Designing for Flow in a Complex Activity [chapter]

Jon M. Pearce, Steve Howard
2004 Lecture Notes in Computer Science  
One component of a user's interaction with computer systems is commonly referred to as 'flow'. Flow is an important consideration in interactive system design as it encapsulates some of the affective aspects of human behavior. The majority of current thinking conceptualises flow as a desirable and somewhat enduring emotional state that a user may enter during an activity. Analysis of data from 59 users engaged in an interactive online learning task contradicts this prevailing view. We show
more » ... ly that flow, rather than being enduring, is highly changeable during the term of an interaction. This challenges both current theoretical models of flow, and the current research methodology used to study the phenomenon. Secondly, we show that flow arises from an engagement either with the interactive artefact or the task being performed. This is an aspect of flow not well distinguished in other studies. Finally, we present initial analysis that suggests flow can be undesirable in some circumstances -that there may be competition between task and artefact for the attention of the user. In response, we present a 'process' view of flow as a counterpoint to the existing 'state' based models.
doi:10.1007/978-3-540-27795-8_35 fatcat:axjn43pzyndnhosbk6lk5nzlsm