Using and facilitating social videogames as warm-ups for embodied design
Keywords:warm-ups, embodied design, social games
Warm-ups, as preliminary activities to physical training, are an inherent part of any physical exercise and sports practice. Rooted in the concept of embodied cognition, embodied design is a paradigm that shifts the focus of interaction design from external artefacts and devices to the human body (Svanæs & Barkhuus, 2020). A body-centred design emphasises the importance of having the human body at the centre of the entire design cycle, conveying movement, physical expressivity, feelings, and aesthetics, in a design process that uses the body as both a resource and target. Designing with the body is, therefore, a physically demanding activity that requires a specific set of warm-ups to educate and prepare designers mentally, socially, and physically for the act of embodied design. We propose social videogames as a resourceful framework for creating such a set of warm-up exercises. This paper presents a methodology comprising off-the-shelf commercial videogames whose rules have been adapted for embodied design. Three studies have been executed to validate the game's capacity as warm-up activity and icebreaker for embodied creativity and to study the conditions for an optimal method facilitation to external instructors in preparation for an applied session. The method applied is qualitative and quantitative feedback data gathered from the three studies using questionnaires, tests, observation, and open interviews. The results of the series of studies showed the potential of the proposed methodology as warm-ups for teaching, training, and practising embodied design, as well as giving insights on how to facilitate it. Overall, the game-based warm-ups for embodied design preparation using off-the-shelf movement games have a social and playful nature. The proposed twisted gameplays make them suitable to exert body moves and get ready to think and design with their bodies. The study on facilitation shows the need for a preparation session supported by an experienced person. However, one introductory session is enough for the toolbox to become an easily configurable resource that adapts to the facilitator's needs and goals. We suggest including sample implementation cases along with instruction cards of the embodied games. Further, the warm-up games are customisable using the toolbox's modifier cards.