Users Become Re-Creators: Enhancing Experiences Through Mapping


Session Title:

  • Mapping and the User Experience

Presentation Title:

  • Users Become Re-Creators: Enhancing Experiences Through Mapping




  • We present a new understanding of interactive installations that goes beyond action-reaction communication between actor and installation. The goal is to enhance the user’s experience and engagement as well as the reflection about the creator’s initial intention. Our strategy allows the actor to edit the action-reaction framework and modify the installation’s behavior rules. We employ ”Mapping” as method to redefine the user’s role from consumer to ”re-creator” within a specified scope, set by the creator.

    Mapping for Experience
    On the crossroads of technology and arts, we consider User Experience Design as a promising approach to empower the design process of media art pieces and ensure the actors’ engagement and reflection. We focus on interactive installations as media art pieces; the actor provokes a system’s reaction by his actions (e.g. full body movement). Most installations only provide a closed action-reaction framework, some employ programmed randomness to include surprising moments. Therefore, we argue towards a new understanding of the actor’s role. Hassenzahl says: „[…] experience emerges from the intertwined works of perception, action, motivation, emotion, and cognition in dialogue with the world (place, time, people, and objects). It is crucial to view experience as the consequence of the interplay of many different systems. […] While many processes together produce experience, emotion is at its heart and has an accentuated position. One may go as far as saying that emotion is the very language of experience.“ (Hassenzahl 2010: 4).

    Accordingly, we see the actor as an active re-creator instead of an active user. Through an additional interface, the re-creator is enabled to reflect technology, aesthetics and experience. Technology becomes a visible artifact of the installation. Performing the mapping process motivates the re-creator to explore the action-reaction framework and underlying rules. Adding personal meaning enhances the experience. The actor exploits the installation and modifies the mapping within the given scope. Examples are presented in the installation Der Schwarm (Hashagen et al. 2008).

    Applying this approach allows an enhanced experience for the actor and provides new possibilities for the creator to reach the actor. The actor becomes a part of the whole process (not product).


    1. Hassenzahl, Marc. Experience Design: Technology for All the Right Reasons. San Rafael (CA): Morgan & Claypool, 2010.
    2. Hashagen, Anja; Schelhowe, Heidi; and Harry Seelig. “’Der Schwarm’ – An Example for Interaction of Computer Science and Performance Studies.” Proceedings of ISEA2008. The 14th International Symposium on Electronic Art. Ed. Ingrid M. Hoofd, et al. Singapore: ISEA2008 Pte Ltd, 2008. 510-512.

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