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(Rival description for this joint seminar)

Fun, interestingness, humour, and play: what is the importance of these for HCI and for IR?

There will be a GIST seminar at 4pm on Thur. 11 June in the conference room, 17 Lilybank Gardens (how to get there) on "Fun, interestingness, humour, and play: what is the importance of these for HCI and for IR?"

Organisers: Chris Johnson, Steve Draper, Paddy O'Donnell


An under-investigated issue which nevertheless recurs as a subject of research or anyway of papers, is that of fun. It is important in HCI as underpinning the design of games. It also recurs in education as a possibly important mode of promoting learning. It is certainly true that we cannot account for some user behaviour with machines without allowing for fun.

Possibly related to the concept of "fun" are those of humour, play, and interesting-ness. The latter is of crucial importance in information retrieval. Although one use of the WWW (and newspapers, magazines, TV, ....) is to satisfy specific information goals (e.g. find all the documents mentioning HCI and fun), in reality probably about the same amount of user time goes into undefined goals where the user reacts to things that look interesting to them, but which they could not have told you they were looking for until they saw them. The design of newspapers, magazines, and museums is also largely about trying to satisfy this undefined goal of "being interesting".

This meeting will be a discussion about these topics in relation to HCI and IR, in which participants will pool what they know that might be relevant. If you definitely have a chunk (5 mins is the right size) you want to present, let us know.


  1. Chris: what the issue of Fun in HCI is [5 mins. why this topic is relevant]
  2. SteveD: what the issue of interest in IR is. [5 mins. why this topic is relevant]
  3. Paddy: 2 min. summaries on the psychology literature on each of: fun, interest, play, humour.

..... I would also have in reserve 2 min. chunks on:

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