Not Just Playing Around: Game Design In The Interaction Design Classroom

Liese Zahabi
Assistant Professor of Graphic/Interaction Design
University of Maryland, College Park

The act of play is key in the art and science of Interaction Design. A sense of fun, wonder, and the unexpected help shape the games we interact with on our computers and phones, but also the interfaces we wouldn’t associate with games: working out with Fitbit, learning code with CodeAcademy, managing our money with Mint. By utilizing principles from games, designers can help motivate, engage, and teach users.

This presentation will highlight the work of graphic design students across two separate semesters. As part of an Advanced Interactive Design class, students were charged with designing, prototyping and play-testing games. Students chose a topic and target audience, and conducted initial research to help build the concept and content for the final game prototype. The students conducted play-testing to help them shape and revise their game designs, and had five weeks to complete the project. The resulting games ranged from phone and iPad apps to board games and card games. Students explored a myriad of topics: endangered animals, Crohn’s Disease, alternative energy, humility, empathy, packing gear for a music gig, constellations, and many others.

Engaging students with games has achieved many positive outcomes, often enabling them to understand the material, and the design process, more deeply. A sense of fun and exploratory play permeates the classroom, energizing students and encouraging true collaboration: you need players to play games, so students enlist each other for that purpose. Games are also little worlds—suggesting systems-based structures, the creation of rational rule sets, and demanding a focus on both design details and overall game experiences. Asking students to build and design games allows them to explore all these aspects in a contained and creative way, and helps to make them better designers and thinkers.

Worry Quest: Adventure Games for Fighting Anxiety

Matthew Bambach
MFA candidate, Graphic Design
Maryland Institute College of Art

Worry Quest is an app that helps fill gaps in mental health care experienced by young adults. It uses joy and technology to combat anxiety with simple, proven, psychotherapy techniques. The app lets youth envision themselves as a hero and their anxieties as a personalized monster. From there, they can choose between three different therapy adventures to “defeat their demons,” depending on how they prefer to cope with their own anxiety. Users are directed through a rousing dialogue with their “anxiety demon” and are rewarded along the way with pleasant visuals, sounds, and animations upon completing both tactile and self-reflective activities.

Activities in the app have been conceptualized from participatory research prompts, and are backed by approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy, humor and mindfulness practice. The app continues to be developed in consultation with public input, beta testers, and mental health professionals. The app blends information design, interaction design, motion design, game design, user research and cognitive science—accessible through a device that nearly every millennial uses every day. By doing so, Worry Quest will help youth contextualize negative thoughts in an empowering way that affirms psychological agency and encourages positive self-care.
Abstract
Design Incubation Colloquium

Colloquium 2.4: CAA Conference 2016, Washington, DC

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Time: 9:30am – 12:00pm
Location: Hoover, Mezzanine Level, Marriott Hotel

In collaboration with CAA Task Force on Design at the 104th Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

Chairs: Steven McCarthy, University of Minnesota; Aaris Sherin, St. John’s University

Abstract submission deadline: January 17, 2016. Email abstracts for peer review to submissions@designincubation.com

Open to all 104th Annual Conference, Washington, DC attendees.

Presentations

Teaching Timeless Theory in Interactive Design through a Multidisciplinary Approach
James Pannafino
Associate Professor
Interactive and Graphic Design
Art and Design Department
Millersville University

Who Does This Internet Artwork Belong To? A Study on Art Appropriation and Youth Identity in a Digital Age
Laura Scherling

GreenspaceNYC, Co-founder

The New School, Design Lead
Teachers College,
Columbia University, Doctoral student

Conscious Interventions With The Personal Beasties Breathing Mobile App
Paula Murgia
Co-Founder Personal Beasties Group, LLC

Marianna Trofimova
Adjunct Professor
Communication Design Department
New York City College of Technology
City University of New York

Principal at Marianna Trofimova Design

A Plan for a National Communication Design Educator Award
Steven McCarthy
Professor
College of Design
University of Minnesota

Never Use Futura
Douglas Thomas
MFA Candidate in Graphic Design
Maryland Institute College of Art

Commute 2 Brooklyn: Visual Exploration Along Interstate 278
Mary Ann Biehl
Associate Professor
Communication Design
New York City College of Technology, CUNY

Maria Giuliani
Associate Professor
Communication Design
New York City College of Technology, CUNY

Alterpodium: Performing Disability
Amanda Cachia
PhD Candidate, Art History, Theory & Criticism
Department of Visual Arts, University of California San Diego

Design Practice Intervention: Experimental Approaches to Mapping Different Data
Rachele Riley
Assistant Professor
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Color, A “Conflict Mineral”
Grace Moon
Adjunct Professor
Graphic Design, Dept of Art
Queens College, CUNY

The Art of Mutable Mergers: Collaborations Between Designers, Artists, Curators, and the Plastics Industry, 1960 – 74
Grace Converse
Adjunct Instructor of Art History
Purchase College, SUNY
St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn

Small Disruptions

Andrew Shea
Adjunct Faculty
Pratt Institute
Parsons, The New School

Designers are eager to find solutions that are economically inclusive, socially progressive, and environmentally sound. And whether they call it social impact design, designing for social change, socially responsible design, or by another name, it usually implies that design makes some kind of impact. The essence of that “impact” is some kind of behavior change.

In my presentation, I will talk about what it means for designers to make an impact, since the influence of design remains difficult to trace and measure.

My presentation will feature research from behavioral psychology, creative placemaking, wayfinding, and user experience that, along with two case studies, will illustrate an evidence-based design approach that can lead to positive behavioral change.

Design for Dystopia

Amelia Marzec
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Queens College
Hunter College

Imagine a future where the American dollar is worthless. To re-build the economy, citizens must use the only resource available: decades of postconsumer waste. With no way to afford expensive international electronics, but with a deep human desire to connect, they sift through products that have been subject to planned obsolescence for the possibility of working parts. The goal is to build a new communications infrastructure that is community-controlled and far from the prying eyes of any government.

In the global economy, we have enjoyed more connectedness than ever before; but have paid a price in privacy and autonomy. Governments can and will suppress communication, as we have seen during Arab Spring and the Hong Kong protests. Centralized internet and phone systems are not able to survive natural disasters, as we’ve seen during the Tohoku Earthquake and Hurricane Sandy. If roads are closed, gas is rationed and the internet is down, it is impossible to order any supplies. It is time to remove the mystique surrounding the production of telecommunications systems. We must learn to use what is at hand to be prepared for disruptions.

Design for Dystopia traces several projects from concept to outcome: a project that allows people to send messages offline using their mobile phones, bypassing their cell phone provider; a project that re-envisions the structure of electronics manufacturing in America; and thoughts on furthering the design of a more democratic communications infrastructure, using native materials. We need to consider that the devices and methods with which we are dependent on to communicate and receive our content are also political, and we need to address what is actually necessary for basic communication.