Hacking Shyness: Nine Principles For Social Interaction Design

Embarrassment keeps us from engaging – and it keeps us from joy. But shyness and embarrassment are not individual emotions. They’re produced by a social dynamic that can be fixed through better design.

When we’re kids, we’re fearless – self-conscious emotions like shame and embarrassment are something we learn. Socialisation into a culture is important, of course, but we tend to overdo it: as we learn how to behave, we internalise critical voices and external judgement so strongly, that they actually prevent us from engaging in things we’d like to do.

In this talk from the 2014 Alibis for Interaction conference, play researcher Sebastian Deterding walks us through how these mechanisms work – and how to go about countering them. He presents a set of design patterns for creating social dynamics that allows for play, participation and experimentation without fear.

This talk is useful if you yourself are shy – but it’s absolutely necessary if you organise any kind of event where people are expected to participate, interact or explore something that is new to them.

About Sebastian

Sebastian Deterding is a designer and researcher working on playful, gamful, and motivational design. As independent designer and associate of the international design agency Hubbub, he has created persuasive applications touching millions of users for clients such as the BBC, BMW, Greenpeace, Otto Group, Xing, or Tribal DDB, as well as several startups.

An internationally sought after speaker, he has been invited to present at venues like Lift, Interaction, UX London, GDC Online, Games Learning Society, Web Directions, Playful, Persuasive, Google, IDEO, and Microsoft Research, and has been featured on TED. He is visiting professor at the Playable Innovative Technologies Lab of Northeastern University, heads the Gamification Research Network, and is co-editor with Steffen P. Walz of The Gameful World (MIT Press). His research on persuasive and playful design has been covered by The Guardian, The New Scientist, the Los Angeles Times and EDGE Magazine among others. He lives online at codingconduct.cc.