DESIGNING WITH VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS: EXPLORING OBJECT ATTACHMENT THROUGH DIGITAL INTERACTION
Editor: Buck, Lyndon; Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik
Author: Taylor, Alex
Institution: Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
Section: Design and engineering from under-represented perspectives
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2023.35
The purpose of this feasibility master's study is to develop a framework for evaluating object attachment in a digital space. The article examines product design development through a game studies lens, making use of cross-disciplinary references. The research question was greatly influenced by current multidisciplinary studies on digital object attachment, emotional attachment to game characters, and attachment to virtual possessions in games. In particular, work by J. Burgess + C.Jones, and B. Koles + P. Nagy. It seeks to fill a research gap by investigating the effectiveness of digital user engagement with object attachment via the research question, 'How can digital interaction be utilised to evaluate object attachment?' This research investigates the usefulness of a virtual environment in assessing user attachment to objects in a digital space, through a prototype experience and personalised interviews. Notes and data from the play experience were triangulated with qualitative data from interviews, to provide a robust analysis of opinions on object attachment inside the designated virtual environment. The aim of this research is to propose novel, inventive, and alternative methodologies for investigating user opinions of designers' and engineers' works. It examines the study's efficacy for digital designers, as well as the benefits it may have for physical designers who want to examine digitised versions of their work. This research will allow students and faculty to analyse user feedback on designs - using an emergent method - through an under-represented perspective within product design education. We discuss the flexibility for educators to apply other design theories to the framework, such as kansei engineering. Finally, the study will examine the benefits and applications of this framework for students and educators of product design in a sustainable and collaborative context.