Playful Interfaces: Introduction and History

Part of the Gaming Media and Social Effects book series (GMSE)


In this short survey, we have some historical notes about human–computer interface development with an emphasis on interface technology that has allowed us to design playful interactions with applications. The applications do not necessarily have to be entertainment applications. We can have playful interfaces to applications that have educational goals or that aim at behavior change, whether it is about change of attitude or opinion, social behavior change, or physical behavior. For the developer and the designer of these applications and their interfaces, there is no need any more to assume that, in addition to focusing on the application, the user has to pay attention to manipulating a mouse, using the keyboard and monitoring the screen. Smart sensors and actuators embedded in a user’s physical environment, objects, wearables, and mobile devices can monitor a user, detect preferences and emotions and can re-actively and proactively adapt the environment and the behavior of its actuators to demands of the user or changing conditions. In this way, interface technology can be employed in such a way that the emphasis is not on offering means to get tasks done in the most efficient way, but on presenting playful interaction opportunities to applications that provide fun, excitement, challenges, and entertainment. Clearly, many applications that have more serious goals than “just” providing fun can profit from this interface technology as well. In this introductory chapter, we shortly survey the chapters in this book that show the many applications of these playful interfaces.


Playful interfaces Human–computer interaction Pervasive computing Ubiquitous computing Entertainment computing Games User experience Tangible interfaces Mobile devices Persuasion Behavior change Exertion interfaces Whole body interaction Gesture interfaces 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TwenteEnschedeNetherlands

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