[MUD-Dev] CHI 2002: Funology: Designing Enjoyment

Bruce Mitchener bruce at cubik.org
Fri Dec 21 15:17:29 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


>From http://www-users.york.ac.uk/~djr14/CHI02_funology:

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It is now generally accepted in the HCI community that usability
considerations should be central to product design. Over the past
thirty years the concept of usability has evolved from a narrow
product orientated attribute, to encompass broader concerns with the
experience of use. However broad the latest definition is, it
recently acquired a new associate: the joy of use or perhaps
"enjoyability". Traditionally, HCI is about work and work systems,
however, the proliferation of computer entertainment technologies
make fun and enjoyment important software requirements. The
distinctions between "work" and leisure" and "tool" and "toy" are
being challenged by new approaches to design. Managers are urged to
"understand that there are positive consequences of using
microcomputers for fun" at the workplace (Igbaria et al
1994:p. 358). Carroll and Thomas (1998) propose game-like,
metaphoric cover stories for standard process control jobs as a
possible means of addressing boredom and vigilance problems inherent
in routine tasks. Although there is growing interest in computers
and fun, we are still far from achieving a coherent approach. There
are at least three perspectives on computers and fun in current HCI
literature; they can be thought of as: "usability reductionism"
which supposes that enjoyment simply results from ease of use;
"design reductionism" which sees enjoyment and fun as features to be
added on by graphical and industrial designers; and "marketing
reductionism" which simply uses the concept as an advertising tool.
None of these perspectives are satisfactory. As more researchers get
involved in this topic it has become clear that our current
understanding of user concerns, derived from the world of work, is
simply not adequate to this new design challenge. Theoretical
perspectives drawn from a wide variety of disciplines such as
Psychology, Sociology and Design are necessary to formulate an
approach. Fun is set to be a major issue as information and
communication technology moves out of the office and into the living
room. In this workshop we hope to attract researchers and theorists,
as well as designers and other "funologists" to discuss their work
and to further develop the field.

Current topics in this area include: theories of fun; measuring fun;
electronic communication and fun; making work fun and fun for
specialist groups such as younger or older people.

Given their comment:

     Carroll and Thomas (1998) propose game-like, metaphoric cover
     stories for standard process control jobs as a possible means
     of addressing boredom and vigilance problems inherent in
     routine tasks.

It'd be interesting to see if they come up with some better
solutions than the downtime imposed in some current games. :)

Their Call For Participation:

     Call for participation

     Fun is set to be a major issue as information and communication
     technology moves out of the office and into the living room. As
     more researchers get involved in this topic it has become clear
     that our current understanding of user concerns, derived from
     the world of work, is simply not adequate to this new design
     challenge.

     This workshop aims to:

         * provide a forum to discuss emerging issues in the
           design of enjoyable applications;
         * discuss a research agenda;
         * identify recommendations about how companies and
           research funders can combine and use the several
           disciplinary specialities needed to design fun
           products.

     We encourage participation from a wide range of disciplines
     including Computer Science, Design, Psychology and Social
     Science and other funologists.

     We plan to cover the following general topics: theory, drawn
     from various fields; justification, in terms of field studies
     and experiments; practice, through case studies of software
     products; technique, the design process and critique and
     reasons for staying with the current usability concept.

     The workshop format will include a presentation by each
     participant, discussion and games. In addition each participant
     will lead a discussion of the issues raised by another
     participant's paper.

     The workshop will be limited to 16 participants. Please submit
     a one- or two-page position paper outlining your interest in
     this topic to A.Monk at psych.york.ac.uk.  Position papers must be
     received by 25 January 2002.  Participants will be notified of
     selection by 22 February 2002.
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Might be interesting anyway.

  - Bruce

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