PhD Proposal by Erin Truesdell

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Date: October 6, 2022


Time: 10:00 AM


Link: https://gatech.zoom.us/j/92201818027


Committee: Dr. Brian Magerko, Dr. Anne Sullivan, Dr. Michael Nitsche, and Dr. Katherine Isbister (UC Santa Cruz)



Alternative controllers — physical input mechanisms for interactive media that are distinct from traditional console-affiliated handheld controllers or computer inputs (e.g. mice and keyboards) — are particularly well-suited to collaborative play contexts because they may be designed to take multiple or complementary inputs and thus support multiple simultaneous users. The wide design space available to designers of alternative controllers — unconstrained by the traditional user-experience notions of ease-of-use, transparency, and efficiency — offers designers great flexibility in creating playful experiences, which allows for design that supports a multitude of interaction types. Connecting the multitude of approaches for controller and interactive media design to the play activities of users is primarily an unanswered challenge.


My work seeks to remedy the gap in understanding between controller design and patterns of play by analyzing dyadic collaborative play with alternative controllers through the lens of creative sense-making, a cognitive framework that applies the concept of participatory sense-making to creative and improvisational domains. Creative sense-making offers an apt lens for deepening the field’s understanding of the relationship between controllers and players' experiences by taking into account both embodied action and social cognition. Analyses through this lens may be connected to design knowledge about alternative controllers from the literature, offering a robust understanding of the interactions between alternative controllers and players’ social cognition. Through the creation and creative sense-making analysis of three playful, interactive artifacts, I intend to develop a richer understanding of the interplay between physical affordance and play. This work could provide actionable knowledge for the designers of future systems that promote playful social experiences.



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Created: 09/27/2022
  • Modified By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Modified: 09/27/2022