Mapping Design Spaces for
Audience Participation in Game Live-Streaming
Live streaming sites such as Twitch offer new ways for remote audiences to engage with and affect gameplay. With an academic co-author, I developed and validated a theme map of audience participation in game live streaming for student designers using a six-phase thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006) of Twitch game-live streaming student projects.
The map is a lens and reflective tool to support research and education of emerging, complex design spaces. For more details, see the CHI '21 paper.
Identifying Thematic Relationships & Constructing Map
The first two steps of thematic analysis are becoming familiar with the data, and generating initial codes. First, we read and reread the dataset, and made notes of their first impressions. In the second step, we iteratively open-coded the dataset, and created an initial set of open-codes. After this, we coded the remaining six projects using these set, discussed additional codes they observed, and added them to the set. After open-coding the data, we searched for themes (step 3), reviewed them (step 4), and defined them in a codebook (step 5). Before writing up the analysis (step 6), we further organized the themes by three high-level sensitizing concepts, borrowed from grounded theory.
We identified themes by first examining the open codes, and grouping clearly related codes together in a Google sheet. After grouping the related codes, we discussed the broader themes that each code grouping could represent, and created an initial codebook with a theme name and description. After this, we reviewed the themes, and considered whether the data supported the themes, whether there were clear distinctions between themes, and whether they had missed any important themes.
The map diagrams semantic relationships between sensitizing concepts, themes, and sub-themes onto a three set Venn diagram. This theme map was based on concept mapping, which allows students to understand relationships between concepts and related domains; manipulating a complex set of relationships in a diagram helps them remember and analyze component parts. The full map can be found here.
Validating Theme Map Usability and Value
We validated the theme map with a second set of student designers, using it to analyze two existing audience participation projects. Our goal was to show that the concept map could be applied beyond the course, in order to understand (1) how clearly and consistently project designers mapped project design spaces using our theme map and (2) how useful and valuable designers found the map.
The interviews found that participant across both projects agreed that the map was clear, fit their projects well, and was useful. Further, participants agreed that the mapping instructions and theme map fit their projects well, and strongly agreed that the map was a good fit for their respective projects. Users in both projects thought the theme map would be useful, both as a comparison and reflection tool, and as part of a larger design process. Participants also wanted to use the map during the design process, and several users highlighted the value of the map as helping to keep the focus of the project consistent.