After sketching the raw ideas of the game, my colleague (Lene Illum Skov) and I went through the first initiating design workshop. The aim of the workshop was to get closer to which elements we wanted to include in the game and how these would serve a specific purpose in regard to supporting the students’ creation of interactive stories.
The approach chosen in the project borrows its methodology from the field of participatory design research as described by Spinnuzi (2005):
As the name implies, the approach is just as much about design—producing artifacts, systems, work organizations, and practical or tacit knowledge—as it is about research. In this methodology, design is research. That is, although participatory design draws on various research methods (such as ethnographic observations, interviews, analysis of artifacts, and sometimes protocol analysis), these methods are always used to iteratively construct the emerging design, which itself simultaneously constitutes and elicits the research results as co-interpreted by the designer-researchers and the participants who will use the design.
With that in mind, the design workshop is part of the research and the conversation unfolding during that process of great value for the choice made.
During the workshop, some important choices were negotiated, e.g.:
1) How did we want the tokens and pieces of the game to look?
2) Which text parts would be the best to include, keeping the storyline as open as possible?
3) Which materials would suffice and be suited to the job?
4) Simplicity in the expression of the artwork
Playfulness and game activities provide what Eva Brandt calls “dream material” (Halse, Brandt, Clark & Binder, 2010) that supports participants in playing out different versions of futures and outcomes. The process of designing the game could be seen as such, providing both Lene and me with opportunities to see meaningfulness and purpose while being engaged in developing ideas and artifacts.