CHI 2011: Paper gleanings

Apart from the gamification workshop, this year’s CHI conference also featured quite a number of regular papers that more or less directly spoke to our interest in the use of game design in non-game contexts, so we thought we would parse the program and share our (admittedly, subjective) list of findings. If we missed one you think must be included (here as well as in our bibliography), do let us know!

The papers are roughly categorized into four parts:

  • Inquiries – studies that look into general issues relevant to gamification
  • Case studies – sic
  • Serious games – papers on serious games with relevant learnings
  • Persuasive technology – papers which mostly speak to persuasive technology, but have an angle or finding of interest to gamification

Inquiries

Design lessons from the fastest q&a site in the west
This paper analyzes a Question & Answer site for programmers, Stack Overflow, that dramatically improves on the utility and performance of Q&A systems for technical domains. Over 92% of Stack Overflow questions about expert topics are answered – in a median time of 11 minutes. Using a mixed methods approach that combines statistical data analysis with user interviews, we seek to understand this success. We argue that it is not primarily due to an a priori superior technical design, but also to the high visibility and daily involvement of the design team within the community they serve. This model of continued community leadership presents challenges to both CSCW systems research as well as to attempts to apply the Stack Overflow model to other specialized knowledge domains.
Lena Mamykina, Bella Manoim, Manas Mittal, George Hripcsak, and Björn Hartmann. 2011. Design lessons from the fastest q&a site in the west. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2857-2866. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1979366

I’m the mayor of my house: examining why people use foursquare – a social-driven location sharing application
There have been many location sharing systems developed over the past two decades, and only recently have they started to be adopted by consumers. In this paper, we present the results of three studies focusing on the foursquare check-in system. We conducted interviews and two surveys to understand, both qualitatively and quantitatively, how and why people use location sharing applications, as well as how they manage their privacy. We also document surprising uses of foursquare, and discuss implications for design of mobile social services.
Janne Lindqvist, Justin Cranshaw, Jason Wiese, Jason Hong, and John Zimmerman. 2011. I’m the mayor of my house: examining why people use foursquare – a social-driven location sharing application. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2409-2418. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1979295

Designing sports: a framework for exertion games
Exertion games require investing physical effort. The fact that such games can support physical health is tempered by our limited understanding of how to design for engaging exertion experiences. This paper introduces the Exertion Framework as a way to think and talk about Exertion Games, both for their formative design and summative analysis. Our Exertion Framework is based on the ways in which we can conceive of the body investing in game-directed exertion, supported by four perspectives on the body (the Responding Body, Moving Body, Sensing Body and Relating Body) and three perspectives on gaming (rules, play and context). The paper illustrates how this framework was derived from prior systems and theory, and presents a case study of how it has been used to inspire novel exertion interactions.
Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller, Darren Edge, Frank Vetere, Martin R. Gibbs, Stefan Agamanolis, Bert Bongers, and Jennifer G. Sheridan. 2011. Designing sports: a framework for exertion games. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2651-2660. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1979330

My kind of people?: Perceptions about Wikipedia contributors and their motivations
Perceptions of information products such as Wikipedia can depend on assumptions and stereotypes about the people who create them. As new Wikipedians consider contributing they are likely to apply such assumptions and ask themselves: “Are Wikipedia contributors my kind of people? Is this a group I’d like to belong to?” In this qualitative study I address the potential challenge of these questions by exploring readers and infrequent editors’ perceptions of Wikipedia contributors and their motivations. Through analysis of twenty semi-structured interviews, I find evidence of strong negative perceptions as well as positive ones which nonetheless prevent users from identifying with active Wikipedia contributors. I argue that these perceptions present a barrier to the progression of participation over time. I conclude by discussing the practical challenges of my findings for Wikipedia and other online collaborative systems.
Judd Antin. 2011. My kind of people?: perceptions about wikipedia contributors and their motivations. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 3411-3420. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1979451

Computers can’t give credit: how automatic attribution falls short in an online remixing community
In this paper, we explore the role that attribution plays in shaping user reactions to content reuse, or remixing, in a large user-generated content community. We present two studies using data from the Scratch online community – a social media platform where hundreds of thousands of young people share and remix animations and video games. First, we present a quantitative analysis that examines the effects of a technological design intervention introducing automated attribution of remixes on users’ reactions to being remixed. We compare this analysis to a parallel examination of “manual” credit-giving. Second, we present a qualitative analysis of twelve in-depth, semi-structured, interviews with Scratch participants on the subject of remixing and attribution. Results from both studies suggest that automatic attribution done by technological systems (i.e., the listing of names of contributors) plays a role that is distinct from, and less valuable than, credit which may superficially involve identical information but takes on new meaning when it is given by a human remixer. We discuss the implications of these findings for the designers of online communities and social media platforms.
Andrés Monroy-Hernández, Benjamin Mako Hill, Jazmin Gonzalez-Rivero, and danah boyd. 2011. Computers can’t give credit: how automatic attribution falls short in an online remixing community. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 3421-3430. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1979452

Donate for credibility: How contribution incentives can improve credibility
This study explores whether certain contribution incentives for online user-generated content can undermine or enhance contributor’s credibility. In an online experiment, we found that contributors who are rewarded with donations made in their names are perceived to be more credible than contributors who are financially compensated through revenue-sharing or contribute voluntarily. In addition, disclosing the chosen charity for donation can also impact credibility. Content viewer’s self-identification with charity and the congruency between charity and content topic are both factors that may enhance credibility. Our findings lead to practical implications on when and how to use contribution incentives to enhance credibility.
Gary Hsieh, Scott E. Hudson, and Robert E. Kraut. 2011. Donate for credibility: how contribution incentives can improve credibility. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 3435-3438. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1979454

Case studies

With a little help from a friend: A shower calendar to save water
This design case presents and discusses the Shower Calendar, a “persuasive” concept for reducing the con-sumption of water for showering. It starts from a dis-cussion of different types of feedback employed by earlier design cases. Based on this, we designed the Calendar concept as an ambient, persistent and indi-vidualized feedback. A field study with two families (6 individuals) revealed that the Calendar fosters goal setting, comparison, competition, and communication. In addition, quantitative data showed one family to have been more successful in translating the Calendar’s offer into actual behavior change, i.e., saving water. This highlights that change is not achieved by the product itself (as in automation or regulation), but by the people involved.
Matthias Laschke, Marc Hassenzahl, Sarah Diefenbach, and Marius Tippkämper. 2011. With a little help from a friend: a shower calendar to save water. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (CHI EA ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 633-646. DOI=10.1145/1979742.1979659

Playable data: characterizing the design space of game-y infographics
This work explores the intersection between infographics and games by examining how to embed meaningful visual analytic interactions into game mechanics that in turn impact user behavior around a data-driven graphic. In contrast to other methods of narrative visualization, games provide an alternate method for structuring a story, not bound by a linear arrangement but still providing structure via rules, goals, and mechanics of play. We designed two different versions of a game-y infographic, Salubrious Nation, and compared them to a non-game-y version in an online experiment. We assessed the relative merits of the game-y approach of presentation in terms of exploration of the visualization, insights and learning, and enjoyment of the experience. Based on our results, we discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks of our designs. More generally, we identify challenges and opportunities for further exploration of this new design space.
Nicholas Diakopoulos, Funda Kivran-Swaine, and Mor Naaman. 2011. Playable data: characterizing the design space of game-y infographics. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1717-1726. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1979193

Serious Games

PhotoCity: training experts at large-scale image acquisition through a competitive game
Large-scale, ground-level urban imagery has recently developed as an important element of online mapping tools such as Google’s Street View. Such imagery is extremely valuable in a number of potential applications, ranging from augmented reality to 3D modeling, and from urban planning to monitoring city infrastructure. While such imagery is already available from many sources, including Street View and tourist photos on photo-sharing sites, these collections have drawbacks related to high cost, incompleteness, and accuracy. A potential solution is to leverage the community of photographers around the world to collaboratively acquire large-scale image collections. This work explores this approach through PhotoCity, an online game that trains its players to become “experts” at taking photos at targeted locations and in great density, for the purposes of creating 3D building models. To evaluate our approach, we ran a competition between two universities that resulted in the submission of over 100,000 photos, many of which were highly relevant for the 3D modeling task at hand. Although the number of players was small, we found that this was compensated for by incentives that drove players to become experts at photo collection, often capturing thousands of useful photos each.
Kathleen Tuite, Noah Snavely, Dun-yu Hsiao, Nadine Tabing, and Zoran Popovic. 2011. PhotoCity: training experts at large-scale image acquisition through a competitive game. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1383-1392. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1979146

Guess who?: enriching the social graph through a crowdsourcing game
Despite the tremendous popularity of social network sites both on the web and within enterprises, the relationship information they contain may be often incomplete or outdated. We suggest a novel crowdsourcing approach that uses a game to help enrich and expand the social network topology. The game prompts players to provide the names of people who have a relationship with individuals they know. The game was deployed for a one-month period within a large global organization. We provide an analysis of the data collected through this deployment, in comparison with the data from the organization’s social network site. Our results indicate that the game rapidly collects large volumes of valid information that can be used to enrich and reinforce an existing social network site’s data. We point out other aspects and benefits of using a crowdsourcing game to harvest social network information.
Ido Guy, Adam Perer, Tal Daniel, Ohad Greenshpan, and Itai Turbahn. 2011. Guess who?: enriching the social graph through a crowdsourcing game. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1373-1382. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1979145

Flo: raising family awareness about electricity use
In this case study, we designed a family game to explore whether this could be an effective and fun approach for raising the awareness of family members towards their energy use and, in the long run, to provide an effective tool for affecting their habits regarding sustainable behavior. The design of the family game implemented the metaphor of electricity as flowing liquid, fostered fun experiences and supported competitive and social elements. Dutch families with children, aged 5-11 years, participated in the design and evaluation of the concept. We obtained valuable insights into the use and understanding of electricity by the families, how the families looked at responsible behaviors around their usage and how a game could integrate into the family context in a fun way.
Paul Shrubsole, Tine Lavrysen, Maddy Janse, and Hans Weda. 2011. Flo: raising family awareness about electricity use. In PART 1 ———- Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (CHI EA ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 669-672. DOI=10.1145/1979602.1979665

Persuasive technology

Normative influences on thoughtful online participation
We describe two experiments on whether individual thoughtful effort during online commenting is shaped by situational norms derived from the behavior of social others and the design of the environment, respectively. By measuring the length of participants’ comments on a news website, the time taken to write them, and the number of issue-relevant thoughts they contain, we demonstrate that participants conform to high vs. low norms of thoughtfulness manifested through either the apparent behavior of other users or through visual, textual and interactional design features conceptually associated with thoughtfulness. Theoretical and applied insights for designing online participatory environments are discussed.
Abhay Sukumaran, Stephanie Vezich, Melanie McHugh, and Clifford Nass. 2011. Normative influences on thoughtful online participation. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 3401-3410. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1979450

Designing eco-feedback systems for everyday life
Eco-feedback systems currently frame householders as micro-resource managers, who weigh up the costs and benefits of their consumption, and make autonomous, rational and efficient decisions. Reporting on findings from a qualitative study of three Australian energy and water eco-feedback programs utilising an in-home display (IHD) system, this paper challenges this view. The research finds that householders consume energy and water to carry out everyday practices, such as showering, laundering and cooling, which are mediated by social, cultural, technical and institutional dynamics. The paper proposes an alternative design paradigm for eco-feedback systems premised on the realities of everyday life and identifies several design directions that emerge from this new starting point.
Yolande A.A. Strengers. 2011. Designing eco-feedback systems for everyday life. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2135-2144. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1979252

Side effects and “gateway” tools: advocating a broader look at evaluating persuasive systems
This paper argues for evaluating the impact of persuasive systems on users beyond metrics that focus on system usage, based on an interview study of 16 Wii Fit users. While exploring their experiences and reasons for abandoning the system, two main themes emerged: the tension between Wii Fit as a fitness tool and a game, and ways participants reacted to the system’s feedback about their weight and performance. Some participants used Wii Fit as a “gateway fitness” tool, moving beyond it to other fitness routines. Additionally, some users had significant emotional reactions to the Wii Fitts feedback. We argue that these ‘side effects’ are crucial considerations for the design and long-term evaluation of persuasive technologies.
Victoria Schwanda, Steven Ibara, Lindsay Reynolds, and Dan Cosley. 2011. Side effects and “gateway” tools: advocating a broader look at evaluating persuasive systems. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 345-348. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1978991

Designing for Peer Involvement in Weight Management
The problems of obesity and overweight are commonly cited as the motivation behind recent efforts to develop technology that promotes physical activity. Prompted by the social nature of many of the emerging applications, this paper presents our investigation of the sociality of weight management as experienced by a broad demographic of individuals. Our findings highlight the broad scope of peer involvement, and provide insight into the context and mechanics of related interaction that may prove valuable in informing the next generation of peer-based weight management technology for use in everyday life.
Julie Maitland and Matthew Chalmers. 2011. Designing for peer involvement in weight management. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 315-324. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1978988

Mining behavioral economics to design persuasive technology for healthy choices
Influence through information and feedback has been one of the main approaches of persuasive technology. We propose another approach based on behavioral economics research on decision-making. This approach involves designing the presentation and timing of choices to encourage people to make self-beneficial decisions. We applied three behavioral economics persuasion techniques – the default option strategy, the planning strategy, and the asymmetric choice strategy – to promote healthy snacking in the workplace. We tested the strategies in three experimental case studies using a human snack deliverer, a robot, and a snack ordering website. The default and the planning strategies were effective, but they worked differently depending on whether the participants had healthy dietary lifestyles or not. We discuss designs for persuasive technologies that apply behavioral economics.
Min Kyung Lee, Sara Kiesler, and Jodi Forlizzi. 2011. Mining behavioral economics to design persuasive technology for healthy choices. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 325-334. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1978989

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