Agent-Based Modelling of Emotional Goals in Digital Media Design Projects

Agent-Based Modelling of Emotional Goals in Digital Media Design Projects

James Marshall (Swinburne University of Technology, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3822-6.ch034
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The authors promote agent-oriented models to identify, represent and evaluate high-level abstractions of digital media design projects. A major aspect is the introduction of emotional goals, in addition to functional goals and quality goals to describe feelings such as having fun, being engaged and feeling cared for. To establish emotional goals, digital media design methods and processes were employed including the development of emotional scripts, user profiles, mood boards and following an iterative participatory design process. This approach proved to be highly successful, not only to represent emotional goals such as fun, tension and empathy, but also to facilitate the ideation, creation and progressive evaluation of projects. The process supports communication between designers, developers and other stakeholders in large multidisciplinary development teams by providing a shared language and common artefact. The process is demonstrated in the development of a Multiplayer Online Role Play Game (MORPG) called Aspergion that promotes respect for people with Asperger's Syndrome.
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2. Emotional Goals In Design

Sociotechnical systems are complex interactions between people and technology. They can be defined as a system that includes hardware and software, has defined operational processes and offers an interface, implemented in software, to humans.

Sociotechnical systems exist to support human activities, such as guarding of a building, trading, planning a route, and flirting. (Sterling & Taveter, 2009)

The consideration of emotions is important in the development of many sociotechnical systems. If a computer game does not feel fun, we will not play it; if an ecommerce website does not feel trustworthy (irrespective of the actual security) we will not purchase from it; and if a social networking application does not feel engaging we will not use it. We describe these as the emotional goals of the system, which we define as goals that aim to affect people’s emotional state or wellbeing. These include basic emotions such as happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust, human factors like engagement and more abstract descriptions of feelings such as fresh, cool, wicked and fun.

Emotional goals, often described by designers as the look and feel or values of a product, have always played an important role in design considerations (Desmet & Hekkert, 2009). The industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger who worked on Apple product lines from 1984 to 90 expresses the importance of considering emotions, saying that; “even if a design is elegant and functional, it will not have a place in our lives unless it can appeal at a deeper level, to our emotions […] form follows emotion” (Esslinger quoted in Demirbilek & Sener, 2003).

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