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

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Understanding the role of interaction designers’ personal experiences in interaction design practice

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-07-04
Abstract: 

Using designers’ personal experiences in interaction design practice is usually considered as a questionable approach by rationalist in HCI. Perhaps for this reason, little work has been conducted to investigate how designers’ personal experiences can contribute to technology design. Yet it’s undeniable designers have applied their personal experiences into design practice and also benefited from such experiences. This thesis reports on a multiple case study that looks at how interaction designers worked with their personal experiences in three industrial interaction design projects, thus calling for the need to explicitly recognize the legitimacy of using designers’ personal experiences in interaction design practice. In this study, a designer’s personal experiences refer to the collections of his/her individual experiences that derived from his/her direct observation or participation in past real-life events and activities as well as his/her interaction with design artifacts and systems whether digital or not in professional and personal contexts.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Ron Wakkary
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Exploring the notion of ‘Grinding’ in massively multiplayer online role playing gamer discourse: the case of Guild Wars

Date created: 
2013-05-29
Abstract: 

The grind in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) has been described by game studies theorists as an inscrutable, paradoxical convergence of work and play (Dibbell, 2006; Yee, 2006), troubling previously held notions about the carefree nature of play as advanced by seminal theorists such as Johan Huizinga (1951). However, despite the recent academic fervor around MMOGs, examinations of the grind offer little insight into why players grind, and even less about what the grind means to its practitioners. Studying the collected forum and interview texts of a six-year old MMOG community, this dissertation adopts a Wittgensteinian approach to discourse analysis in an effort to learn more about the grind and what it means to the players who practice it. This ‘mapping out’ of the grind’s meaning in the Guild Wars community is intended to both start and/or contribute to a dialog in game studies that examines how play can be situated theoretically with respect to phenomena so often construed as undesirable by its players while also providing a functional instrument for others to adopt in their further analysis of this phenomenon.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Bowes
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Game Design Framework and Guidelines Based on a Theory of Visual Attention

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-05-28
Abstract: 

The design of video games has a tremendous impact in shaping our experience, and one area is through their visual designs. Action games in particular engulf the player in highly dynamic and sensory rich environments where challenges can easily be misperceived. For example, the player may feel overwhelmed, fail to notice important elements, or take the wrong course of action as a result of distractions. Pinpointing and solving these problems are difficult without taking into consideration the underlying mechanisms of human visual information processing. In this effort, this dissertation develops a perception-based game design framework supported by a theory of visual attention. This framework was applied to consider perceptual features of motion affecting the visual design, and their effects on the player’s experience. Perceptual features of motion are often overlooked in games, but cannot be ignored. Perception and attention researchers found numerous effects of motion on users’ task performances and affective responses that are of interest to the game design and user research community. The contribution of this work consists of an investigation of a perception-based framework for elements in motion within commercial and an experimental game called EMOS (Expressive MOtion Shooter). This is followed by identifying and validating two perception-based guidelines. The guidelines are novel such they are empirically expressed, based on expert game designers’ manipulations of perceptual features in EMOS. This contribution also benefits the design and human computer interaction communities, since results include qualitative reflections from game designers concerning this topic.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lyn Bartram
Magy Seif El-Nasr
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Technology preferences and routines for distributed families coping with a chronic illness

Date created: 
2013-04-02
Abstract: 

Most family members want to stay aware of each other’s activities on an ongoing basis to maintain a sense of connectedness. In situations where a family member is ill, the desire to stay connected increases, as many families face the challenges of coping with the diagnosis and treatment of a chronic illness. Previous research has evaluated technologies designed to support patients and caregivers with personal health information management and sharing. However, we still do not have a detailed understanding of which technologies are preferred and what challenges people still face when sharing information with them. To address this problem, this thesis reports on a mixed-method study that explores technology preferences and health information sharing routines of distributed families coping with a chronic illness. The aim of these studies was to explore the nuances of technology selection and usage in such situations. The findings illustrate the reasons why people choose certain technologies over others, the ways in which they use them, and the challenges they face. Findings also point to the need for tools that mediate sharing health information across distance and age gaps, with consideration to respecting patient privacy and supportive roles while sharing such information.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Carman Neustaedter
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Integrating Annotative Notes and Data in the Analysis Process

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-04-03
Abstract: 

Analysts need to keep track of their analytic findings, observations, ideas, and hypotheses throughout the analysis process. While some visual analytics tools support such note taking needs, these notes are often represented as objects separate from the data and in a workspace separate from the data visualizations. Representing notes the same way as the data and integrating them with data visualizations can enable analysts to build a more cohesive picture of notes and data. We created a note taking functionality called CZNotes within the visual analytics tool CZSaw for analyzing unstructured text documents. CZNotes are designed to use the same model as the data and can thus be visualized in CZSaw's existing data views.We conducted a preliminary user study to observe the use of CZNotes and observed that CZNotes has the potential to support progressive analysis, to act as a shortcut to the data, and supports creation of new data relationships.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Dill
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Propagation of change and visualization of causality in dependency structures

Date created: 
2013-03-27
Abstract: 

Analysts use visual analytics tools to gain insight through data. But one problem of these tools is the complexity of the analytics process itself. Sometimes the analyst has to repeat the same task during the analysis; to rerun some previous queries or to update the state of the system by the arrival of new data. CZSaw is a visual analytics tool that stores the process of analysis and visualizes it. The dependency graph of CZSaw allows parts of the analytical process to be reused on new data to prevent repetition of those parts. This document describes the design and development of CZSaw’s dependency graph as well as its visualization. A major challenge is visualization of causality in the graph when an update gets propagated. We compare three different causality visualization methods in terms of task completion duration and accuracy in a study.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Chris Shaw
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Neo-modernist visual design of avatars in second life

Date created: 
2010-11-12
Abstract: 

This qualitative research considers the suitability of importing a Modernist aesthetic framework onto an avatar’s visual design in Second Life. This thesis explores whether the “archaic” Modernist concept of “medium specificity” can still be creatively expressed within the Post-Modern context of digitally plastic “multi-media” environments. This research focuses on avatar artefacts as a means to better understand Second Life’s distinct design properties. The researcher assumed the participant-observer role of a “Modern Art-Critic” in order to personify the Modernist discourse through avatar interaction. Specific activities included a case-study (which included a workshop and subsequent focus group), expert interviews and the textual analysis of avatar designs. Based on these activities, the thesis articulates seven higher level findings. These findings illustrate Modernist issues involving abstraction and representation. The results also indicate that the participants attributed more “narrative” associations towards their “abstract” avatars than initially hypothesized.

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

Semantic Web-Enabled Interventions to Support Workplace Learning

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-01-29
Abstract: 

To keep pace with today’s rapidly growing knowledge-driven society, continuous learning in workplaces and being able to self-regulate one’s learning processes have become essential. In this dissertation, I propose a set of interventions, developed using Semantic-Web technologies, to scaffold self-regulated learning (SRL) processes in workplaces. I integrate social embeddedness elements with harmonization components in the functionalities provided by these interventions to accentuate the social and contextual dimensions of workplace learning. To measure users’ SRL processes, I developed a trace-based protocol which captures users’ low-level trace data on the fly and translates them into higher level SRL events, contingencies and graphs of users’ learning actions. Findings of this research suggest that elements from both social and organizational aspects of a workplace should be integrated into the design and development of interventions which aim to support users’ SRL processes in that environment. Users’ perceived usefulness of the interventions show that they do consider the social context of their organization when planning their learning goals; yet, they prefer to know clearly what competences their organization expects them to achieve. Analysis of users’ trace data, on the other hand, indicates a relative balance between users’ reliance on both social and organizational contexts. The Social Wave intervention, which brought users updates from their social context, was the most central one during their learning actions, also the strongest determinant of users’ engagement in SRL processes. The next most central intervention included the one that informed users about how various learning resources were used by their colleagues, along with the two interventions providing users with the organizational context of their workplace. This theoretically-grounded understanding can guide researchers in intervention planning and development for workplace settings. Also, the trace-based methodology developed within this work takes promising steps toward adopting new methodological approaches in investigating SRL, and offers new ways to achieve insight into factors that promote knowledge workers’ use of self-regulatory processes. Future research can gain substantially by applying social analytics on users’ trace data collected using trace methodologies, merged with other quantitative and qualitative means for gathering data about users’ SRL beliefs and processes.

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

Ontological model for representation of learning objectives

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Learning objects have been used to provide personalized learning experiences. In particular, sequenced learning objects are recommended according to unique individual learning objectives. The opportunity for personalization by learning objectives is not fully exploited due to limited and duplicated efforts in creating learning objectives and connecting them with learning objects. Additionally, current standardization efforts do not offer sufficient support of automatic discovery of learning objects. This thesis proposes an ontological representation model of learning objective description that aims to improve the effectiveness of consistent learning objective description, sequencing rules representation, and the availability of learning objects for personalization by learning objectives. An evaluation of the model showed that it improves the discoverability of learning objects by learning objective through annotating learning objectives in the metadata of learning objects and qualitative representation of learning objectives.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Interactive Arts and Technology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.Sc)

Iterative Model-based System for Learning Object Review

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

In learning object review, reviewers can write reviews by commenting or rating review rubrics or categories. Besides learning object review, another demand in education activities is a learning tool to help students to complete assignments by writing summaries or answering questions on designated research papers (or simulation software). Compared with learning object review, this process has the similar steps, but with rubrics. Elorp, my thesis project, is developed by sharing some ideas with the learning object review process and is implemented on top of eLera [3]. Elorp introduces an iterative review model with support of state-control and provides two scenarios for students and faculty. In order to get feedback on iterative review models and system design, an evaluation experiment is conducted. The evaluation result showed that the design for Elorp has been successfully implemented and the iterative review model is helpful for students to complete reviewlsummary assignments.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
School of Interactive Arts and Technology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.A.Sc.)