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The 12th chapter in the series deals with what HCI specialists call ‘affective computing’ (influencing emotion, and completely different  from  ’effective’).

As Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Interaction Design moved from designing and evaluating work-oriented applications towards dealing with leisure-oriented applications, such as games, social computing, art, and tools for creativity, we have had to consider e.g. what constitutes an experience, how to deal with users’ emotions, and understanding aesthetic practices and experiences.

The author Kia Höök describes three strands of affective computing: 1. Affective computing (based on cognition, and the most widely known); 2. Affective interaction (coming from a more culture-based angle); and 3. Technology as experience (arguably more art-based).

The different angles show projects that range from helping people with autism to creating text messages with emotion-related colours.

She finishes with a caution that with affective computing “we may easily cross the thin line from persuasion to coercion, creating for technological control of our behavior and bodies.” Her example is a parody fitness app ”I’m sorry, Dave, you shouldn’t eat that. Dave, you know I don’t like it when you eat donuts” just as you are about to grab a donut.”, but she could be talking about the XKCD take on Facebook suggestions as well.

As anyone who’s read the series will have come to expect, it has more references and videos than you can shake a stick at.

Vicky Teinaki

An England-based Kiwi, Vicky is doing a PhD at Northumbria University into how designers can better talk about touch and products. When not researching or keeping Johnny Holland running, she does the odd bit of web development, pretends her TV licence money goes only to Steven Moffatt shows, and tweets prolifically about all of the above as @vickytnz.

2 comments on this article

  1. Pingback: Putting people first » Affective computing

  2. Mads Soegaard on

    Dear Vicky and the rest of you!

    Thanks for mentioning the Affective Computing chapter! That means a lot to all of us at Interaction-Design.org

    All the best,

    Mads (editor-in-chief at Interaction-Design (and a Johnny-wannabe))

    :-)