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Designing Public Play: Playful Engagement, Constructed Activity, and Player Experience
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media, Human-Computer Interaction.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9324-1994
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis sets out to explore why people engage in, and how to design for, play in a public setting. It does this by separating design for play from design of games, describing play as a socially and mentally understood activity, and a playful approach to engaging in that activity. It emphasises that while play is voluntary, design can help shape the players’ mode of engagement.

The thesis uses a qualitative and inductive approach to research, with an understanding of knowledge as being constructed in the individual. The research is grounded in human computer interaction and interaction design, and closely related to game studies and design science.

The research question concerns how design can influence the player activity in order to create a desired player experience in public, by harnessing playful engagement. It’s foundation is a theory of play which describes play as a framed, or hedged-off, activity with a fragile border; where knowledge and feelings can leak both in and out of the activity, and affect the play as well as what is around it. The theory of enjoyment of play is discussed, and the problem of treating this as ‘fun’ is addressed, concluding in a presentation of how playful engagement can be harnessed through design.

The theory is applied in five design cases: I’m Your Body, a locative storytelling app; Codename Heroes, a pervasive game of personal empowerment; Passing On, a slow-paced game about communication; Busking Studies, which involves observing street performers and their shows; and DigiFys, an architectural design exploration of playgrounds and play paths.

Finally, three concepts, or design tools, are presented, which address: 1) a structure for understanding a design through three layers, constructs designed by the designer, inspiring play activity with the player, leading to experience; 2) an approach to designing invitations to play; and finally 3), a four faceted structure for understanding play engagement when players engage in non intended ways.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Institutionen för informatik och media , 2016. , 94 p.
Series
Uppsala Studies in Human-Computer Interaction, 2
Keyword [en]
design, public, play, playful, playfulness, game, activity, experience, second order design, engage, engagement, fun, magic circle, brink games, pervasive games, place, space, co-creativity, empowerment, game jam, busking, street performance, playground
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Research subject
Human-Computer Interaction
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-268060ISBN: 978-91-506-2495-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-268060DiVA: diva2:876519
Public defence
2016-02-05, Hörsal 2, Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10 A, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-01-13 Created: 2015-12-02 Last updated: 2016-01-28
List of papers
1. Playing with Structure: An Analytic Model of Transformative Play
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Playing with Structure: An Analytic Model of Transformative Play
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-268059 (URN)
Available from: 2015-12-02 Created: 2015-12-02 Last updated: 2016-04-05
2. Designing an Audience in the Streets
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Designing an Audience in the Streets
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Human Computer Interaction Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-268058 (URN)
Available from: 2015-12-02 Created: 2015-12-02 Last updated: 2016-05-04
3. Designing for Children's Outdoor Play
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Designing for Children's Outdoor Play
Show others...
2016 (English)In: Proceedings Of The 2016 ACM Conference On Designing Interactive Systems, 2016, 28-38 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Children's outdoor play is fluent and fluctuating, shaped by environmental features and conditions. The article reports on a project where interaction designers and landscape architects work together to fuse their knowledge into working solutions for integrating interactive play in outdoor environments. We report on a schoolyard trial, where interactive play technology was installed as an integral part of a schoolyard environment, and discuss the interplay between technology and the environment that was partly natural forest and partly constructed playground. We highlight in particular the importance of the adaptability of the natural environment, how the combination of interactive technology and natural environment can contribute to the versatility of play activities, and how the interactive technology can both be useful for presenting invitations to play in such adaptable places, and enhance the adaptability for play in otherwise impoverished places.

Keyword
outdoor play, playscape, interactive play technology, landscape architecture
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-268057 (URN)10.1145/2901790.2901875 (DOI)000390478300006 ()
Conference
11th ACM SIGCHI Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS), Queensland Univ Technol, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA, JUN 04-08, 2016
Note

The manuscript version of this article is part of the thesis: "Designing Public Play: Playful Engagement, Constructed Activity, and Player Experience" by Jon Back. http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:876519

Available from: 2015-12-02 Created: 2015-12-02 Last updated: 2017-05-08
4. ‘Knock Once for Yes’ – Knocking as Feedback in the Location-Based Game Passing On
Open this publication in new window or tab >>‘Knock Once for Yes’ – Knocking as Feedback in the Location-Based Game Passing On
2014 (English)In: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games: Society for the Advancement of the Science of Digital Games, 2014Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper the design, implementation and testing of the Location-Based game Passing On is explored. It is a multi-player game for mobile phones, with a focus on asymmetric and limited communication. While one player can communicate by talking, the other can answer only by knocking. This limited and asymmetric communication became one of the central gameplay resources in the game, shaping much of the experience for the players.

Using observations and interviews, the knocking and the experience it created is analyzed and discussed. It is shown how this made the game emphasize social interaction, moving the focus from the phone to the environment, and how the knocking helped create a sense of presence for the player feeling them.

Keyword
Location-based, asymmetric gameplay, negotiating language, physical feedback, player behavior
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Research subject
Computer Science with specialization in Human-Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-239070 (URN)978-0-9913982-2-5 (ISBN)
Conference
9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG), 2014, April 3-7, 2014, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Available from: 2014-12-18 Created: 2014-12-18 Last updated: 2016-01-28Bibliographically approved
5. "We are two strong women": Designing Empowerment in a Pervasive Game
Open this publication in new window or tab >>"We are two strong women": Designing Empowerment in a Pervasive Game
2013 (English)In: Defragging game studies: Proceedings of DIGRA 2013, DIGRA , 2013Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Gender-aware design is important in computer games in general, and perhaps even more so in the design of pervasive games, as these are played in the ordinary world. As pervasive games blur the distinction between game and non-game situations, they influence the everyday lives of their players.

We discuss the design process for the game ‘Codename Heroes’ from a gender-aware perspective. The focus is on how players reacted to the experience of playing the game during a sequence of design workshops. We found that playing the game made people less sensitive to ‘fear of the outside’. The participants were aware they ‘should’ feel unsafe in unknown neighbourhoods, but mostly did not. Furthermore, a combination of collaboration with internal competition fostered a sense of empowerment. Finally, we could confirm what previous researchers have seen, that women participants tended to blame themselves, rather than the technology or the situation, for errors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
DIGRA, 2013
Keyword
Game, Design, Gender, Pervasive game
National Category
Interaction Technologies
Research subject
Human-Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-212715 (URN)
Conference
The sixth international conference of the Digital Games Research Association (DIGRA); 26-29 August 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA
Available from: 2013-12-13 Created: 2013-12-13 Last updated: 2016-01-28Bibliographically approved
6. Talking it Further: From Feelings and Memories to Civic Discussions In and About Places
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Talking it Further: From Feelings and Memories to Civic Discussions In and About Places
2012 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-268055 (URN)
Conference
NordiCHI 2012
Available from: 2015-12-01 Created: 2015-12-01 Last updated: 2016-05-04
7. Experimental Game Design
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Experimental Game Design
2015 (English)In: Game Research Methods: An Overview / [ed] Lankoski, Petri; Björk, Staffan, ETC press, 2015Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ETC press, 2015
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-268056 (URN)9781312884731 (ISBN)
Available from: 2015-12-01 Created: 2015-12-01 Last updated: 2016-05-04

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