We are Melissa Mongiat and Kelsey Snook, part of Milk And Tales, a
group of designers who work on interactive environments. We have been
following this past month's discussions on CRUMB and thought some of
our research on interactive environments may be of interest.
We conducted a one-year research project called Exchange Pieces:
Tools and Strategies for Engagement. It focuses on the quality of
engagement that a piece or the making process can generate. This can
also be of use when gathering a set of pieces together, in making
sure the visitor experience as a whole is engaging.
We have drawn out a framework to help map out a plan for successful
exchanges. It first lays out 4 broad categories of players – maker,
client, audience, environment – identifying who can potentially be
involved, and then sets out the different project stages to look at
how these players can be engaged both in the process and the outcome
of a project.
Once the framework map is built to outline the players and exchange
opportunities, Fundamental Components for Interaction serve as a
checklist for developing strategies to encourage engagement, as well
as specific tools to make it happen within a project context. They
help ensure a relevant take-away for all the players.
A brief summary:
• INVITATION and INCENTIVE play on motivation, and the role of the
designer is to help the players envision the experience take-out. In
presenting incentives, the designer needs to manage expectations and
provide an interesting reward to keep people engaged.
• The SENSE OF IMPACT deals with awareness in the engagement. Players
need to know they are active agents, that they are changing a
narrative. The design of the interaction must comprise a response to
the act of participation and this response must be understood as
such. These feedback mechanisms are therefore key to sustaining the
• From seconds to months or years, consideration of TIMING addresses
both the immediacy of feedback mechanisms and sustaining momentum
over different periods of time.
• Planning CONTACT in an interaction affects the level of engagement.
A multi-sensory approach enhances the level of engagement and can
make the experience more memorable.
• OPENNESS is a crucial part of planning an interaction, the exchange
pieces presented were each open to change. Designers provide the
medium for the players to create their own stories within the grand
narrative of a project.
• RULES affect the overall structure of the exchange and will
directly impact the level of authorship given to participants. They
facilitate lines of communication and help to establish clear roles
for the players.
• AUTHORSHIP is the subject of a negotiation between the players. The
more authorship is shared, the more it allows for many stakeholders
to appropriate the piece, making it more customisable, and fostering
a sense of belonging, empowerment, and responsibility.
• INTERACTIVE TECHNOLOGIES can make the environment become an active,
responsive player. They serve as a great platform for contributions,
but must be studied within all the FCoI to insure quality of engagement.
For more information you may have a look at the short paper presented
at Include 07:
or don't hesitate to ask us questions!
Your feedback would also be very much appreciated,
Melissa and Kelsey