I wonder ... Designing for Curiosity

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Keynote for the Museums+Tech 2016 Conference "Sharing Our Stories" at October 19, 2016 in London

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I wonder ... Designing for Curiosity

  1. 1. i wonder … Designing for Curiosity Sebastian Deterding (@dingstweets) Museums+Tech 2016, October 19, 2016 c b Image: JosephB
  2. 2. The other keynote speaker
  3. 3. Talk … play & games engagement design crowdsourcing AI/machine learning VR/AR/audio … to me. Centre for Digital Heritage
  4. 4. chapter 1 Storytime
  5. 5. exhibit #1 Curiosity* * like, literally
  6. 6. 2012: curiosity - what’s inside the cube?
  7. 7. In the first month: 3 million users 800,000 daily active users 5 billion cubes clicked
  8. 8. exhibit #2 Upworthy
  9. 9. Fasted growing media site in history1 6 mio. UU/m. in first 12 months1 90 mio. UU/m. in first 18 months2 79th largest US site in traffic3 3rd most fb likes/shares of any news site4 ... with 7.5 articles per day.4 (1) Forbes, 2013 (2) Quantcast, 2013 (3) Quantcast, 2014 (4) The Whip, 2013 2012
  10. 10. The Atlantic, 2013
  11. 11. HOW?* *?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!???!??!?!???????!?!?
  12. 12. all about that headline
  13. 13. so what makes a viral headline?
  14. 14. Link to their guide in online slides
  15. 15. curiosity drives engagement
  16. 16. so how do we drive curiosity?
  17. 17. chapter 2 How does curiosity work?
  18. 18. unpredictability Can I not reliably anticipate the future of this? solvability Am I able to resolve that inability? relevance Is the ability to anticipate this relevant to me? curiosity unpredictable, positively relevant, solvable, safe safety Is resolving this inability dangerous? fear unpredictable, (un)solvable, negatively relevant, unsafe curiosity: a motive to approach novel stimuli invitation Links in the online version
  19. 19. Invitation: Click me!
  20. 20. Not fully predictable. I tell you that there’s something, but not what – and it’s shocking, not what you’d expect.
  21. 21. Solvable. Did I mention you can click here? Come on. You know you want to.
  22. 22. Relevant. Really, it’s shocking! And its about what you would pay.
  23. 23. Safe. Honestly: Clicking never hurt anyone.
  24. 24. chapter 3 How to design for curiosity?
  25. 25. <1/4> safety
  26. 26. not this kind of safety
  27. 27. this kind “Don’t make me feel dumb.” Google “hacking shyness”
  28. 28. <2/4> relevance
  29. 29. “Create a need to know by organising learning around complex problems in engaging contexts.” katie salen-tekinbas
  30. 30. your mission: hack the election Build a mathematical model to explore and demonstrate how changing voting methods can elect different presidents despite the same votes.
  31. 31. can you escape in 60 minutes?
  32. 32. can you convince this creature it’s a fish/bird?
  33. 33. Answer, design for, start with “why care?” before “what’s to know?”
  34. 34. everyone should care about the climate. But what will make your audience care?
  35. 35. concrete personal speculative no knowledge test frames experience
  36. 36. <3/4> unpredictability
  37. 37. don’t bury the lede! (but hint and reveal bit by bit)
  38. 38. Answer, design for, start with “why care?” before “what’s to know?”
  39. 39. don’t fudge dump all your content at once.
  40. 40. Content is the candy. Curiosity is the wrapped package that makes me want it, piece by piece.
  41. 41. how radiolab does micorrhiza
  42. 42. Young girl loses her dog in the forest. Will she ever find it? Dog is howling from a deep ditch, sitting among a strange white thicket with roots. What is this stuff? Fast forward: Girl is now a scientist, discovers that tree species don’t fight: if a fir dies, the birches around also suffer. Why is that? We set up an experiment to see if this has something to do with the roots. Will food marked with radioactive isotopes stay in tree? Image: Marierodkjer
  43. 43. Trees share their food through a wood- wide web! But there’s something else … We dig up roots: magnifying glass shows seven miles of filaments in a pinch of dirt! What is this stuff? A fungus! The filaments are actually tubes. But why is it there? Why do the fungi do this? Why don’t the trees do it themselves? Trees can’t draw minerals, fungi can’t produce carbon: They enwrap each other and exchange carbon and minerals. But how do fungi get minerals?
  44. 44. Fungi mine tunnels through pebbles with acid! They invade insects and suck out their minerals! But how important is that, really? Up to 80% of sugers go to fungi, majority of minerals go to trees! And there’s more … Trees communicate through fungi with other trees via chemicals! Are trees and fungi an intelligent superorganism? A forest brain? THE END.
  45. 45. and how standard science ed does micorrhiza
  46. 46. fudge dump.
  47. 47. five forms of unpredictability Links in the online version
  48. 48. Novelty We are curious about novel experiences: something potentially enjoyable we haven't experienced yet has us wonder: "How does it feel?" We follow a promise or surprise signalling novelty if we feel we are able and safe to do so. ▪ What experiences, interactions, content do players know and expect in the given context? ▪ What haven't they experienced they might want to know how it feels? ▪ How might you signal that the new experience exists and is enjoyable without giving it away? ▪ Do players fear the experience might be overwhelming, boring, or unpleasant? How might you mitigate those fear? Instantiations: Novel Content, Novel Interactions, Novel Interfaces, Surprise. CU users users
  49. 49. what if?
  50. 50. even adults are curious about novel sensation
  51. 51. do not press the red button: novel content
  52. 52. wall to floor to ceiling: changing content
  53. 53. Surprise We feel good when our expectations are positively broken: something novel and good happens that we did not foresee. Such surprises stoke curiosity whether there might be further surprises in store, wondering: "Is there more like this?" A first surprise can thus become the hint in a hide-and-hint. ▪ What do players expect in this context (genre, level, interaction, situation, plot, menu, ...)? ▪ How might you positively break these expectations: something vastly more, better, or different? ▪ How might you first create or affirm the expectations – and then positively break them? ▪ How might you not reveal the existence of something positive for the player in your game until you surprise them with it? (Think level and interface design, but also packaging, marketing). Instantiations: Easter Eggs, Hidden Information, Panoramic Opening, Plot Twist. CU users user
  54. 54. innocent smoothies: easter eggs
  55. 55. timehop: easter eggs drive exploration
  56. 56. what if you… scroll beyond the edge?!?
  57. 57. “I wonder what else they’ve hidden…”
  58. 58. Hide-and-hint We are curious about potentially relevant information and resources that are hinted at but hidden. If we know about something, but not its content, we wonder: "What is there?" ▪ What information or resources are relevant to players at this point? ▪ How might you hide their specific content away? ▪ How might you hint at their existence? ▪ How might you signal their potential relevance? ▪ How might you help players feel that they can follow that hint safely? Instantiations: Cliffhanger, Fog of War, Hidden Information, Locked Abilities, Locked Content, Locked Items, Skill Tree, Tech Tree. CU users users Hint-and-hide
  59. 59. upworthy: curiosity gap
  60. 60. command & conquer: fog of war
  61. 61. which is more curiosity-inducing?
  62. 62. linkedin
  63. 63. york castle museum
  64. 64. the drowned man: environmental storytelling
  65. 65. Unresolved Complexity We are curious about unclear meanings or paths to a positively relevant outcome, wondering: "What's the solution?" ▪ How might you make a situation positively relevant? How might you signal this to players? ▪ How might you create a complex, non-obvious path to or symbol within that situation? ▪ Do players feel confident they can find the path or meaning? If not, how might you instil that confidence? ▪ How might you offer leads that spark multiple hypotheses for paths or meanings that players want to test? ▪ How might you help players feel that they can safely test these hypotheses? Instantiations: Puzzles, Whodunnits. CU
  66. 66. interactives
  67. 67. new scientist festival: space on earth
  68. 68. Possibility Space We are curious and feel autonomous in front of an untested possibility space, wondering: "What if …?" Possibility spaces arise from recombinable items or actions with no prescribed goals and emergent effects that feel unpredictable but over time, guessable and reliably learnable. ▪ What actions and/or items might you offer to combine? ▪ Do they produce a combinatorial explosion of effects that are logical but not foreseeable by you? ▪ How might you give players space, time, and license to try their own combinations? ▪ How might you balance effects so that they are neither unpredictably chaotic nor predictable? ▪ How might you give openings that suggest new combinations to try: constraints, traces of others, random suggestions, or half-begun things? ▪ How might you make testing an untried combination relevant – e.g. with novelty, competence, or self- expression? ▪ How might you help players feel that they can safely test new combinations? Instantiations: Building blocks, Editors. CU/AU
  69. 69. lego: the original possibility space
  70. 70. toca hair salon
  71. 71. people find possibility spaces everywhere
  72. 72. exploratorium
  73. 73. barbican: the light machine
  74. 74. <4/4> solvability
  75. 75. dan meyer: math education
  76. 76. this is puzzle design!
  77. 77. trivial Not a (good) puzzle impossible Not a (good) puzzle solvable A (good) puzzle
  78. 78. trivial Not a (good) puzzle impossible Not a (good) puzzle solvable A (good) puzzle
  79. 79. chapter 4 Summary
  80. 80. curiosity is a powerful motive.
  81. 81. unpredictability Can I not reliably anticipate the future of this? solvability Am I able to resolve that inability? relevance Is the ability to anticipate this relevant to me? curiosity novel, comprehensible, positively relevant, safe safety Is resolving this inability dangerous? fear novel, (in)comprehensible, negatively relevant, unsafe stoke it by inviting to a relevant, safe, solvable unpredictability invitation
  82. 82. let me safely expose my lack of knowledge “Don’t make me feel dumb.”
  83. 83. make me care before telling me what’s to know
  84. 84. give me a puzzle i’m able and proud to solve
  85. 85. and don’t fudge dump your content on me:
  86. 86. Image: Marierodkjer unwrap yourself bit by bit …
  87. 87. teasing me with novel experiences, ...
  88. 88. … surprises, ...
  89. 89. … hinting-and-hiding, ...
  90. 90. … unresolved complexity, ...
  91. 91. … and rich possibility spaces.
  92. 92. sebastian@codingconduct.cc @dingstweets codingconduct.cc thank you.

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