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Interdisciplinary criticism: analysing the experience of riot! a location-sensitive digital narrative

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This paper reports the findings from quantitative and qualitative studies of Riot! – a location-sensitive interactive play for voices. The paper begins by introducing Riot!; it then explores the growing literature on theories of experience and goes on to report the findings from three empirical studies of the event: a questionnaire-based survey of 563 participants; 30 semi-structured interviews with groups and individuals; and in-depth ethnographic case studies of four participants. It was clear from the survey that most people had enjoyed Riot! However, the interview data demonstrated that they had also experienced frustration even where overall enjoyment ratings were high. This is explored in relation to perception of the system and goal definition. The ethnographic case studies identify barriers to engagement in terms of individual identity and orientation. A critical theory-based analysis of Riot! further explicates the user experience in terms of literary devices such as characterisation and the development of narrative expectation. The studies identify a number of usability problems such as inconsistency of interaction and non-reversibility that caused frustration. The critical analysis also identifies problems with the script such as the presentation of linear narrative in a non-linear medium. It accounts for widely differing accounts of the experience with reference to the participant's individual orientations or habitus. The paper demonstrates the value of an interdisciplinary approach for exploring the commonality and particularity of user experience.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of York, Department of Computer Science, York, England 2: Hewlett Packard Labs, Bristol, England

Publication date: 01 March 2006

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