Ludic Interaction

March 12, 2008 at 11:14 am Leave a comment

Traditional design starts from a functional point of view, depending on how the technology behind a product was built. Modern design is about mediating an experience between the user and the product. This brings about the related field of aesthetics of interaction, which focuses on the aesthetical values perceived during use, and not so much on the appearance of a design.

The question that come to mind is, how can we make interactions more engaging and playful, while at the same time providing openness of interpretation and narrative of use? As a designer you cannot design the way people interact, but you do have possibility to design products with distinct interaction styles which invites to explore and leave room for people to find their own meanings and uses for it.

By nature we are playful creatures or as to speak in Huizinga’s terms – we are Homo Ludens (the playing human). In life we just don’t engage only in the form of problem solving or goals to tasks to be pursued, but also by our ludic engagement with the world: our curiosity, our love of diversion, our explorations, inventions and wonder.

Ludic derives from Latin ludus, “play” and means literally ‘playful’, and refers to any philosophy where play is the prime purpose of life and connotes anything that is “fun”. Play can be used to describe a wide variety of experiences but in essence can be defined best as “free movement within a more rigid structure”.

Ludic activities are motivated by values of curiosity, exploration, surprise, wonder and reflection rather than by externally defined tasks. These values stimulate the intrinsic motivation to interact with a design or to say it short feed the desire to play.

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