deformTable: A Design Inquiry and Long-Term Field Study into Creative and Contingent Appropriations of a Shape-Changing Artifact
Ce Zhong, Ron Wakkary, Amy Yo Sue Chen, Doenja Oogjes


In this paper, we propose that a materiality approach can sustain creative and contingent appropriations of a particular shape-changing artifact in everyday settings over time. We support this proposal by designing and deploying five deformTables to five households for approximately one year to gather empirical insights. deformTable is a shape-changing artifact that can go up with the change in weight or pressure applied to its top surface. Findings suggest that participants adopted the shape-changing artifact for routine exercises and ludic purposes in the early months of living with deformTable. Some further decorated the shape-changing interface with tools in their homes, while others sketched and performed music with deformTable. Over time, deformTable provoked rich experiences of creative actions across different homes. Reflecting on these empirical findings contributes implications for further explorations on designing for ludic appropriation, individual improvisation, and shape-changing interfaces to be shaped through use.

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