Designing Keyboards for an Aging Population

Designing Keyboards for an Aging Population

Written by Colin Whaley. For most people, physically using computer peripherals is not a usability barrier — a keyboard is a keyboard is a keyboard, right? However, for the elderly or those with nerve damage, both sensory and motor problems may make the use of such computer peripherals uncomfortable or even painful. At the University of Waterloo, I co-founded the enTECH Computer Club, a volunteer group that travels to retirement homes in the Waterloo Region and helps seniors learn how to use computers. The goal of enTECH is to help the residents keep in touch with their families in the digital age and to learn how to use technology for leisure. While volunteering, one of our volunteers noted that one of the residents he worked with did not want to use the computer: the resident mentioned that using the computer would be uncomfortable that day, specifically due to discomfort in her hands. Most often, residents decide not to work with us on a particular day due to tiredness — a physical reason for not doing so was surprising and an area where improvements in

Collection Interfaces for Digital Game Objects

Collection Interfaces for Digital Game Objects

Written by Gustavo Tondello. The HCI Games Group collaborated with a research project that also involved the Play & Interactive Experiences for Learning Lab at the New Mexico State University and the University of California at Irvine to investigate player behaviour regarding the collection of digital objects in games. The study aimed to understand what kinds of objects players collect and why. It was firstly presented at the CHI PLAY 2016 Conference, where it received an Honorary Mention as one of the best works present, and will be presented again next week at the upcoming Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. The results suggested that collection interfaces currently available on most commercial games do not fully support players’ desires regarding their digital objects. Therefore, the research led to several design implications aimed to improve these interfaces in future games. These findings also have implications for serious games and gameful applications that use collections as one of the elements aimed at engaging and motivating the players. Regarding the types of objects that players usually collect in games, the most frequent

Jamie Madigan’s 30 Ideas Keynote at CHI PLAY 2016

Written by Lennart Nacke. I am at the CHI PLAY conference (a conference series that I started 3 years ago in Toronto) in Austin, Texas and the conference just began with a great keynote from Jamie Madigan of The Psychology of Games. Look, it's @JamieMadigan kicking off #chiplay16 with https://t.co/rZFh5W06U0 pic.twitter.com/02th3IoQcH — Lennart Nacke (@acagamic) October 17, 2016 Jamie talked about a massive increase in game research in the past years ( think he mainly referred to psychology journals, but I believe this is a trend across fields). The useful thing about this increase in scientific approaches for understanding games, is that video game designers now also have more tools than ever to help them create better products and rely on science rather than on anecdotal evidence. Jamie presented 30 ideas for video game research across 9 topics. While I think many people found the talk very inspiring and the topics timely to be presented. However, since this is a community of researchers, from talking to some attendees in the lunch break (especially students), I got the feeling that many

CLEVER: Gamification and Enterprise Knowledge Learning

Written by Dominic Elm, Dennis Kappen, Gustavo Tondello, and Lennart Nacke. CLEVER will be demonstrated during the Student Game Design Competition at CHI PLAY ’16. Knowledge management (KM) represents the process of effectively capturing, documenting, assimilating, sharing, and deploying organizational knowledge [1,2]. Focused aggregation of such knowledge is critical for maximizing organizational objectives, as well as the efficient and effective functioning of any enterprise. However, a main challenge for companies is the reluctance of their knowledge experts to share their intellectual capital [1,3]. Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) provide the information technology to store, retrieve, and share knowledge; however, users often lack the motivation to engage with them. Observing this issue, Dominic Elm made the goal of his Master’s thesis to propose a solution to this problem using Gamification. Thus, he designed CLEVER, an online KMS that incorporates game elements to motivate and engage users. The system is composed of two parts: (1) an online knowledge repository, where employees can provide important knowledge to the company, and (2) a trivia strategy game that motivates players to interact with content from the

The Gamification User Types Hexad Scale

The Gamification User Types Hexad Scale

Written by Gustavo Tondello. Infographics by Marim Ganaba. Several studies have indicated the need for personalising gamified systems to users’ personalities. However, mapping user personality onto design elements is difficult. To address this problem, Marczewski developed the Gamification User Types Hexad framework, based on research on human motivation, player types, and practical design experience. He also suggested different game design elements that may support different user types. However, until now we were still lacking a standard assessment tool for user’s preferences based on the Hexad framework. There was also no empirical validation, yet, that associated Hexad user types and game design elements. A collaborative research project by the HCI Games Group, the Austrian Institute of Technology, and Gamified UK sought to accomplish these two goals: (1) create and validate a standard survey to assess an individual’s Hexad user type and (2) verify the association between the Hexad user types and the game design elements they are supposed to appeal to. In case you are not familiar with the Hexad user types yet, please take a moment to watch this video

Does Gamification Work in the Software Development Process?

Does Gamification Work in the Software Development Process?

Written by Alberto Mora. Puede leer la versión en español de este post aquí. A lot has been written about the benefits of gamification in recent years. When people talk about gamification they generally focus on sectors such as education, marketing, sales, energy, and health. However, there are a variety of different areas that could benefit from gamification, but have not been thoroughly explored, such as software development. The main purpose of gamification in the field of software development is to motivate developers to adopt or improve the best programming practices while working on software projects. Project managers know the importance of having development teams that are highly motivated, committed to their projects, and dedicated to applying best practices. Teams with these attitudes are more likely to succeed, as well as gain more satisfaction from the project and from their clients. In contrast, there are severe consequences for development teams that lack motivation. For instance, projects where developers are demotivated evince bugs due to low quality or no testing, continuous delays in deadlines, failure to adopt requirements, low collaboration among

Creatures of Habit — Examining Automatic Behaviour in Online Games

Written by Mike Schaekermann. In everyday life, we seldom do things for the first time. Instead, a large part of our behaviour is determined by habits rather than conscious motivation [1]. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that habitual behaviour may also be a strong determinant for what we do as players in online gaming environments. A major focus of the HCI Games Group is on developing a deeper understanding of the psychological constructs that drive human behaviour in digital games. In this spirit, one of our ongoing projects revolves around the underrepresented topic of habits in online games. Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) naturally lend themselves to a closer examination of habitual gaming patterns for two reasons: first, players who like a particular game often spend large amounts of time in its virtual environment, increasing the chance of certain behaviours to be performed repeatedly and eventually turn into habits. Second, it is not uncommon for game studios to store detailed information about what players do in the game environment — a technique referred to as “telemetry” [5]. This information is

What is Gamification anyway?

What is Gamification anyway?

You may have heard of word Gamification. It’s as much a buzzword as it is a new academic field. Many people are interested in what it is and how to use it effectively, but don’t know why it works. It’s clear why, since games excite us by driving our curiosity to discover something new. They make us feel accomplished when we overcome a difficult challenge or reach personal objectives. Games help us learn and encourage us to experiment, develop strategies, and learn new skills. Gamification takes core elements of what we love about games and applies them outside of traditional gameplay environments. Everyone is talking about the benefits of gamification and how it will increase engagement in the classroom, or help us stay fit and healthy, or improve our productivity in the workplace. Here is a clip from our new whiteboard #animation! Candy crush-angry birds 🎮! Watch it here: https://t.co/QgMGQZDdSC pic.twitter.com/R1v4mn59vc — HCI Games Group (@hcigamesgroup) July 14, 2016 To help you understand the basics of gamification, we created the video below, which should help you become familiar with the

Pokémon Go has arrived in Canada

Written by Lennart E. Nacke, Director of the HCI Games Group. It happened this afternoon. I was on a weekend trip. Outside of town. Pokémon Go finally arrived in Canada. I did not believe what happened next. Pokémon GO is now available in Canada! Discover and capture Pokémon all around you. pic.twitter.com/uTXwIk85IZ — Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) July 17, 2016 The public reaction — as I walked across a local park in a remote little summer vacation town — was tantalizing. All of a sudden flocks of people were moving around the streets of the little town, their phones in hand. Spotting for Pokéstops. While some folks have been playing the game with a US copy in Canada for a little over a week (it was released in the US on July 6), it is now finally and officially everywhere in Canada. Local Canadians were very excited and random conversations between strangers were happening with game knowledge exchange as these people were playing together. It’s definitely a location-based game (not really an augmented reality game like so many news outlets are keen to call it)

3 Inspiring Ways Gamification Is Being Used in Education

3 Inspiring Ways Gamification Is Being Used in Education

Written by Melissa Stocco. In my last post, I looked at the 15 ways gamification can be applied to education. I wanted to supplement my previous post by providing some concrete examples of how gamification is being used in the classroom. In addition, I made a list of tools for teachers and for students that utilize gamification for learning. 1. Gamification in the Classroom Ananth Pai is a teacher from Minnesota who uses gamification to individualize learning. Students progress through their coursework at their own pace, since some students will need more time to understand the material taught in class. With this method of teaching, students only move forward once they have mastered previous course concepts. This means that all of Pai’s students are working on different assignments or activities at the same time. 7th grade English teacher Megan Ellis talks about adding gamification into her classroom to improve her students’ study skills. Megan uses experience points to her classroom to motivate her students to complete homework, be on time for class, and improve their study habits in general. Megan