Archive for the ‘HCI’ Category

Zenware Applications

By Oliver on July 9th, 2017 in assistive technology, conferences, HCI, publications

Gerbaulet, Damian & Korn, Oliver

Do Zenware Applications Reduce the Digital Distraction of Knowledge Workers? A Qualitative Study Based on Expert Interviews

In: Advances in Ergonomics in Design, pp. 115–126, Springer, Cham


Text on ResearchGate


Applications helping us to maintain the focus on work are called “Zenware” (from concentration and Zen). While form factors, use cases and functionality vary, all these applications have a common goal: creating uninterrupted, focused attention on the task at hand. The rise of such tools exemplifies the users’ desire to control their attention within the context of omnipresent distraction. In expert interviews we investigate approaches in the context of attention-management at the workplace of knowledge workers. To gain a broad understanding, we use judgement sampling in interviews with experts from several disciplines. We especially explore how focus and flow can be stimulated. Our contribution has four components:

  1.  a brief overview on the state of the art,
  2. a presentation of the results,
  3. strategies for coping with digital distractions and design guidelines for future Zenware
  4. and an outlook on the overall potential in digital work environments.


The work is presented on July 20 at AHFE ’17, the 8th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics.


Procedural Content Generation for Game Props? A Study on the Effects on User Experience

By Oliver on April 12th, 2017 in games, HCI, publications

Korn, Oliver; Blatz, Michael; Rees, Adrian; Schaal, Jakob; Schwind, Valentin; Görlich, Daniel:

Procedural Content Generation for Game Props? A Study on the Effects on User Experience

In: Computers in Entertainment, 15(2), ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1:1–1:15

DOI = 10.1145/2974026

Text in ACM DL | Text on ResearchGate


This work demonstrates the potentials of procedural content generation (PCG) for games, focusing on the generation of specific graphic props (reefs) in an explorer game. We briefly portray the state-of-the-art of PCG and compare various methods to create random patterns at runtime. Taking a step towards the game industry, we describe an actual game production and provide a detailed pseudocode implementation showing how Perlin or Simplex noise can be used efficiently.

In a comparative study, we investigate two alternative implementations of a decisive game prop: once created traditionally by artists and once generated by procedural algorithms. 41 test subjects played both implementations. The analysis shows that PCG can create a user experience that is significantly more realistic and at the same time perceived as more aesthetically pleasing. In addition, the ever-changing nature of the procedurally generated environments is preferred with high significance, especially by players aged 45 and above.

Gamification in der Produktion – Anforderungen und Potenziale

Korn, Oliver; Vauderwangem, Oliver:

Gamification in der Produktion – Anforderungen und Potenziale

In: Henke, Michael & Kaczmarek, Sandra (Eds.): Gamification in der Logistik. Effektiv und spielend zu mehr Erfolg,  Huss, München, 50-77


Gamification, die spielerische Anreicherung von Tätigkeiten, erfreut sich zunehmender Beliebtheit. Insbesondere in den Bereichen Gesundheit (Exergames) oder Lernen (Serious Games, Edutainment) gibt es eine Vielzahl erfolgreicher Anwendungen. Weniger verbreitet ist Gamification dagegen bislang bei Arbeitsprozessen. Zwar gibt es erfolgreiche Ansätze im Bereich Dienstleistung und Service (z. B. bei Callcentern), der Bereich der industriellen Produktion wurde jedoch bis vor wenigen Jahren nicht adressiert.

Dieses Kapitel gibt einen Überblick der Entwicklung von Gamification und zeigt den Stand der Technik. Wir leiten allgemeine Anforderungen für Gamification im Produktionsumfeld ab und stellen zwei neue Ansätze aus der aktuellen Forschung vor. Diese werden in einer Studie mit Trainern aus der Automobilbranche auf Akzeptanz untersucht. Die Ergebnisse zeigen eine insgesamt positive Haltung zur Gamifizierung der Produktion und eine sehr hohe Akzeptanz insbesondere des Pyramiden-Designs.

Book: Game Dynamics. Best Practices in Procedural and Dynamic Game Content Generation

By Oliver on April 5th, 2017 in games, HCI, publications

Korn, Oliver; Lee, Newton (Eds.):

Game Dynamics.
Best Practices in Procedural and Dynamic Game Content Generation

Springer Berlin Heidelberg, ISBN 978-3-319-53087-1

DOI = 10.1007/978-3-319-53088-8

Text on ResearchGate | Text on SpringerLink


This book offers a compendium of best practices in game dynamics. It covers a wide range of dynamic game elements ranging from player behavior over artificial intelligence to procedural content generation. Such dynamics make virtual worlds more lively and realistic and they also create the potential for moments of amazement and surprise.

In many cases, game dynamics are driven by a combination of random seeds, player records and procedural algorithms. Games can even incorporate the player’s real-world behavior to create dynamic responses. The best practices illustrate how dynamic elements improve the user experience and increase the replay value.

The book draws upon interdisciplinary approaches; researchers and practitioners from Game Studies, Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Psychology and other disciplines will find this book to be an exceptional resource of both creative inspiration and hands-on process knowledge.

Educational Playgrounds: How Context-aware Systems Enable Playful Coached Learning

Korn, Oliver; Dix, Alan:

Educational Playgrounds: How Context-aware Systems Enable Playful Coached Learning

In: Interactions, 24(1), 54–57, 2016
DOI = 10.1145/3012951


In this article, we present the vision of a context-aware system that supports educators and offers students what we call playful coached learning (PCL).


  • A system that is aware of real-world interactions strongly contributes to the user’s sense of interaction and exchange.
  • Adding gamification is not enough. PCL should also consider a student’s emotions.
  • Learning with a context-aware system can be a relief for students and educators, increasing their autonomy.
  • PCL is a good example of a combinatory innovation.

Gamification of Production? A Study on the Acceptance of Gamified Work Processes in the Automotive Industry

By Oliver on July 25th, 2016 in assistive technology, gamification, HCI, HMI, publications

Korn, Oliver; Muschick, Peter; Schmidt, Albrecht:

Gamification of Production? A Study on the Acceptance of Gamified Work Processes in the Automotive Industry

In: Advances in Affective and Pleasurable Design. Proceedings of the AHFE 2016 International Conference, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, New York, NY, USA, 2016
DOI = 10.1007/978-3-319-41661-8_42


In this work, we investigate how gamification can be integrated into work processes in the automotive industry. The contribution contains five parts:

(1) An introduction showing how gamification has become increasingly common, especially in education, health and the service industry.

(2) An analysis on the state of the art of gamified applications, discussing several best practices.

(3) An analysis of the special requirements for gamification in production, regarding both external norms and the mindset of workers in this domain.

(4) An overview of first approaches towards a gamification of production, focusing on solutions for impaired workers in sheltered work organizations.

(5) A study with a focus group of instructors at two large car manufacturers. Based on the presentation of three potential designs for the gamification of production, the study investigates the general acceptance of gamification in modern production and determines which design is best suited for future implementations.

Full Text


This work will be presented at the conference
AHFE ’16: 7th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (July 27-31) in Orlando, FL, USA


Gamification of a Workday. A Study on the Effects in Sheltered Employment

By Oliver on February 9th, 2016 in assistive systems, conferences, gamification, HCI, publications

Korn, Oliver; Lang, Johannes; Korge, Andreas; Causegic, Haris; Schmidt, Albrecht:

Gamification of a Workday. A Study on the Effects in Sheltered Employment

CHI-16-LBW-gamification-workdayIn: CHI ’16 Extended Abstracts of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2016
DOI = 10.1145/2851581.2892283


Gamification implies the application of methods and design patterns from gaming to non-gaming areas like learning or working. We applied an existing gamification design to production processes in an organization which provides sheltered employment for impaired persons.

In contrast to existing work, we investigated not only a short period but a complete workday to measure the effects on the performance of impaired workers.

The study indicates that gamification has
(1) a negative effect on workers with considerable cognitive impairments,
(2) no measurable effect on workers with medium cognitive impairments and
(3) a positive effect on workers with mild cognitive impairments.


This work will be presented at CHI ’16 (May 7-12) in San Jose, California, USA.

Call for Chapters: PCG in the Game Industry

By Oliver on January 17th, 2016 in games, HCI, KORION, publications
Spaceship with procedurally generated configuration (KORION)

Spaceship with procedurally generated configuration (KORION)

Together with Newton Lee I am currently editing a book for the
Springer International Series on Computer Entertainment & Media Technology:

Procedural Content Generation in the Game Industry: Best Practices and Perspectives


Call for Chapter Proposals, by February 29, 2016


Procedural content generation (PCG) uses algorithms to create levels, items or story elements in games at runtime. The purpose of this book is to provide a hands-on overview on the application and the potentials of PCG.

The book is intended for game developers, computer scientists and gaming enthusiasts.

While there will be some historical and mathematical background on PCG, the focus lies on the actual application of PCG methods in games and game studies. The book will present a wide range of best practices ranging from platform games to sci-fi strategy, from indie to AAA; we are also interested in contributions on the economic and organizational potentials and challenges of projects where PCG was used.

The book draws upon an interdisciplinary approach. We invite contributions from researchers and practitioners from Game Studies, Computer Sciences, Human-Computer Interaction, Psychology and other disciplines.


Procedural Content Generation in the Game Industry is structured in three sections.

  • section 1 briefly describes the historical and mathematical background of PCG
  • section 2 represents the book’s main body: here best practices are presented. While we are especially interested in user experience studies, more technical topics are welcome
  • section 3 examines the economic and organizational potentials and challenges of projects where PCG was used


Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Game Design for games with procedurally generated content
  • User Experience (UX) Studies on games with PCG elements
  • PCG algorithms and tools, e.g. Perlin noise
  • History of PCG use in games, from Rogue to Borderlands and beyond
  • Organizational and management strategies related to PCG
  • Economic impact of PCG


In the first step, researchers and practitioners are invited to submit a 2-page (max. 1200 words) chapter proposal explaining the mission and concerns of their proposed chapter by February 21, 2016. Author anonymity is not required in this step.

Please use the Easy Chair submission system:

or send the abstract to:


Important Dates

  • February 29, 2016: Proposal Submission Deadline (abstract, max. 1200 words)
  • March 06, 2016: Notification of Proposal Acceptance
  • June 12, 2016: Full Chapter Submission
  • July 24, 2016: Review Results Returned
  • September 25, 2016: Final Chapter Submission
  • October 23, 2016: Final Chapter Acceptance Notification

All submitted chapters are peer-reviewed on a single-blind review basis.
Contributors may also be asked to serve as reviewers.

Determining the Characteristics of Preferred Virtual Faces

By Oliver on November 12th, 2015 in games, HCI, publications, Uncategorized

Schwind, Valentin; Wolf, Katrin; Henze, Niels; Korn, Oliver:

Determining the Characteristics of Preferred Virtual Faces Using an Avatar Generator

In: CHI PLAY ’15 Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, pp. 221-230, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2015
DOI = 10.1145/2793107.2793116


Video game developers continuously increase the degree of details and realism in games to create more human-like characters. But increasing the human-likeness becomes a problem in regard to the Uncanny Valley phenomenon that predicts negative feelings of people towards artificial entities.

We developed an avatar creation system to examine preferences towards parametrized faces and explore in regard to the Uncanny Valley phenomenon how people design faces that they like or reject. Based on the 3D model of the Caucasian average face, 420 participants generate 1341 faces of positively and negatively associated concepts of both gender. The results show that some characteristics associated with the Uncanny Valley are used to create villains or repulsive faces. Heroic faces get attractive features but are rarely and little stylized. A voluntarily designed face is very similar to the heroine. This indicates that there is a tendency of users to design feminine and attractive but still credible faces.


This work was presented at CHI PLay ’15 in London.

Ethical Implications Regarding Assistive Technology at Workplaces

Behrendt, Hauke; Funk, Markus; Korn, Oliver:
Assistive Systems for the Workplace: Towards Context-Aware Assistance

In: Collective Agency and Cooperation in Natural and Artificial Systems. Springer, 2015. pp 109-130
DOI = 10.1007/978-3-319-15515-9_6


It is the purpose of this paper to address ethical issues concerning the development and application of Assistive Technology at Workplaces (ATW). We shall give a concrete technical concept how such technology might be constructed and propose eight technical functions it should adopt in order to serve its purpose.

Then, we discuss the normative questions why one should use ATW, and by what means. We argue that ATW is good to the extent that it ensures social inclusion and consider four normative domains in which its worth might consists in. In addition, we insist that ATW must satisfy two requirements of good workplaces, which we specify as

(a) an exploitation restraint and

(b) a duty of care.