SIAT - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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User perceptions of adaptivity in ubiquitous systems: a critical exploration

Author: 
Date created: 
2012-11-20
Abstract: 

This dissertation addresses a gap in the field of designing adaptivity for ubiquitous systems by taking a critical look at the notion of "adaptivity" from the perspective of user experience. Through a set of detailed case studies of several different systems, I develop a set of concepts related to the experience of adaptivity. These concepts are supplemented by a set of design considerations that can assist in designers in thinking about key issues connected to the concepts. My work is a first take on untangling the complex relationship between ubiquity, adaptivity and the design of novel systems. Through a collective case study, I examine the differences between the intended and actual experience of three adaptive systems: the Reading Glove, Kurio, and socio-echo. The Reading Glove was an interactive storytelling system involving a piece of wearable technology that allowed participants to trigger story information by picking up objects. An adaptive component guided the reader through the story by recommending objects to interact with next. Kurio was a museum guide system that involved playing an educational game distributed across a set of handheld and tabletop devices. The adaptive component attempted to gauge the appropriate learning level in assigning tasks to each individual. Socio-echo was a group game played in an ambient environment, where teams of players had to coordinate their physical movements to solve riddle-based levels. Characteristics of the group's movement, location and position were used to adapt the system's ambient feedback system. From the analysis of these cases, I draw out a set of interrelated concepts that are useful for designing adaptive systems. The experience of adaptivity is impacted by the user's awareness of adaptivity and the interpretation of the adaptive effects. Factors like trust, surprise, augmentation, legibility, collapse, confusion, control and choice also play a role in grappling with intelligent components within complex systems. This research highlights the complexity involved in designing the adaptive components of computing systems making use of tangible and other novel interface styles by examining some of the experiential effects of these new interaction paradigms and how they relate to the intentions of the designers.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Marek Hatala
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

The style of video games graphics: analyzing the functions of visual styles in storytelling and gameplay in video games

Author: 
Date created: 
2012-10-09
Abstract: 

Every video game has a distinct visual style however the functions of visual style in game graphics have rarely been investigated in terms of medium-specific design decisions. This thesis suggests that visual style in a video game shapes players’ gaming experience in terms of three salient dimensions: narrative pleasure, ludic challenge, and aesthetic reward. The thesis first develops a context based on the fields of aesthetics, art history, visual psychology, narrative studies and new media studies. Next it builds an analytical framework with two visual styles categories containing six separate modes. This research uses examples drawn from 29 games to illustrate and to instantiate the categories and the modes. The application of this analytical framework against the games reveals a series of design heuristics. Finally, the thesis findings, framework, and heuristics are tested in the detailed close reading and analysis of visual style in two representative video games.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jim Bizzocchi
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

How bicycle maps and trip planners can represent experience

Author: 
Date created: 
2012-10-30
Abstract: 

People who take utilitarian trips by bike – e.g., cycling to work, or to visit friends – do so because it’s fun. They choose pleasant and enjoyable routes. But existing bike trip planners neglect experience; it’s hard to know how enjoyable their suggested routes will be. By describing fun and enjoyment (or the lack thereof), an experiential trip planner could increase rates of cycling and improve cyclists’ quality of experience. In this thesis, I address the design of experiential trip planners: what they should communicate about experience and how to communicate it. My work has three major parts: (1) a framework describing the aspects of cycling experience; (2) a design exploration, culminating in prototype trip planners which try two different strategies of conveying experience; and (3) a qualitative study, to better understand the needs that an experiential trip planner can fill, and to evaluate the prototypes’ strategies for conveying experience.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Lyn Bartram
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

DiNa framework: supporting collaboration in the wild

Author: 
Date created: 
2012-09-07
Abstract: 

Much of the available collaboration support tools focus on sharing of documents and managing projects that require planned activities. These tools tend to fall short in meeting “principle of least effort”, or take into account the reality of complex overlapping scheduling of professionals. I propose DiNa, a set of recommendations as a framework for a topic-centric, as opposed to the conventional document-centric, collaboration system utilizing readily available devices. A series of prototypes are used to demonstrate the novel interaction techniques that enable collaborators to define ‘topics’ and address them in their own terms. The framework aims to complement existing systems, and the evaluation reveals suggestions for improving such systems for effective collaboration in different modes.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Halil Erhan
Robert Woodbury
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Enhancing change detection and model comprehension in parametric design systems

Author: 
Date created: 
2012-09-21
Abstract: 

Change detection, control and comprehension are important tasks in parametric design for agile analysis and informed decision-making. Increasing complexity of parametric systems interfaces and design models, combined with human visual perception limitations can negatively influence designers' performance. In this thesis, I investigate change detection and human visual perceptual mechanisms in the context of parametric design. I propose a set of debugging-like interaction techniques on dataflow graph interfaces to assist with change detection and model comprehension by enabling designers to identify data flow effects, parametric dependencies, and changes. The work presents a series of sketches, interactive demonstrations, as well as a high-fidelity interactive prototype to evaluate the effectiveness of the techniques. The results of the tasks-based talk-aloud user studies support the proposed design and reveal valuable recommendations for further improvements. The thesis provides generalizable knowledge for change detection and control that can be used in other systems showing similarities to parametric system interfaces.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Halil Erhan
Robert Woodbury
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Dance illusioning the cyborg: technological themes in the movement practices and audience perception of three urban dance styles

Date created: 
2012-09-11
Abstract: 

This interdisciplinary research develops and puts forward an exploratory analysis of three styles of urban dance: liquid, digitz, and finger tutting using Laban Movement Analysis, a rigorous methodology for analyzing human movement. I suggest that perceptual and cognitive principles, particularly Gestalt laws of perceptual organization and the spatial cognition principle of ‘structure from motion’, explain and underlie the visual expressive and communicative strength of these styles through a process I describe as dance illusioning. I put forward three dance illusioning modes: spatial tangibilization, rejointing, and spatial quantization. Furthermore, I develop a novel approach to explaining the effects of technology on dance praxis through a close reading of ethnographic and archival data in conjunction with structuralist and cognitive approaches for analyzing urban dance. I provide evidence on how the styles have historical connections with technological aesthetics and how the urban dance community have in part used technological themes to define their bodies and their movement philosophies. I therefore argue that the styles elicit a receptive reading of the dancing body as cyborgean in that it is simultaneously organic and technological, and of the performance environment as virtually constituted in that it contains invisible, mutable objects and structures that are revealed only through the dancers’ movement. In doing so, I contribute to scholarly perspectives on the historical interactions between technology and dance performance. I conclude by outlining directions for further research and propose that illusion-based dance as a community of practice embodies movement expertise that is of value for technology design.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Thecla Schiphorst
Lyn Bartram
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

How Wii™ play: incorporating Wii Fit Plus™ into a physical activity program for midlife and older women

Date created: 
2012-07-31
Abstract: 

Adults in industrialized countries are less physically fit than their counterparts twenty-five years ago. Exergames (encouraging players to be physically active through game play) are proposed as one means of encouraging inactive individuals to be active. The Wii Fitness Study tracked physical activity by midlife and older women after they were asked to play the commercially-produced exergame Wii Fit Plus as part of their overall program of physical activity. Thirty participants (ages 40-79) were tracked for three to six months. The data was collected and analyzed based on Kathy Charmaz's constructivist grounded theory approach. Data collection methods included semi-structured interviews, self-reported weekly minutes of activity, Wii console data, and previously validated fitness tests for aerobic endurance, lower body strength, and standing balance. The interviews and fitness tests were conducted at the beginning, mid-point, and conclusion of the study. Unlike traditional approaches, the numerical and textual data were compared using the constant comparative method of qualitative analysis. The frequency of Wii Fit Plus use was determined by the participants. While older and more sedentary players used the exergame throughout the study period, younger and more active participants preferred vigorous-intensity outdoor activities to indoor monitor-based play. For participants whose balance was poor earlier in the study, regular use of Wii Fit Plus improved their ability to stand one-legged. Wii Fit Plus balance games helped women over age fifty-four to determine that many of them could retrain their balancing ability. To participants who had been previously sedentary, the moderate-intensity forms of activity offered by Wii Fit Plus appeared optimal, and success playing the game encouraged those participants to continue their positive exercise experience. Participants wanted to remain ‘fit for life’, sustaining physical activity in multiple locations using diverse individualized approaches. This study has provided both reasons and evidence suggesting that exergame designers might usefully exhibit the same level of functional creativity as cell phone designers have done. Only then can the exergame become a vital part of an overall program of physical activity, equipping many more of us with the confidence and competence to become, and to remain, fit for life.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Tom Calvert
Suzanne de Castell
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Towards automated feature model configuration with optimizing the non-functional requirements

Author: 
Date created: 
2012-07-06
Abstract: 

A Software Product Line is a family of software systems in a domain, which share some common features but also have significant variabilities. A feature model is a variability modeling artifact, which represents differences among software products with respect to the variability relationships among their features. Having a feature model along with a reference model developed in the domain engineering lifecycle, a concrete product of the family is derived by binding the variation points in the feature model (called configuration process) and by instantiating the reference model. However, feature model configuration is a cumbersome task because of: 1) the large number of features in industrial feature models, which increases the complexity of the configuration process; 2) the positive or negative impact of the features on non-functional properties; and 3) the stakeholders’ preferences with respect to the desirable non-functional properties of the final product. Several configuration techniques have already been proposed to facilitate automated product derivation. However, most of the current proposals are not designed to consider stakeholders’ preferences and constraints especially with regard to non-functional properties. In this work we address the feature model configuration problem and propose a framework, which employs an artificial intelligence planning technique to automatically select suitable features that satisfy both the functional and non-functional preferences and constraints of stakeholders. We also provide tooling support to facilitate the use of our framework. Our experiments show that despite the complexity involved in the simultaneous consideration of both functional and non-functional properties, our configuration technique is scalable.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Marek Hatala
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Utilizing the natural environment for the exhibition of new media

Author: 
Date created: 
2012-06-27
Abstract: 

LocoMotoArt, an independent powered creative field system, was used as a vehicle for conducting media arts practice in natural setting for study of the relationship among humans, technology and the natural realm. Motivated by claims human disconnection to natural realm is a result of our intensive relationship with technology; I question whether it is possible for humans to experience a sense of greater interconnectedness with the natural world by way of digital technology. The polarities of acceptance and rejection of digital technologies in contemporary culture is explored through five artist projects and use of LocoMotoArt. I argue such technologies and their ubiquity provides new opportunities for humans to reconnect to nature. Findings indicate the notion of Human, Technology, Nature interconnectedness, is a possible conduit for establishing a relationship with digital technology beyond social networking, computing, information gathering and gaming, thus providing cognitive and social benefits of interacting with nature.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Philippe Pasquier
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

A study of everyday repair: informing interaction design

Date created: 
2012-06-22
Abstract: 

Repair is typically seen in design as the restoration of broken objects to their original state. Repair by non-experts, or everyday repair, can often lead to novel forms of repair resulting in the creative repurposing of objects that are often unforeseen by designers. Using a grounded theory approach, this study describes key aspects of repair including: the techniques non-experts employ for repairing their objects; the motivations that prompt acts of repair; and the outcomes that result from non-experts' repair techniques. Over the course of a year and a half, 42 participants between the ages 20-65 were interviewed with over 120 objects submitted of broken, repaired and repurposed artifacts. Both interview and image data were coded for distinguishing core concepts and categories, resulting in a theoretical framework. The goal of this framework is to inform the design of interactive technologies that anticipate the creative ways non-experts repair, reuse and repurpose their broken objects.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Ron Wakkary
Erik Stolterman, Carman Neustaedter
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.