Valuably Unsought: Systems for Digital Serendipity

At the ISEA2017 proceedings, a paper by Ricardo Melo and myself:

Contemporary interaction with media is mediated through a plethora of digital systems, conditioning said interaction to the experiences that these systems anticipate and limiting the potential of the medium for surprise and serendipity. Through a literature-review and system analysis, we assert the value of serendipity in our digital interactions, arguing the necessity of a distinction between Natural and Artificial Serendipity, while establishing key areas of action of serendipitous systems: Information Encountering, Experience, Collaboration, Creativity and X. We identify specific systems within each of these key areas, as well as their methods and mechanics for achieving Artificial Serendipity in the Digital Medium.

Regarding Value in Digital Serendipitous Interactions

The Journal of Science and Technology of the Arts vol. 8, number 2, has just been published. This issue includes a paper by Ricardo Melo and myself, “Regarding Value in Digital Serendipitous Interactions”.

Digital technologies have become our privileged method of interacting with information. With their ubiquity, and focus on personalisation, optimisation and functionality, chance and accidental interactions in the Digital Medium are being replaced with filtered, predictable and known ones, limiting the scope of possible user experiences.

In order to promote the design of richer experiences that go beyond the functionally-driven paradigm, we propose that digital systems be designed in order to favour serendipity. Through a literature-based analysis of serendipity, we explore the distinct meanings of value that are possible with serendipitous systems, offering examples of the current state of the art, observing the methods used to do so, and proposing a possible typology, while highlighting unexplored fields, experiences and interactions.

Defamiliarisation towards Divergency

The xCoAx 2016 proceedings have just been published, including a paper by Ricardo Melo and myself.

Digital interactive systems have systematically been designed in order to cater to the user’s desires, through user-friendly and user-centred design methodologies, privileging pleasurable and effective experiences. While this may be necessary and a worthy pursuit in many cases, it led to the rise of convergent systems focusing mainly on efficiency, productivity, and optimisation not only in those areas of our lives that require this mindset but to all areas regardless, relegating the interactor to the role a client experiencing a product, while limiting the creative and exploratory potential of the digital medium. In order to introduce divergency, we propose the concept of defamiliarisation as a method to reduce the predictability of interactions with digital technology, and suggest possible methods to accomplish it in interactive systems.