Suspenseful Design: Engaging Emotionally with Complex Applications through Compelling Narratives
Langer, Kimberly Rebecca
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Stories are fundamental to how we learn about and experience the world, but few software interfaces incorporate stories or use story-telling techniques. This thesis explores the possibility of applying principles of suspenseful storytelling to interaction design to create more engaging and emotionally compelling applications. Specifically, this work introduces a theoretical framework for designing suspenseful software-applications; describes the process of constructing a suspenseful, story-based tutorial; and documents a controlled experiment in which this suspenseful tutorial was pitted against two more traditional tutorial designs. Participants who used the narrative-based tutorial reported greater feelings of hopeful suspense than those who worked through an unsuspenseful tutorial.