Hubbub has gone into hibernation.

The Quantified Good Life at MLOVE ConFestival Europe 2013

A while back I ven­tured out to the MLOVE Con­Fes­ti­val at a cas­tle some­where in Sax­ony-Anhalt to join my fel­low Dutch­men Maarten den Braber and Yuri van Geest to present about the quan­ti­fied self and our per­spec­tive on data and its social con­se­quences as game design­ers. Any time you use tech­nol­o­gy to try to influ­ence human behav­iour, you have to be espe­cial­ly sen­si­tive to exist­ing pow­er rela­tions and how they will influ­ence usage.

I did a lot of research and I found the dis­course on QS to be lim­it­ed and lack­ing con­sid­er­a­tion for the larg­er con­texts (as Saari­nen would say) the work will fit into. The term QS is often stretched to the point where it encom­pass­es more or less every­thing and a flur­ry of gad­gets are being devel­oped for all sit­u­a­tions. With­in all of this Joshua Kauff­man touch­es on some of the eth­i­cal issues but the per­son whose writ­ing was most valu­able was Buster Ben­son. Some­body whom we have been admir­ing for a while and whose web­sites we have used regularly.


MLOVE was a refresh­ing­ly laid back event. Tak­ing every­body out of the city and putting them in a cas­tle on the coun­try­side has a very pos­i­tive effect on the inter­ac­tions peo­ple have with each oth­er. The Q&A we did at the end of our ses­sion was also one of the most stim­u­lat­ing and top­i­cal ones I have ever had the plea­sure of par­tic­i­pat­ing in.


At Hub­bub, when we design for moti­va­tion we usu­al­ly approach it from the lens of Self-Deter­mi­na­tion The­o­ry (SDT) which puts the needs and desires of the user at its cen­tre and pro­vides us with a good frame­work to start ask ques­tions from. The basic needs for intrin­sic moti­va­tion accord­ing to SDT are:

  • Auton­o­my, allow­ing peo­ple to con­trol their own directions
  • Com­pe­tence, help­ing peo­ple become bet­ter in things and giv­ing them feed­back on it
  • Relat­ed­ness, sit­u­at­ing peo­ple’s actions in a social context

When it comes to the record­ing and appli­ca­tion of data there are a ton of hairy issues1 that are not going to be solved any­time soon. We think most of these issues can be mit­i­gat­ed by design­ing for users and keep­ing their auton­o­my front and cen­tre. For com­pa­nies oper­at­ing in this space, which is turn­ing into most of them, prop­er­ly design­ing the behav­iour­al aspects of your prod­ucts is the only way to guar­an­tee that they will be used in the future.

  1. An in depth explo­ration of data ethics is beyond the scope of this piece but just to list some of the issues here: insight into the obvi­ous, inter­pre­ta­tion errors, over­mod­el­ing caus­ing poor­er results, juk­ing the stats, fal­la­cy of informed con­sent, the cer­tain­ty of scope creep []
This entry was posted in Talks and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.