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Desperately Seeking Theory

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My keynote for the ICA 2017 Preconference "My So-Called Gamified Life" in San Diego, CA, May 25, 2017.

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Desperately Seeking Theory

  1. 1. Image: JosephB DESPERATELY SEEKING THEORY Gamification, Theory, and the Promise of a New Science of Interaction Design ICA 2017 Preconference Sebastian Deterding @dingstweets
  2. 2. chapter 1 A Fable
  3. 3. meet alberto linguini I want to know how to bake a delicious cake.
  4. 4. Interventions: Eating Research and Practice EATING RESEARCH AND PRACTICE The 67th Annual Conference of the International Eating Association ABOUT #iea17 IEA 67th Annual Conference of the International Eating Association
  5. 5. Coating required? The Impact of Patisserieness on Taste in Baked Goods
  6. 6. low patisserieness medium patisserieness high patisserieness
  7. 7. 12.2 Implications for Cooking 12.2 Implications for Cooking … “For more tasty baked goods, consider a higher degree of patisserieness, such as cupcakes or cakes.” …
  8. 8. Nutrition Science
  9. 9. Hi, I’m a chef and read your paper. Can I ask you a question? Sure, my pleasure. How do I bake a delicious cake? Our results show that people find high patisserieness very tasty. So how do I do that? Have you thought about baking a cake? Yes. I’m already making a cake. How do I make a delicious cake? Well, make it … very caky I guess?
  10. 10. Nutrition Science
  11. 11. How do ingredients, mixtures, and preparation methods reliably create desired flavor profiles?
  12. 12. too abstract, coarse design constructs too abstract, coarse effect constructs
  13. 13. enter gamification
  14. 14. the theoretical question of gamification how do cognitive states afford behaviour affect design features ?
  15. 15. This is a grand question inviting a science of experience design
  16. 16. So how are we doing?
  17. 17. chapter 2 The Status Quo
  18. 18. we are stuck in groundhog day
  19. 19. “does gamification work?”
  20. 20. Mu.
  21. 21. “does medicine work?”
  22. 22. “A muddle of things we here call ‘gamification’ affect a muddle of things we here call ‘engagement’, unless when they don’t, in ways we assume but never tested. More research is needed.” the resultant default contribution
  23. 23. which doesn’t help our friend I want to know how to bake a delicious cake.
  24. 24. we need to ask better questions Does medicine work? What active substance in what dosage affects what condition under what circumstances? HOW? Do 500mg orally administered acetylsalicylic acid affect migraine in adult chronic migraine patients? How? Does gamification work? Do public displays of achieved difficult goals support goal- setting in achievement-oriented individuals? HOW?
  25. 25. To ask better questions, we need theory.
  26. 26. A set of statements expressing a nomological network of constructs and their relations, tied to observable phenomena through operationalisations. what is theory (quick refresher) Whitney, Kite & Adams, 2013; Cronbach & Meehl, 1955
  27. 27. without theory, no science
  28. 28. chapter 3 The Issue
  29. 29. the current basic mediation model design element 2 magic motivation! behaviour design element 1 design element 3 e.g. Hamari, Koivisti & Sarsa 2014
  30. 30. the current state of gamification theory
  31. 31. our biblical texts
  32. 32. the issues with design elements design element 2 magic motivation! behaviour design element 1 design element 3
  33. 33. #1 when is “a badge” a badge?
  34. 34. #2 we have chinese encyclopedias “… a certain Chinese encyclopaedia entitled ‘Celestial Empire of benevolent Knowledge’. In its remote pages it is written that the animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies.”
  35. 35. Hamari, Koivisti & Sarsa 2014
  36. 36. badges points leader boards levels feedback cleargoals reward progress challenge story/ theme
  37. 37. #3 all exegesis, no new species
  38. 38. #4 stuck on low-level design instantiations where the action is today Deterding et al., 2011
  39. 39. the issues with processes design element 2 magic motivation! behaviour design element 1 design element 3
  40. 40. #1 motives are multiple
  41. 41. “Motivation’s new paradigm is one in which behavior is energized and directed not by a single grand cause but, instead, by a multitude of multilevel and coacting influences.” johnmarshall reeve Reeve, 2009
  42. 42. design element 1 design element 2 design element 3 behaviour competence autonomy relatedness meaning curiosity ...
  43. 43. #2 none of this is empirically tested
  44. 44. the underlying issues of both design element 2 magic motivation! behaviour design element 1 design element 3
  45. 45. #1 elements are multi-functional goal-settinginstruction group identification status reputation Antin & Churchill, 2011
  46. 46. #2 function results from active appraisal Deci & Ryan, 2001 feedback appraised as controlling thwarts autonomy motivation appraised as informing supports competence + –
  47. 47. #3 appraisal and function are contextual Reeve, 2006
  48. 48. #4 function is systemic-emergent
  49. 49. #4 function is systemic-emergent aesthetics Boring end game mechanics dynamics Slow poverty gap +$ !+ -$ !-
  50. 50. #4 function is systemic-emergent aesthetics Boring end game mechanics dynamics Slow poverty gap +$ !+ -$ !- Function arises from this
  51. 51. #4 function is systemic-emergent aesthetics Boring end game mechanics dynamics Slow poverty gap +$ !+ -$ !- Not this
  52. 52. function is a dynamic person-situation relation e.g. in flow difficulty skill/time frustration boredom flow Csikszentmihalyi, 1990
  53. 53. e.g. in curiosity Silva, 2006
  54. 54. Wong, 2012 points badges leaderboards Progress Goal-setting Achievement we focus on concrete yet underspecified instantiations … … when we should look at what features in relation to what dispositions and contexts afford what motivational functions
  55. 55. Simon, 1996 “Fulfillment of purpose involves as relation among three terms: the purpose, the character of the artifact, and the environment in which the artifact performs.” herbert simon
  56. 56. functions emerge from functional mechanisms …
  57. 57. … that can be instantiated in many ways.
  58. 58. locating functions in isolated surface instantiations is cargo cult thinking.
  59. 59. which results in design by copy & paste …
  60. 60. badges points leader boards levels feedback cleargoals reward progress challenge story/ theme … conceptual muddles …
  61. 61. … and zero scientific progress.
  62. 62. we need different, mechanistic constructs and models Deterding, under review motivational affordance The complex of necessary and sufficient relations of actor dispositions and environment features that render an action or event functionally significant for a specific motive
  63. 63. fuelling different kinds of questions Do badges (on average) drive engagement (via achievement motivation)? What complex of necessary and sufficient environmental features and actor dispositions reliably gives rise to achievement motivation?
  64. 64. and then we need a linné
  65. 65. an empirically grounded, well-operationalised, well-formed taxonomy
  66. 66. this is a massive undertaking
  67. 67. • Gamification research takes the design elements of early industry literature for granted, testing their average effects • “Design elements” as analytic units are both over- determined and under-specified • We need theory modeling and testing functional mechanisms behind specific motives a.k.a. affordances • We need systematic bottom-up empirical work identifying affordances underneath and beyond industry literature in summary
  68. 68. chapter 4 The Opportunity
  69. 69. Kramer,Guillory&Hancock,2015
  70. 70. “Facebook has created a laboratory of human behavior the likes of which we’ve never seen.” jad abumrad NPR, 2015
  71. 71. At any moment, software companies are running millions of a/b tests to optimise user engagement, each an experiment in waiting.
  72. 72. ( )
  73. 73. fuelling the automation of design
  74. 74. the scale for a massive undertaking
  75. 75. But to know what to test and how to automate, you need theory.
  76. 76. LOMAS, 2015 “Online hypothesis testing can accelerate both applied and basic Interaction Design Science by making it fast and easy to obtain ecologically-valid measures of the effects of designs on user behavior. Online controlled experiments can help build practical, generalizable, and scientifically-validated theories of how and why designs affect human interactions.” derek lomas
  77. 77. LOMAS, 2015
  78. 78. an example
  79. 79. basic theory difficulty skill/time frustration boredom flow Csikszentmihalyi, 1990
  80. 80. basic question: what’s the optimal curve? difficulty skill/time Alexander, Sear & Oikonomou, 2013; Sampayo-Vargas et al., 2013; Brazil & Blau, 2014
  81. 81. practical application: crowdsourcing
  82. 82. practical challenge: ordering unknown, immutable tasks difficulty skill/time ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
  83. 83. Performance data Improvement suggestions Task length design Task descriptions Initial balancing theories Initial indicators of skill Optimal difficulty curve Indicators for skill, difficulty researcher designeruser Task sequence & task support & feedback Engagement & performance data data/ai
  84. 84. chapter 5 Summary
  85. 85. gamification could seed a grand new science of design … how do cognitive states affect behaviour affect design features ?
  86. 86. … but is stuck in groundhog day.
  87. 87. to begin systematically building knowledge …
  88. 88. … we need to start asking better questions.
  89. 89. To ask better questions, we need theory.
  90. 90. we need to replace industry scholasticism …
  91. 91. and cargo cult design …
  92. 92. … with better constructs and mechanistic models … Deterding, under review motivational affordance The complex of necessary and sufficient relations of actor dispositions and environment features that render an action or event functionally significant for a specific motive
  93. 93. … and empirical, bottom-up taxonomies.
  94. 94. this is a massive undertaking …
  95. 95. ( ) … with a matching massive opportunity.
  96. 96. we can be at the forefront of design evolution …
  97. 97. … if we loop industry and research together.
  98. 98. sebastian@codingconduct.cc @dingstweets codingconduct.cc thank you.
  99. 99. 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
  100. 100. command & conquer: fog of war
  101. 101. upworthy: curiosity gap
  102. 102. linkedin: teaser

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