecology

In Proceedings of the 2019 on Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS '19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 241-252

Chandranil Chakraborttii and Anya Osborne. 2023

Characterizing Surprising Reactions of Players in 2D Platform Games

In Entertainment Computing, 2023

Lucas Martins de Souza, Irem Gokce Yildirim, Anya Osborne, and Taiwoo Park. 2016

World Of Riders: Exercising is Fun

In Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play Companion Extended Abstracts (CHI PLAY Companion '16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 55-60


My Professional Journey

I received my BS and MS in psychology to better analyze human behavior, cognitive responses, and effects on user experiences within online virtual worlds. I practiced this knowledge at multiple game studios around the world. From working at Creat Studios, one of Russia’s leading publishers and developers of online, handled and console games, to Creative Mobile, the largest mobile game developer in Estonia; from conducting user research studies for the world’s biggest gaming site for children, Moshi Monsters at Mind Candy, Ltd. in London, UK, to producing my first FTP MMO game at Playvision Ltd. in St.Petersburg.


My professional interests and passion for interactive media granted me a Fulbright scholarship to pursue a Master of Arts degree in HCI and Game Design at Michigan State University and the opportunity to create user experiences for VR platforms. Upon my graduation from Michigan State, I moved to Los Angeles to continue my career in games and digital entertainment.


I want to apply my knowledge in creating new, unique, and immersive experiences. I also want to see these interactive systems successfully operate in real life and observe people appreciating them. I thrive most within teams of creative and dedicated people, I believe games and other computer-driven experiences are a medium to create positive emotions and feelings of social connection.


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