Academic Design Research: Humor Computer Interaction 😂

The design research I conducted at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human Computer Interaction Institute, reveals the impact of memes on digital social communities, and focuses on the development of humor and play-oriented design research strategies.

Why humor? 

tl;dr: By understanding how users respond to humorous and playful interactions with technology we can strategically design better experiences with technology. 

Humor is a core part of the human social experience. It’s a commonly enjoyable mechanism by which humans are able to connect, share, and deepen affinity. As HCI, including the sub-fields of educational technologies, human-robot interaction (HRI), and technical HCI - move rapidly towards designing, developing and incorporating new human-like digital and robotic technologies, in addition to new modes of interaction (including VR and AR) it’s valuable to consider how humor, a natural social function, might be incorporated into these technologies, and what the impact of humor might be on a user.

Intuitively, many HCI researchers know that the concept of incorporating humor in systems, platforms, and digital agents has merit. As more human-centered design approaches are used in HCI, humor is an emergent frontier for design research. If one is inclined to observe human behavior, occasions where humor is employed in social contexts is plentiful, useful, and enjoyable. 

To learn more about this work, visit my team's humor-computer interaction blog - bits & giggles.

Current work

My research team and I developed hundreds of humor technology ideas over the course of several months. These ideas range from practical to absurd and span every form of humor genre.

Seven prototypes that represented larger trends in the humor-tech ideas list (e.g. Pupper Bot: a robot dog that has fun all day while you're away) were developed through role playing and low-fidelity prototype development. We're currently user testing those prototypes with users.

Here is a sample humor tech/interaction video that represents a water bottle that nudges you to drink more water by spraying you intermittently.