Playful design

The sociologist Johan Huizinga argues that play is the basis for all ritual, myth, art and wisdom, and as our working lives become entwined with our social lives the boundary between work and play is increasingly blurred. This space offers unique opportunities for research and in designing digital technology for the experience of play we create rich humanistic experiences that are enjoyable, pleasurable, playful, fun and engaging. Play encourages people using digital technologies to find and make their own experiences as part of the sense making that happens between user and design.

As we design for playfulness we need methods, best practices and methodologies. A deeper understanding of this area will let interaction designers and game designers create rich experiences that are more about playing, than doing.

This PhD will create and analyse a set of digital prototypes and drawing from multi-disciplinary research on play, games studies, literature-theory and narratology it will attempt to further unpick playfulness. Shakespeare wrote: All the world’s a stage; and as we play more, we assume: All the world’s a game.