The Drift Table: Designing for ludic engagement

William W. Gaver*, Albrecht Schmidt, John Bowers, Anthony Steed, Andrew Boucher, Nicholas Villars, Hans Gellerson, Brendan Walker, Sarah Pennington

*Corresponding author for this work

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

258 Citations (Scopus)


The Drift Table is an electronic coffee table that displays slowly moving aerial photography controlled by the distribution of weight on its surface. It was designed to investigate our ideas about how technologies for the home could support ludic activities-that is, activities motivated by curiosity, exploration, and reflection rather than externally-defined tasks. The many design choices we made, for example to block or disguise utilitarian functionality, helped to articulate our emerging understanding of ludic design. Observations of the Drift Table being used in volunteers' homes over several weeks gave greater insight into how playful exploration is practically achieved and the issues involved in designing for ludic engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExtended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2004
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781581137033, 1581137036
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes
EventConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2004 - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 24 Apr 200429 Apr 2004

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


ConferenceConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2004

Research Group keywords

  • Interaction Research Studio


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