After promising to point some references for masters thesis at goth party some time ago. I got thesis couple of days ago, in which Arttu Reinikainen looks at a role-playing game system, from the perspective of usability. The perspective is fresh and welcomed.
While I am not really buying the immersion and flow link to role-playing experience (I have presented some objections against the concept of immersion at Playing Roles seminar), the took on usability heuristics and focus groups seems mainly to be sound (I must note that haven’t played D&D 3.5, only briefly browsed the rules).
Reinikainen, A. (2008). Role-Playing Games and Usability. Masters Thesis. University of Tampere, http://tutkielmat.uta.fi/tutkielma.phtml?id=18273.