I stopped posting on the blog awhile, which is unfortunate in a number of ways (not the least of which is that posting is one of the ways I am being evaluated!)  I was suffering from considerable burn out over the weeks leading up to spring break, but I spent break taking a handful of days to do just the right amount of nothing so that I am feeling considerably invigorated and ready to make up for some lost time.  I mention this only because I know burn out is an affliction that rarely strikes in isolation, and I hope anyone else suffering from it enjoyed their break and got some genuine time to rest reinvigorate!

The subject of my paper is designing ambience as a way of creating worth in video games.  It still needs work, I’m hoping that bringing my pile o’ stuff to class today will help me get a better grip on it.  One of the star or prime HCI papers that I’m using is Gilbert Cockton’s “Designing Worth is Worth Designing”.  There is an idea in it that seems super important to my paper, but I’m having trouble fully understanding it.  Here are some quotes where it appears:

  • “We should judge systems by what endures beyond interaction, and not by ease of use or contextual fit alone. While we may value efficiency as a means to an end, and fun for the moment of experience, there really is more to life (and thus humans) than this. In thinking otherwise, HCI has embraced Taylorism [24], and now sometimes a Disneyesque hedonism ([17], p.133). “
  • “The motivations of individuals and social groupings define what is worthwhile. It is through examining these that HCI can broaden its scope, not only beyond the Taylorist efficiency of office productivity tools, but also beyond the (ludicrous?) ‘Disneyism’ of some affective HCI.”
  • “Cognitive and affective HCI have largely focused on hygiene factors. Motivational HCI would shift the balance to attend predominantly to motivator factors. Motivational HCI differs from affective HCI in that it does not automatically associate positive impact with favourable hedonic factors, which may be short-lived and transient, without long term impact on an individual’s motivation.”

I get the Taylorist part, and I think I understand he is saying that value from design arises after the actual interaction, but my question is what is he talking about with the ‘Disneyism’ of some affective HCI?  What is Disneyism, first of all? And what theories of affective HCI is he criticizing?  The first quote contains a reference; it is to “Design: A Very Short Introduction” (http://www.unirc.it/documentazione/materiale_didattico/597_2011_289_10941.pdf) and page 133 is not getting me any closer to understanding what he’s talking about! When he talks about “Disneyesque hedonism” in the first quote is he talking about the same kind of “hedonic factors” in the third quote? I know these are kind of specific questions, but since I am using this notion of worth and applying it to ambience as a form of experience design, I can’t help but think this criticism is important to me and yet I don’t understand it.  My best guess at the moment is that he is saying that some approaches to affective design, and I would also say experience design, are too focused in the moment of interaction and not on the enduring qualities of the interaction; “hedonism” in design because it is pleasure in the moment but without any long term generation of real value or worth to the user.  Am I even in the ballpark?

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