Designing for Social Interaction in Open-Ended Play Environments
Linda de Valk, Tilde Bekker, Berry Eggen


Interactive technology is becoming more strongly integrated in innovative play solutions. As play is often a social experience, understanding the dynamic social context in which such play takes place is an essential step in designing new interactive play environments. In this paper, we explore the notion of social interaction in the context of open-ended play environments. We present an integrated model of interaction and transitions over time. Next, we describe two design case studies of open-ended, interactive play environments, GlowSteps and Wobble, discussing how these designs support social interaction over time. Results show that social interaction changes over time, starting with solitary play and moving towards more complex social play later on. These results are translated into implications for design, which guide designers in achieving a better understanding of how to design for the social context of their design proposals.

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