Crafting Interactive Experiences for Engagement

Laura presents on participatory design of interactions with and through digital media on the pertinent question how the 'user' may become more than an informants for design?


The value of involving the public in the design and development of interactive systems is widely acknowledged, and a rich literature on user experience and participatory design has been produced by the Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI) research community. However, it is essential to acknowledge that participation should go beyond the involvement of the users as informants in design. Participation should imply an ongoing engagement and should aim for learning and long-term empowerment of the people involved (Dearden & Rizvi, 2008. Participatory Design and Participatory Development: a Comparative Review). It is also critical to understand what we mean for ‘experience’. In fact, in the increasing trend of including ‘experience’ in the relation between people and technology, ‘experience’ has been confused with subjective feelings, behaviour, activity, social practice, and knowledge (Wright et al., 2005. Making Sense of Experience).

In this talk, I will provide a perspective on the notion of ‘experience’ derived from the Learning Sciences. I will then introduce the idea of Experience Design for Engagement. It has been argued that designing for usability is only one of the many values in HCI; designing for fun or entertainment can be equally relevant (Blythe et al., 2003. Funology). Therefore, I will present a few interactive experiments designed to provoke engagement with cultural resources, where engagement is conceived as a fundamental value for Interaction Design in museum, galleries, and heritage organisations in general.

Laura's bio

Laura Carletti is a Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, Horizon Digital Economy Research. She specialises in socio-technical research, and her expertise falls into the multidisciplinary area of digital arts and humanities. By applying socio-cultural theories of learning, she is researching how to enhance the visiting experience through new media and technology, and how to facilitate situated and online engagement with cultural resources. Between 2013 and 2014, she has offered papers at Network of Design and Digital Heritage, Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts, Electronic Visualisation in the Arts, Museum and the Web, and to the International Journal of Art and Design Education. As lead-coordinator, she was awarded the EPSRC Telling Tales of Engagement Prize in 2012, and the University of Nottingham Discipline Bridging Award in 2014. Before this, she worked several years as project manager of European funded initiatives in the culture and education sector, among them EuropeanaLocal, a project aiming to make local content accessible through Europeana, the European Digital Library. Laura holds a PhD in Technology-Enhanced-Learning from the University of Marche, School of Information Engineering, and a Laurea in Arts and Humanities from the University of Urbino, Faculty of Literature and Philosophy.

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