Areas of play

In "The space to play", Matt Jones (Nokia Design Multimedia) interestingly describes his group work process when exploring the theme of "play". First, it starts with spotting some signals that "play" is a driving force ("Through weak signals found by our trends research group we had a hunch that "play" as a force in the world was becoming stronger, so we got the go-ahead for a research and design conception project"). Then, they gathered of a multi-disciplinary team ("myself, a technical consultant, Janne Jalkanen and a business consultant, Minh Tran. Our ranks were swelled by academics, independent experts, researchers and designers throughout the span of the project.").

The team worked with user experience experts to refine the driving forces behind "play" ("One of the main components was research carried out with behavioral trend experts, Sense Worldwide. In this collaboration we identified areas of the ever-present driver of play in global culture.") which led to set 4 relevant areas: 1) the playful engagement people have technology by hacking/modifying/tinkering things 2) the reprogramation of space through technologies (turning a metro into a gig or railway station into a pillow fight) 3) the carefully-designed space that engage people in new experiences (serendipituous meetings) 4) re-imagining the urban experience

The next step was to work on how this can fuel interaction design and mobile applications development/mobile devices design ("What would it mean to create truly playful space in our systems, services and devices? "). Matt, for that matter, describes how they wanted to go beyond user-centered design by taking into account concepts such as Csikszentmihalyi's "flow" or examples like Parkour, Elektroplankton.

Why do I blog this? though very classic, it's interesting to see how this work process is described and implemented. My only concern is that I would be happy to know more about how this is turned into applications/products ;) But this is relevant:

“What does this have to do with interaction design or mobile devices? Well, as I’ve said, in play we explore, try new things and push our limits more than in any other state. The practice of experience design often tries to prescribe set paths for the end-user of the device, rather than allow the frustrations of a free exploration of the system. What would it mean to create truly playful space in our systems, services and devices? To create digital weather projects, not just thrilling but constrained slides?”