Suspenseful design: Engaging emotionally with complex applications through compelling narratives


Rebecca Langer, Mark Hancock, and Stacey D. Scott. In Proc. GEM, 2014.


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Abstract

Although story is a critical component of many games, stories and storytelling techniques are rarely used in other kinds of applications. In this paper, we introduce a framework for constructing suspenseful, narrative-based software applications. While many interface designs aim to reduce confusion and complexity, we introduce an alternative for inherently complex software by engaging people through narrative. We describe a framework for incorporating suspenseful elements into an interface and apply it to a proto-type of a suspenseful tutorial. We conducted a controlled experiment that compared this suspenseful tutorial to two more traditional tutorial designs. Participants who used the narrative-based tutorial reported greater feelings of hopeful suspense, which previous studies have found to be correlated with enjoyment and interest.


Bibtex entry

@INPROCEEDINGS { langer:2014:suspense,
    AUTHOR = { Rebecca Langer and Mark Hancock and Stacey D. Scott },
    TITLE = { Suspenseful design: Engaging emotionally with complex applications through compelling narratives },
    BOOKTITLE = { Proc. GEM },
    YEAR = { 2014 },
    NUMPAGES = { 8 },
    PUBLISHER = { IEEE },
}