Talk given at/for the CAA 2019 meetings in Kraków, Poland. Ultimately, I was unable to attend the conference in person and the organizers were gracious enough to allow me to send a video of my talk. Here is the abstract:
Interaction design (IxD) is the practice of designing interactive digital products. This paper address how IxD can improve the educational and public outreach potentials of digital archaeology and associated disciplines. Some of these challenges are broadly shared by digital heritage professionals. They include the ways we navigate incomplete evidence, the role of conjecture in digitally (re)constructing vanished places, and how we integrate descendant community and public voices across a project’s lifespan. I begin my discussion with goal-oriented design and how engagement with various stakeholders fundamentally changes our approach to creating interactive digital products. A closely related but oft-overlooked aspect is accessibility and usability. This portion of the paper will draw on recent work in video game design to advocate for ways we can engage broader audiences by anticipating atypical needs. I conclude the paper by discussing cognitive and affective methodologies. Cognitive refers to the processes by which we assess and modify our design choices, while affective IxD helps us better understand the emotional responses of users and how to employ them in moral and sympathetic ways. Case studies are drawn from the forthcoming Rosewood: An Interactive History, the Tragedy and Survival project that vetted digital reconstructions in front of public audiences, and the Virtual Museum of Human Evolution.