Games as HCI Method: A Workshop on Playfully Engaging Users in Design (@CHI2016)
20/05/2016
If you are involved in human-computer interaction research, you may have considered a playful approach to involving users in the design process. SMIT recently helped organize a workshop at CHI2016 (in collaboration with mintlab) that addressed this topic.

If you are involved in human-computer interaction research, you may have considered a playful approach to involving users in the design process. Implementing game design elements in HCI research methods raises a number of questions such as which game design elements are appropriate for the given participants and circumstances, and how do we appropriately balance our approach with the experiences we want to evoke and the research goals we have in mind?

To tackle such questions, the workshop Games as HCI Method was organized on May 8th at CHI 2016 in San Jose, California. The workshop, which involved collaboration between iMinds-SMIT and iMinds-mintlab, aimed to experiment with using game design elements to improve HCI research, and to explore how such elements can become part of the different phases of design.

Central part of the workshop was to create a prototype of a game-based HCI method. Before doing so, however, workshop participants were first challenged with a playful quiz: Were they able to recognize game elements presented to them (and the games they were part of)? They were then introduced to theoretical work on game elements and play experience to provide them with a new perspective on their own work and the prototypes they were about to create.

Whilst prototyping and discussing the result, participants critically addressed matters such as the creation process (e.g. moving between game mechanics and problem space), the role of the researcher during play (e.g. participant or game-master), how to evaluate game-based methods (e.g. based on efficiency, effectiveness or enjoyment), and possible undesirable side-effects of a game-based approach (e.g. unwanted bias or ‘gaming the system’). Interestingly, the papers and different prototypes tended to focus on generative and formative HCI research, rather than summative evaluation.

Participants expressed their appreciation for the workshop process and encouraged us to proceed on this track. We are currently exploring future possibilities in this regard.

The workshop was facilitated by Lizzy Bleumers (iMinds-SMIT, VUB), Karin Slegers (iMinds-mintlab, KULeuven), Alina Krischkowsky (Centre for Human-Computer Interaction, University of Salzburg) and Mark Blythe (Media and Communication Design, Northumbria University). Bernhard Maurer (Centre for Human-Computer Interaction, University of Salzburg) and former SMIT colleague Pieter Duysburgh helped prepare the workshop.
 

Created by Lizzy Bleumers on 20/05/2016