Electronic furniture for the curious home: Assessing ludic designs in the field

William Gaver*, John Bowers, Andrew Boucher, Andy Law, Sarah Pennington, Brendan Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This article describes field trials of 3 electronic furniture prototypes designed to encourage ludic engagement in the home. The Drift Table shows slowly scrolling aerial photography controlled by the weight of the objects on its surface. The History Tablecloth creates slowly growing "halos" around things left on it. The Key Table measures the force with which people put things on it and tilts a picture frame to indicate their mood. The pieces were loaned to different households for periods of 1 to 3 months. Because they were designed for user appropriation, a hypothesis-testing paradigm is inappropriate for evaluating their success. The focus instead was on gathering rich, multilayered accounts of people's experience through ethnographic observations and documentary videos. The results helped assess the particular designs, draw lessons for ludic design more generally, and reflect on field methods for evaluating open-ended designs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-152
Number of pages34
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes

Research Group keywords

  • Interaction Research Studio


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