Jun 26 2008


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Abstracts Hidden/Shown

Aldred, J., Biddle, R., Eaket, C., Greenspan, B., Mastey, D., Tran, M. Q., & Whitson, J. (2007). Playscripts: A new method for analyzing game design and play. International Academic Conference on the Future of Game Design and Technology. Toronto, Canada: ACM.

We propose a methodological framework for game analysis that uses the notion of ‘scripting’ as the basis for game intepretation and design. Drawing upon several disciplines and domains, this paper provides a template for critical analysis by outlining seven forms of scripting at work in games, and how these scripts either complement or compete with each other in various types of games. This system of analysis not only comprises the different technical, social or cognitive scripts that operate within the various modules of any given game, but also provides a method for the comparative study of different games, as well as a framework for building improved scripting and work flow tools for game designers.

Barr, P., Noble, J., & Biddle, R. (2007). Videogame values: Human-computer interaction and games. Interacting with Computers. 19(2), 180-195.

Current Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research into videogames rarely considers how they are different from other forms of software. This leads to research that, while useful concerning standard issues of interface de- sign, does not address the nature of videogames as games specifically. Unlike most software, videogames are not made to support external, user-defined tasks, but instead define their own activities for players to engage in. We argue that videogames contain systems of values which players perceive and adopt, and which shape the play of the game. A focus on videogame values promotes a holistic view of videogames as software, media, and as games specifically, which leads to a genuine videogame HCI.

Chiasson, S., Biddle, R., & Somaya ji, A. (2007). Even experts deserve usable security: Design guidelines for security management systems. Proceedings of USM2007: Usable IT Security Management.

Contrary to end-users, security is a primary task for those charged with the security of system or network.  Despite the importance of the task, little is known about how to effectively design interfaces for security management systems. Usability problems in these systems can lead to security vulnerabilities because administrators may miss an attack altogether or misdiagnose it. We examined four different design approaches in order to devise a preliminary set of design guidelines for security management systems.

Chiasson, S., Biddle, R., & van Oorschot, P. (2007). A second look at the usability of graphical passwords. SOUPS ’07: Proceedings of the second symposium on Usable privacy and security.  Pittsburgh: ACM Press.

Click-based graphical passwords have been proposed as a usable alternative to text passwords. We conducted two user studies: an initial lab study to revisit these usability claims, explore for the first time the impact on usability of a wide-range of images, and gather information about the points selected by users; and a large-scale field study that examined how click-based graphical passwords work in practice. No such prior field studies have been reported in the literature. We found significant differences in the usability results of the two studies, providing empirical evidence that relying solely on lab studies for security interfaces can be problematic.  We also present a first look at whether interference from having multiple graphical passwords affects usability and whether more memorable passwords are necessarily weaker from a security point of view.


Dormann, C., & Biddle, R. (2007). Urban expressions and experiential gaming. Proceedings of Ed-Media: World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia, and Telecommunications. Vancouver, Canada: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.

In this paper we present a geo-located game in connection with experiential learning, beginning with motivation, and outlining the gameplay and game mechanics. The game encourages collaborative exploration of the environment, record, multi-sensory infromation, and facilitates production and sharing of stories and city experiences.  We discuss our experience while play-testing the game. We then present the elaboration of virtual stories and the creation of a community wiki atlas. Lastly, we describe the status of the game, and its role in course-teaching.

Dormann, C., & Biddle, R. (2007). Humour: why are serious games so serious? Learning with games (pp. 435–442). Sophia Antipolis, France: Politecnico di Milano.

Humour can facilitate learning from games. Humour improves learning performance and helps to manage learners’ well-being, and creates a cheerful learning climate. Our investigation of the value of humour in computer games has highlighted the social dimension of humour as a moment shared fun, that support social relation and interaction. It can also enhance mood and engagement. Within serious games, humour can be used to enhance social competences, or bring about social change, it also support affective learning. Humour augments engagement and enhances the pleasure of learning. It is believed that humour is an important didactic tool that can improve the design of educational games and learning from games.

Ferreira, J., Noble, J., & Biddle, R. (2007). Agile development iterations and ui design. Proceedings of the Agile Software Development Conference. Washington D.C.: IEEE.

We have been conducting studies on UI design in agile development practice, and in this paper we address the issue of how user interaction design fits into the structure of iterations. We use the qualitative grounded theory approach based on a number of interviews with practitioners engaged in real agile projects involving significant user interaction design. Several themes emerge from the study, principally involving how iterations facilitate early usability testing and consequential changes to the software.

Ferreira, J., Noble, J., & Biddle, R. (2007). Up-front interaction design in agile development. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on eXtreme Programming and Agile Processes in Software Engineering. Como, Italy: Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer-Verlag.

In this paper we address how interaction design and agile development work together, with a focus on the issue of interaction design being done “up-front”, before software development begins. Our study method used interviews with interaction designers and software developers on several agile teams. We used the qualitative approach of grounded theory to code and interpret the results. Our interpretation includes appreciation for benefits seen for a certain amount of up-front interaction design, and benefits from some levels of interaction design continuing with the iterations of software development.

Forget, A., Chiasson, S., & Biddle, R. (2007). Helping users create better passwords: Is this the right  approach? ACM Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS). Pittsburgh, USA: ACM.

Users tend to form their own mental models of good passwords regardless of any instructions provided. They also tend to favour memorability over security. In our study comparing two mnemonic phrase-based password schemes, we found a surprising number of participants misused both schemes. Intentional or not, they misused the system such that their task of password creation and memorization became easier. Thus, we believe that instead of better instructions or password schemes, a new approach is required to convince users to create more secure passwords. One possibility may lie in employing Persuasive Technology.

Forget, A., Chiasson, S., & Biddle, R. (2007). Helping users protect themselves from e-criminals in click-based graphical passwords (poster). Anti-Phishing Working Group eCrime Researchers Summit. Pittsburgh, USA: Anti-Phishing Working Group.

Click-based graphical passwords, like other user-selected passwords, suffer from predictability problems. With click-based graphical passwords, user click-points form hotspots, areas of the image that are more likely to be selected, which e-criminals can predict and use to launch dictionary attacks. Our system, Persuasive Cued Click-Points, helps users select more random click-points and reduces the appearance of hotspots while still maintaining usability.

Forget, A., Chiasson, S., & Biddle, R. (2007). Persuasion as education for computer security. World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education (E-Learn).  Québec, Canada: AACE.

Most organizations realize the importance of computer security, yet many struggle with how to teach and influence their users to behave securely. Despite existing research in new instructions and security measures, users continue to have difficulty creating secure and memorable passwords. In an effort to teach users how to behave more securely, we present the Persuasive Authentication Framework, which applies persuasive technology to authentication mechanisms. Furthermore, we describe Persuasive Cued Click-Points (PCCP); a click-based graphical password system that utilizes the Persuasive Authentication Framework to educate users on how to create better passwords.

Hadziomerovic, A., & Biddle, R. (2007). Repurposing a computer role playing game for engaging learning. Proceedings of Ed-Media: World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia, and Telecommunications. Vancouver, Canada: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.

This paper describes a methodology introduced by Oliver and Pelletier and applies it towards the design of a computer role play game customized for educational purposes, Neverwinter Nights in Antarctica.  The method analyses how people learn when playing digital games using an activity theory framework.  The study in this paper demonstrates that this approach can be used to provide a taxonomy of learning using contradictions in an activity system.  This framework was then used to measure learning outcomes through an observational study.

Kauhanen, M., Eaket, C., & Biddle, R. (2007). Patterns for story authoring tools. In K. Marquardt (Ed.), Twelfth European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programming (p. NA). Irsee, Germany.

Interactive narratives are an important element in video games and serious games alike, however, their authoring tools have their roots in programming language and programming environments.  While these end-user environments for interactive narratives provide a means for users to create custom content, they are not necessarily intuitive or easy to use for non-programmers.  This paper provides the basis of a pattern language of design for authoring tools for story-tellers that are not programmers.

Kauhanen, M., & Biddle, R. (2007). Cognitive dimensions of a game scripting tool. International Academic Conference on the Future of Game Design and Technology. Toronto, Canada: ACM.

In this paper we show how a heuristic evaluation can be applied to a game scripting tool, using the Cognitive Dimensions of Notations framework. We introduce an end-user development toolset that allows users to create custom modules and content for the popular Neverwinter Nights computer role-playing game. The use of the Cognitive Dimensions of Notations as a discussion aid is illustrated through the examination of the toolset using a select set of dimensions. We comment on the findings, and on the usefulness of this approach to study of game development.

Kauhanen, M., Tran, M., & Biddle, R. (2007). Examining authoring tools for serious games. World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education (E-Learn).  Québec, Canada: AACE.

Serious games are games that support learning.  Studying serious games has led our research group to examining authoring tools for video games and interactive narrative systems.  This paper introduces and highlights some of the user-centered methods and frameworks employed in our ongoing research to examine existing authoring tools and to help in the development of new ones.  These techniques may be employed easily in other domains.  Finally, we present a basis of a pattern language of design for authoring tools, specifically for story-tellers that are not programmers.

Khaled, R., Barr, P., Noble, J., Biddle, R., & Fischer, R. (2007). Fine tuning the persuasion in persuasive games. Second International Conference on Persuasive Technology for Human Well-Being (Persuasive07). Palo Alto California: LNCS, Springer Verlag.
Persuasive games are a relatively new phenomenon, and hold promise as effective vehicles for persuasion. As yet, however, there are few set rules guiding how to design persuasive games to be interesting, compelling, and effective. Furthermore, little theory exists that guides their development from a persuasive technology (PT) perspective. The results of a recent pilot test on Smoke?, our persuasive game about smoking cessation, highlighted several design issues related to persuasive games in general. In this paper we discuss some of those issues, contextualizing them in terms of B J Fogg’s PT strategies, in order to both explain underlying forces, and point towards potential design solutions. The five issues we discuss are: managing player attention, balancing “replayability” with reality, player control vs. system control, identity issues, and target audience.

McKay, M., Biddle, R., & Tsuji, B. (2007). Mobile synthetic speech of personal text. Paper presented in A.J. Sporka, S. Harada, & S. H. Kurniawan (Eds.) Striking a c[h]ord: Vocal interaction in assistive technologies, games, and more. Workshop at ACM SIGCHI, San Jose, CA.

We describe a service that facilitates users transforming personal text (email, documents, etc.) into synthetic speech. The main focus for the service is leveraging the increasing infrastructure for mobile devices for the benefit of people with visual impairments and/or other kinds of “print disabilities” as well as those who simply require a more portable and flexible medium for the consumption of text. While the service is highly usable for delivery, the needs for document navigation remain a subject for research
Whitworth, E., & Biddle, R. (2007). Motivation and cohesion in agile teams. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on eXtreme Programming and Agile Processes in Software Engineering. Como, Italy: Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer-Verlag.
This research explored aspects of agile teamwork initiatives associated with positive socio-psychological phenomena, with a focus on phenomena outside the scope of traditional management, organizational, and software engineering research. Agile teams were viewed as complex adaptive socio-technical systems. Qualitative grounded theory was used to explore the socio-psychological characteristics of agile teams under the umbrella research question: What is the experience of being in an agile software development team? Results included a deeper understanding of the link between agile practices and positive team outcomes such as motivation and cohesion.

Whitworth, E., & Biddle, R. (2007). The social nature of agile teams. Proceedings of the Agile Software Development Conference. Washington D.C.: IEEE.
Agile methodologies represent a ‘people’ centered approach to delivering software. This paper investigates the social processes that contribute to their success. Qualitative grounded theory was used to explore socio-psychological experiences in agile teams, where agile teams were viewed as complex adaptive socio-technical systems. Advances in systems theory suggest that human agency changes the nature of a system and how it should be studied. In particular, end-goals and positive sources of motivation, such as pride, become important. Research included the questions: How do agile practices structure and mediate the experience of individuals developing software? And in particular, how do agile practices mediate the interaction between individuals and the team as a whole? Results support an understanding of how social identity and collective effort are supported by agile methods.