Defense: Situated Play Design: Co-Creating the Playful Potential of Future Technology

Speaker Name
Ferran Altarriba Bertran
Speaker Title
Computational Media Ph.D. Candidate
Speaker Organization
Computational Media Ph.D.
Start Time
End Time
Virtual Event

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Abstract: In this dissertation defense, I will present my participatory design-led doctoral research exploring how to co-design technology that playfully enriches the experiential texture of people’s mundane, everyday activity. My work responds to the dominance of productivity-focused agendas in technology design; it aligns with an existing body of works that foreground the importance of designing technologies and experiences that cultivate alternative, less materially productive societal values such as social connection, emotional fulfillment, or cultural richness.

To facilitate a move towards technology futures that are more socio-emotionally sensitive and democratic, I present a three-fold contribution. The first dimension is conceptual: I present the “Technology for Situated and Emergent Play” bridging concept, an intermediate-knowledge form that highlights three experiential qualities of play that have socio-emotional value and provides inspirational examples of how technology might incorporate them.

My second contribution is methodological: I propose “Situated Play Design” as a novel methodology for designing for play from the bottom-up and in contextually sensitive ways, as well as an early toolkit of methods to put it in practice.

Finally, I contribute domain-specific knowledge in two specific areas within tech design: by experimenting with the above concepts and methodology, I investigated increasingly playful avenues for technology innovation in the domains of mealtime and urban experiences.

Overall, my work will provoke, inspire, and empower designers to co-create, from the bottom-up and in imaginative ways, technology that enriches the experiential texture of mundane, day-to-day situations and activities. I hope it serves as the seed for an exciting research program exploring how to engage diverse stakeholders in co-designing technology futures that realize the playful potential of people’s day-to-day, in ways that privilege a diversity of perspectives alongside the designer’s expertise.

Event Type
Katherine Isbister
Graduate Program
Computational Media Ph.D.