Designing for Digital Playing Out

Gavin Wood, Thomas Dylan, Abigail Durrant, Pablo E. Torres, Philip Ulrich, Amanda Carr, Mutlu Cukurova, Denise Downey, Phil McGrath, Madeline Balaam, Alice Ferguson, John Vines, Shaun Lawson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


We report on a design-led study in the UK that aimed to understand barriers to children (aged 5 to 14 years) ‘playing out’ in their neighbourhood and explore the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) for supporting children’s free play that extends outdoors. The study forms a design ethnography, combining observational fieldwork with design prototyping and co-creative activities across four linked workshops, where we used BBC micro:bit devices to co-create new IoT designs with the participating children. Our collective account contributes new insights about the physical and interactive features of micro:bits that shaped play, gameplay, and social interaction in the workshops, illuminating an emerging design space for supporting ‘digital playing out’ that is grounded in empirical instances. We highlight opportunities for designing for digital playing out in ways that promote social negotiation, supports varying participation, allows for integrating cultural influences, and accounts for the weaving together of placemaking and play.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '19)
Subtitle of host publicationMay 4–9, 2019, Glasgow, Scotland UK
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
ISBN (Electronic)9781450359702
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019
EventACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2019: CHI’19 Workshop: HCI in China: Research Agenda, Education Curriculum, Industry Partnership, and Communities Building - Scottish Event Campus, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 May 20199 May 2019


ConferenceACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2019
Abbreviated titleCHI 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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