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Chasing Play on TikTok from Populations with Disabilities to Inspire Playful and Inclusive Technology Design

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Abstract and Figures

There is an open call for technology to be more playful and for the design of tech to be more inclusive of people with disabilities. In the era of COVID19, it is often unsafe for the public in general and people with disabilities in particular to engage in in-person design exercises using traditional methods. This presents a missed opportunity as these populations are already sharing playful content that is rich with tacit design knowledge that can be used to inspire the design of playful everyday technology. We present our process of scraping play potentials from TikTok from content creators with disabilities to generate design concepts that may inspire the design of future technology. We share 7 emerging themes from the scraped content, a catalog of design concepts that may inspire designers, and a discussion on the relevance of the emerging themes and possible implications for the design concepts.
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Chasing Play on TikTok from Populations with Disabilities to
Inspire Playful and Inclusive Technology Design
Jared Duval
University of California Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California
Jduval@ucsc.edu
Ferran Altarriba Bertran
University of California Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California
faltarri@ucsc.edu
Siying Chen
University of California Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California
Melissa Chu
University of California Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California
Divya Subramonian
University of California Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California
Austin Wang
University of California Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California
Georey Xiang
University of California Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California
Sri Kurniawan
University of California Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California
skurnia@ucsc.edu
Katherine Isbister
University of California Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California
katherine.isbister@ucsc.edu
Figure 1: Screenshots of TikTok videos that can can inspire playful technology design inclusive of people with special needs.
ABSTRACT
There is an open call for technology to be more playful [
5
,
79
]
and for tech design to be more inclusive of people with disabilities
[
80
]. In the era of COVID19, it is often unsafe for the public in
general and people with disabilities, in particular, to engage in in-
person design exercises using traditional methods. This presents a
missed opportunity as these populations are already sharing playful
content rich with tacit design knowledge that can be used to inspire
the design of playful everyday technology. We present our process
of scraping play potentials [
4
] from TikTok from content creators
with disabilities to generate design concepts that may inspire future
technology design. We share 7 emerging themes from the scraped
High school students aliated with UCSC through Summer Internship Program
Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or
classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed
for prot or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation
on the rst page. Copyrights for third-party components of this work must be honored.
For all other uses, contact the owner/author(s).
CHI ’21, May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama, Japan
©2021 Copyright held by the owner/author(s).
ACM ISBN 978-1-4503-8096-6/21/05.
https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445303
content, a catalog of design concepts that may inspire designers,
and discuss the relevance of the emerging themes and possible
implications for the design concepts.
CCS CONCEPTS
Human-centered computing
HCI design and evaluation meth-
ods;User centered design;Contextual design;
Accessibility design
and evaluation methods;
KEYWORDS
Chasing Play, Populations with Special Needs, Play Potentials, In-
clusive Design, Social Media, TikTok, Design Concepts, Disability
ACM Reference Format:
Jared Duval, Ferran Altarriba Bertran, Siying Chen, Melissa Chu, Divya
Subramonian, Austin Wang, Georey Xiang, Sri Kurniawan, and Katherine
Isbister. 2021. Chasing Play on TikTok from Populations with Disabilities
to Inspire Playful and Inclusive Technology Design. In CHI Conference on
Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’21), May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama,
Japan. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 15 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.
3445303
CHI ’21, May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama, Japan Duval and Altarriba Bertran, et al.
1 INTRODUCTION
Two mainstream ways that technology can be designed to accommo-
date users with disabilities are by creating technology that provides
a specic service to people with disabilities (Assistive Technology)
or making general technology more accessible to people with dis-
abilities (Accessible Technology) [
89
]. It is very pragmatic and vital
to include people with disabilities in the design process in both cases.
This paper is motivated by the need to include populations with
disabilities to inspire design more broadly and generally, looking
at values other than eciency and accessibility. We design better
technology for everyone when we include people with disabilities
early and often in the process [80].
We are particularly interested in designing technology that sup-
ports play. Play for its own sake is valuable [
17
]. Play and playful-
ness can have a positive impact on the well-being of individuals
and groups [
19
,
44
]. Play provides us with the agency to be creative,
express ourselves, and learn [
75
,
78
]. Play creates opportunities for
meaningful social connection [
45
]. Play is universal to all humans
(and possibly all living creatures) [
17
], including humans with dis-
abilities. People with disabilities are playful (e.g. [
39
]) and how they
play [
41
] can benet the design of technology and improve society
at large. Playful technology designed with people with disabilities
has the potential to educate the general population about people
with disabilities, increase the visibility of people with disabilities,
and support social relationships between people regardless of their
disability status.
It can be challenging to include people with disabilities for par-
ticipatory work generally [
85
], but there is a specic added risk
during a global pandemic. In addition to general guidelines that
limit in-person contact, populations of people with disabilities of-
ten have medical needs that place them at higher risk from the
COVID19 virus [
7
]. In light of quarantine, designers are employing
creative methodologies to carry out remote design work that is
usually done in situ [
87
] (e.g., using games to educate the public
about COVID19 and collect data [
53
]). Many of these technologies
are not accessible to people with disabilities [
6
]. Co-Design sessions
should be valuable to all parties [
18
], but they disrupt everyday
life and require participants to invest their precious time. We are
interested in tapping into the tacit and contextual design knowl-
edge of people with disabilities on platforms they are already using
to share content for all of these reasons. Social media is rife with
potential design material. We chose to focus on TikTok because
is an inherently playful social media platform and it is a safe way
to engage with populations of people with disabilities during a
pandemic in a way that is not disruptive to their everyday life. To
capture play potentials [
3
] on TikTok we employed the Situated
Play Design methodology [
4
]. These play potentials inspired design
concepts that could inspire future technology.
In this paper, we present a catalog of design concepts to inspire
future playful technology based on play potentials from people
with disabilities. To arrive at our design concepts, we chased play
potentials on TikTok by scraping videos from content creators
with disabilities. We analyzed the scraped content and present
7 emerging themes that helped inspire and generate the design
concepts. Finally, we discuss the relevance of the 7 emerging themes
and our design concepts’ possible implications.
2 BACKGROUND
In technology design, people with disabilities are usually included
to make general technology more accessible or make a technology
solution to address a specic need for a population of people with
disabilities, which is discussed in the rst section. Next, we discuss
some examples of playful technologies designed with and for peo-
ple with disabilities to achieve utilitarian goals. We then discuss
standard methods of how these populations are usually included in
the design process, but how play is not usually the goal, whereas
play is our work’s goal. Finally, we discuss how Situated Play De-
sign (SPD)[
4
] is an appropriate methodology to design technology
inspired by how people with disabilities play.
2.1 Accessible and Assistive Technology
Accessible technology can be used by all people in the target au-
dience regardless of disability status [
80
]. Technology that is not
accessible places a handicap [
9
] on people who do not have equi-
table access to the services that technology is designed to provide
[38]. A handicap is not a person’s disability—it is the barriers that
society and technology place on people with disabilities [
38
]. Too
often, making technology accessible is an act of retrotting solu-
tions to make the original tech usable by people with disabilities
[
61
], when these populations should have been included in the
rst place, resulting in designs that are more accessible and user-
friendly for everyone [
80
]. Assistive technology is meant to serve
a specic need of a population of people with disabilities and is
meant to be used primarily by people with disabilities, caretak-
ers, and medical professionals [
76
]. Assistive technology should
be accessible to the target population so that they can use it—and
common co-occurring disabilities should also be considered [
83
].
Technology design that includes people with disabilities often natu-
rally becomes playful or includes elements of play, which results in
novel and interesting user experiences (e.g. [
30
,
31
,
35
,
82
]). In these
cases, play emerged naturally, but may not have been sought out
directly. We are interested in designing technology that is directly
inspired by play.
2.2 Playful Technologies and People with
Disabilities
As is true for people in general, people with disabilities are playful
[
39
]. Play and games can serve people with disabilities in numer-
ous ways, including increasing their visibility, improving public
perception of people with disabilities, and fostering healthy con-
nections in communities. Public visibility of people with disabilities
and designing for social acceptance can reduce stigmas [
74
]. Nega-
tive socio-cultural stigma continues to dissuade people from using
their assistive technology [
67
], isolate themselves, and worry about
unwanted attention [
24
,
47
,
49
,
64
]. Oppression of people with dis-
abilities is systematic, political, and sociocultural [
21
]. Historically,
people with disabilities have put in the labor to improve their rights
(e.g., the disability rights movement [
21
]), but all of society should
actively participate in the shared responsibility. Play has the po-
tential to make some of this labor feel less like work. In this work,
we aim to create playful design concepts inspired by people with
disabilities and speculate [
8
] a future where these technologies
Chasing Play on TikTok from Populations with Disabilities to Inspire Playful and Inclusive Technology Design CHI ’21, May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama, Japan
can playfully support societal growth and opportunities for the
inclusion of people with disabilities.
2.2.1 Play. Play is an apt vehicle to bring about societal change
and improve the quality of life of people with disabilities because it
embodies the very qualities of growth and pleasure: it is biologically
evolved to help us learn and build skills [
17
], it is naturally social [
73
,
p. 9-10], and the voluntary nature of play allows us to focus on the
style of play over the outcome [
12
]. Play captivates us all: scientists,
researchers, parents, children, teachers, and adults. It can be thought
of as a biological trait [
17
], an attitude [
72
], a phenomenological
state [
48
], a set of properties [
17
], a state of mind free from time
[
22
], a process [
28
], or an educational tool [
14
]. Even purposeless
play—or paratelic play—is useful because it provides an opportunity
for breaks, which are necessary components of serious activities
like work and dismantling oppression [
81
]. Play can elicit a sense
of pronoia or the suspicion that the universe is conspiring to help
[
55
]. Play provides a continuation desire. “Play trains our physical
skills, sharpens our mental abilities, and deepens our insights into
our social capabilities" [28]. Play helps everyone.
Play can be employed for pragmatic purposes, including helping
people with disabilities. Telic play is a serious mindset where we
engage in play for a specic purpose, while paratelic play is a
playful state where play itself is the goal [
79
]. When play is telic,
it often becomes constrained, contextualized, and structured to
achieve a premeditated purpose. One example is play therapy [
16
].
Play therapy has been eective for children with schizophrenia,
enuresis/encopresis, anxiety disorders, trichotillomania, selective
mutism, withdrawn behavior, acting out behaviors, sexual abuse,
trauma and neglect, learning/academic problems, and various life
adjustment problems [
15
,
16
]. It has been used with adults for
couples therapy, stress management, group therapy for older adults,
and psychotherapy [
71
]. Play carries meanings with signicant
resonance for older adults [43].
2.2.2 Games. Structured play inherently leads to thinking about
games [
90
]. Playfulness does not need to have the formal struc-
ture of games [
54
]. Games are generally benecial for the same
reasons play is generally benecial. They improve our cognitive
and social skills [
20
,
37
]. Games are used to teach us about politics
[
58
], experiences of others [
23
], and education [
68
]. Games can
make us superheroes of our own life and health [
56
]. Serious games
for health [
86
] have the potential to oer people with disabilities a
cost-eective, personalized, data-driven, connected, and motivating
context for otherwise tedious and repetitive therapy. Their under-
lying systems are designed to give us a reason to keep trying [
33
].
A variety of serious games for health had been documented to be
eective for their target populations, and they are wide-ranging
in their platforms, health outcomes, and target populations, from
an exergame to help blind children with balance [
60
] to embodied
persuasive games for adults in wheelchair [
36
], to speech therapy
for children with cleft [
27
], to mobile games for motivating tobacco-
free life in early adolescence [
65
]. Video games improved 69% of
psychological therapy outcomes, 59% of physical therapy outcomes,
50% of physical activity outcomes, 46% of clinician skills outcomes,
42% of health education outcomes, 42% of pain distraction outcomes,
and 37% of disease self-management outcomes [66].
2.3 Designing Assistive and Accessible
Technology
By their nature, several design methods are potentially supportive
of the participation of people with disabilities for creating assistive
and accessible technology [
84
]. Participatory Design [
62
] encom-
passes a variety of methodologies that can productively and eec-
tively include people with disabilities as co-designers including
focus groups [
32
], wizard of oz [
25
], cultural probes [
34
], brain-
storming [
88
], and bodystorming [
63
]to name a few. To successfully
implement these design methods, it helps to take an ability-focused
approach [
89
]. When people with disabilities are included early
and often in the design process, the resulting design artifact is of-
ten universally accessible and more usable by everyone [
80
]. In
both participatory design and universal design, the inclusion of
people with disabilities is not meant to benet only a minority of
the population, but rather everyone who engages with the design
[
80
]. Playful technology inspired by people with disabilities has the
potential to be universally benecial for anyone interested in engag-
ing. Many of our design concepts, described later, are potentially
exciting to people regardless of their disability status.
3 RESEARCH METHOD
Situated Play Design (SPD) [
5
] is an apt methodology for our work
because it allows us to unearth playful behaviors from people with
disabilities so that we can share them with fellow designers to
inspire future technology towards contributing to future designs,
either those to support play wholly or those with other purposes
where incorporating playful aspects could be benecial. Situated
Play Design is an extension to existing play design approaches that
focuses on uncovering existing manifestations of contextual play
as a starting point for designing for situated and emergent playful
engagement [
3
]. The playful interactions that exist and emerge
naturally as people with disabilities engage in their everyday con-
text and activities are likely meaningful to them [
5
]. SPD supports
designers in uncovering contextual play manifestations, called play
potentials, and using them as foundations of design intervention,
following three main steps: First, designers chase naturally existing
or spontaneously emerging forms of play when interacting with
users in (semi-) naturalistic settings. Second, a design intervention
is created to support and enhance those forms of play. Third, this
design intervention is deployed in the wild, where its impact can
be evaluated. These steps can be iterated until a satisfactory design
is achieved [
5
]. Due to the safety concerns related to COVID19 and
the higher health risk status of many people with disabilities, we
employed a contact-free approach to the SPD methodology. SPD
is an open methodological frame exible enough to complete all
three steps of chasing play potentials during the constraints of con-
ducting research during the COVID19 pandemic. For the rst step,
we chased play potentials and their contextual manifestations by
scraping existing content from content creators on TikTok with
disabilities using a Netnography-style approach [
51
], which we de-
scribe in depth in Scraping Content below. For the second step, we
took a generative approach to develop a catalog of design concepts
that could inspire future playful technology artifacts inspired by
the play potentials we scraped, described in depth in Designing Con-
cepts below. For step 3, we formed intermediate-level knowledge
CHI ’21, May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama, Japan Duval and Altarriba Bertran, et al.
via our 7 emerging themes and we envisioned the impact of our
designs in the Discussion by imagining speculative futures [
8
]. This
work provides an opportunity for ”design after design” [13] when
we are not constrained by current technical limitations and after
the pandemic when it is safer to engage with populations with
disabilities. The specic research questions that drove this work
are:
RQ1:
What play potentials exist from scraping content on TikTok
from creators with disabilities?
RQ2: What themes emerge from an analysis of scraped play poten-
tials, and how does the TikTok platform inuence the results?
RQ3:
What kinds of designs can the scraped play potentials inspire,
and how might these designs aect society?
Due to the COVID19 pandemic, we wanted to safely and non-
intrusively chase play potentials from these populations as part of
our broader research agenda [
5
], which is why we chose to scrape
existing content on social media. We chose TikTok because: (1)
it hosts massive amounts of playful content, (2) the video format
aords capturing interactions and often more context than images,
(3) people with disabilities have already adopted the platform, and
(4) features of the app allow us to nd relevant content, such as the
keyword search and the “For You” page described below.
We mentored 5 high school students (who are authors of this
paper) over an 8-week summer internship through a program called
Science Internship Program who worked on various computational
media projects related to designing and creating technology for peo-
ple with disabilities, including this project. The 5 high school interns
did the majority of the content scraping, data analysis, and design
concept sketching, under our guidance. All high school interns
completed the required training for conducting ethical research on
human subjects, received the training certicate, and are ocially
in our research protocol approved by our institutional review board.
All high school interns watched recorded lectures from undergradu-
ate classes that researchers taught to conduct a qualitative/thematic
analysis. All interns worked full-time with researchers and were
highly supervised, including daily meetings and regular auditing of
their work. All interns were exceptionally brilliant high performing
students in the top 10% of their high schools—and all were members
of historically disadvantaged communities and minorities. Classi-
cally trained HCI Researchers were responsible for overseeing the
high school interns, aggregating the coded data, computing the
agreement, and presenting the results.
3.1 Scraping Content
TikTok logs videos that users interact with and the creators that
people follow to train an algorithm that curates custom suggestions
hosted on the main page, the “For You” page. Each student created
a new TikTok account so that the curation algorithm would start
with a clean slate. For the rst week, the interns spent an hour
a day liking videos that they thought featured an interaction or
behavior that was susceptible to leading to a play potential (liber-
ally dened). By doing that, they trained the algorithm to highlight
playful content on the “For You” page. For the second week, the
students started to train the algorithm to curate playful content
from creators with disabilities by following creators with disabili-
ties and favoriting playful videos featuring people with disabilities.
To seed the algorithm, the highschoolers searched for relevant hash-
tags such as #disability, #disabled, #blind, #deaf, #signLanguage,
#cerebralPalsy, #accessibility, #colorBlind, #impairment, #handicap,
#autism, #ASD, #play, #game, #fun, and #haha. The keywords in-
cluded general terms related to disability, specic disabilities, and
terms to inuence the algorithm to show playful content. Videos
that contained play potentials were logged into a Google Sheet
(provided in the supplementary materials) that contains a link to
the video, the content creator’s handle, a brief description of the
video, and space for the students to list keywords and themes (RQ1).
To ensure the integrity of access to the content for data analysis,
we also stored all logged videos and a link to the copy, which was
prudent because of the potential bans to TikTok that took place
after we started. We asked interns to make quick 10-minute daily
diary entries to reect on the experience and process of scraping
content on TikTok from users with disabilities and doing design
work as an autoethnographic exercise [
29
]. By the third week, the
“For You” page was populated with relevant videos from people
with disabilities containing play potentials. When the content was
stale, the interns seeded the algorithm with more relevant hashtags
and logged relevant videos from their searches. The research team
met weekly to update the hashtags bank and discuss tactics for
seeding the algorithm to continue curating relevant content. The
interns scraped content for an hour a day, 5 days a week, for 4 weeks
(inclusive of the time it takes to log videos in the spreadsheet).
3.2 Data Analysis
Students independently generated a list of themes for the videos
and then collaborated as a group to propose a set of combined
themes to the research mentors (RQ2). Research mentors created
the nal theme names to be concise and descriptive during a group
meeting. The 7 themes are non-exclusive and are discussed in de-
tail in the Emerging Themes section. Interns spent an hour a day
for a week analyzing the logs and tagging relevant themes. We
hypothesized that TikTok is a very performative platform with a
few introspective reection instances. To better understand how
the platform impacted our results (RQ2), interns placed each play
potential on a spectrum of introspective to performative. Interns
highlighted exemplars (their favorite play potentials) and listed
technology mediums that might be relevant such as mobile devices,
the internet of things, and wearables. The completed analysis is
included in the supplementary materials. We highlighted exem-
plars because we wanted to design technology directly inspired
by exciting play potentials in context. We added possibly relevant
technology mediums to inspire ourselves to think about diverse
application possibilities.
3.3 Designing Concepts
For week six of the internship, we asked interns to brainstorm
1 concept individually for each theme. We had them work indi-
vidually to assess each student’s individual strengths. In weeks 7,
students worked in pairs to brainstorm more ideas and present
them to the larger group. Without any prior design experience, we
challenged students to ignore the current limitations of technol-
ogy, to design around playful moments instead of entire systems,
to be specic, to present their ideas visually, and to think beyond
Chasing Play on TikTok from Populations with Disabilities to Inspire Playful and Inclusive Technology Design CHI ’21, May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama, Japan
“helping” people with disabilities. We gave these directions because
speculative design [
8
] plays creatively with current technology
limitations to imagine futuristic-yet-plausible designs in ways that
transgress existing design directions. Mentors then facilitated a
group brainstorming session where we watched TikTok videos
marked as exemplars selected by students and then let students
pick resulting design ideas to create sketches. In week 8, mentors
provided feedback and tools on improving their design concept
sketches used in the interns’ nal presentation for the program.
The mentors then did one nal iteration on the interns’ designs pre-
sented in the Design Concept Catalog section of this paper (RQ3).
We reect on these design concepts’ possible implications in the
“Discussion” section of this paper (RQ3).
3.4 Ethics
The high school interns participating in the Science Internship Pro-
gram at University of California Santa Cruz are minors. Interns’
parents or legal guardians signed consent forms to allow them to
participate in summer research projects, including the work pre-
sented here. In addition, all high school summer interns completed
the required training for conducting ethical research on human sub-
jects provided by University of California Santa Cruz, received the
training certicate, and are ocially listed in our research protocol
approved by our institutional review board.
This research was reviewed and approved by our institutional
ethics review board. A tricky element of our research is scraping
existing content on social media and the ethical implications of
researching on these platforms. Our data collection method closely
aligns with Netnography[
51
], which has established ethical guide-
lines [
50
]. These include the notion of public versus private infor-
mation on social media, whether to anonymize or cite participants,
and informed consent. Kozinets argues that ethical procedures must
be decided on a case-by-case basis contingent upon the topic matter,
the research purposes and the research approach of the particular
netnography [
51
]. Some platforms such as Facebook and Instagram
have varying levels of security and privacy settings for content
and proles that complicate what is truly public. Researchers using
platforms with privacy settings must respect what is considered
public and not. TikTok is designed to be entirely public-facing. Tik-
Tok is not designed to group people, create small social circles, or
share private information to subsets of people—instead, it is an
open broadcasting platform where content creators try to reach
as many people as possible, strangers or otherwise. Bassett and
Kozinets argue that when the internet is used as a ”megaphone-like”
public broadcasting medium [
57
], we can thus perceive it as a form
of cultural production, in a similar framework to that of the print
media, broadcast television and radio where we should cite the
source so that broadcasters can be credited for their work [
11
,
50
].
Because this research is minimal risk and ts the notion of public
broadcasting online, we provided links to the original content in our
published materials to respect the creators’ (ongoing) decisions con-
cerning public access to the videos. Netnography of public archival
content (not active research interventions such as interviewing)
like the scraping methodology employed in this research would
be unduly complicated with informed consent because the man-
ual, non-automated access by researchers of public information
should be acceptable without special permissions or actions [
1
]
and removing information from unreachable broadcasters would
undermine researchers’ ability to contribute to society [
50
]. There-
fore, we included all applicable data scraped in our supplementary
materials and make every eort to represent the content in this
publication respectfully and in a positive light. Finally, our data
was manually scraped without any automated system or software
and is not used for commercial purposes, and therefore, at the time
of writing, adheres to TikTok’s terms of services.
4 EMERGING THEMES
5 high school students individually analyzed their subset of videos
to categorize them into the 7 emerging themes. Each theme is dis-
cussed in detail in the following sections. There were 285 unique
videos total and 24 videos analyzed by two or more students, causing
an overlap (RQ1). The theme categories are nominal, non-mutually
exclusive, and there were 5 total raters. Between all 7 themes in the
24 overlapping videos, two or more raters agreed on whether or not
a video belonged to a theme 147 times and disagreed 27 times, re-
sulting in an average agreement of 84.48%. While scraping content,
interns marked exemplar videos that showcased play potentials
they felt could directly inspire technology design. The number of
videos in each theme and the number of exemplars marked for each
theme is shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Distribution of TikTok videos by theme
Theme Total Exemplars
Everyday Theatrical Life Sketches 130 11
Playful Advocacy 110 7
Debunking Myths/Stereotypes 24 7
Gamication Therapy/Rehab 51 25
Impossible Challenges 12 7
Perks of my Disability 10 1
Duet Dierences 12 3
Some people with disabilities use TikTok to log their personal
reections, while some use it to reach an audience—the distinction
is whether the video was originally recorded for oneself or others.
We hypothesized that the performative nature of TikTok and the
completely public-facing broadcast aordances of the app would
lead to videos that trend outwards from self (away from introspec-
tive and reective content). Therefore, raters placed each video on
a 5 point Likert scale where 1 is totally introspective (like a diary
entry), 3 is elements of both, and 5 is totally performative (like a
talent show). The resulting mean is 3.7 with a standard deviation of
1.38, and a skew of -0.72, conrming our hypothesis that content on
TikTok is generally more outward-facing. As shown in the top chart
of Figure 2, the frequency of the rating is highly skewed towards
performative, where points were averaged and rounded when mul-
tiple raters analyzed the same video. These results conclude that the
TikTok platform does impact the type of play potentials that can be
scraped from the platform (RQ2) and, therefore, the types of designs
we can expect it to inspire. Interns were also asked to imagine what
technology medium might be most interesting to design for, given
CHI ’21, May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama, Japan Duval and Altarriba Bertran, et al.
Figure 2: On the top: Frequencies of TikTok videos rated on a
1-5 performativity Likert scale and on the bottom: a pie chart
depicting the frequencies of which mediums each video in-
spired
the play potentials in each of the videos. The frequency of each
medium is displayed in the pie chart in the bottom of Figure 2.
4.1 Everyday Theatrical Life Sketches
Videos that showcased dramatic performances of “A day in the life
of a person with a disability” were categorized into the Everyday
Theatrical Life Sketches theme. Of all the 7 themes, this is the broad-
est, and many of the videos sorted into this theme are also sorted
into many of the themes described below. Within this theme, we
saw many types of dramatic performances that featured humor,
skits, and reenactments. We saw many similarities in the strategies
content creators used to improv methodologies used by actors [
69
].
In particular, content creators would try to recreate moments that
were not initially captured on camera but would enhance or dra-
matize it to be more appealing for their audience. These moments
they tried to recreate did not always go as planned, and sometimes
the bloopers created more exciting posts, much like an actor might
do during an improv sketch.
In Figure 3, the TikTok screenshot numbered 1 depicts a person
condently navigating their house backward in a wheelchair with-
out looking
1
. The TikTok screenshot numbered 2 in Figure 3 shows
a blind person humorously crashing into a basketball board
2
. These
examples’ juxtaposition is interesting because they depict dramatic
reenacted moments that represent extreme levels of ability. The
rst shows mastery of assistive technology that removes a handicap
while the second shows how sight is required to play basketball.
In both, the background music was carefully selected—in the rst,
it creates a condent eect, and in the second, it climaxes to a
moment of surprise and humor.
4.2 Playful Advocacy
Videos that educate the general population on disability subjects
were categorized into the Playful Advocacy theme. The eect of
these TikToks was generally lighthearted and creative. For example,
many videos described proper social etiquette related to disability
that creators prefer, such as avoiding pulling blind people by the
hand or tugging at their sleeves when helping them cross the street
(Instead, oer your assistance, and they will tell you the best way
to guide them).
In Figure 3, the TikTok screenshot numbered 3 shows a person
who has quadriplegia explaining how they use a hair tie to hold a
fork
3
. The TikTok screenshot numbered 4 in Figure 3 is of a person
in a wheelchair singing about their partial paralysis
4
. The creators
set up a positive and welcoming environment by smiling and using
upbeat sound eects in both posts.
4.3 Debunking Myths and Stereotypes
Posts that bring to common light misconceptions of people with
disabilities are categorized into the Debunking Myths and Stereo-
types theme. These videos are often formatted by illustrating the
dierence between how the audience thinks people with disabil-
ities complete certain tasks versus how they actually complete
tasks. Many feature solutions on how people with dierent disabil-
ities complete everyday tasks that people without disabilities often
would not consider, such as the aordances of dierent types of
wheelchairs. Content in these videos is sometimes exaggerated to
make a stronger point—16.12% are also categorized as Everyday
Theatrical Life Sketches—but most are more serious, and many are
responses prompted by disrespectful comments on the platform
from trolls.
In Figure 3, the TikTok screenshot numbered 5 shows a drummer
with 1 hand using 2 drumsticks
5
. The TikTok screenshot numbered
6 in Figure 3 is a blind person showing the dierence between how
their audience thinks they pour a glass of water versus how they
actually pour it
6
. Both are in response to a misconception that their
disability prohibits them from possessing a skill or needing help to
complete tasks.
1https://tinyurl.com/y3jj8jeu
2https://tinyurl.com/y6yvkecs
3https://tinyurl.com/y4c66299
4https://tinyurl.com/y4jt5gfo
5https://tinyurl.com/y6lehk9p
6https://tinyurl.com/y6hzapoc
Chasing Play on TikTok from Populations with Disabilities to Inspire Playful and Inclusive Technology Design CHI ’21, May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama, Japan
Figure 3: Example TikTok videos organized into each theme labeled by number and described in the text
CHI ’21, May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama, Japan Duval and Altarriba Bertran, et al.
4.4 Gamication of Therapy/Rehabilitation
TikTok videos that feature games, competition and challenges that
motivate completing exercises related to one’s disability are catego-
rized into the Gamication of Therapy/Rehabilitation theme. 46.81%
of videos within this theme involve intense physical movement and
could directly inspire exergames [
77
] and physical rehabilitation
serious games for health [
86
]. Dance was mentioned in 41 videos
(often due to viral dance challenges) and could be an exciting design
opportunity.
In Figure 3, the TikTok screenshot numbered 7 depicts two peo-
ple with prosthetic legs racing each other
7
. The TikTok screenshot
numbered 8 in Figure 3 shows a person with Parkinson’s using
a screen overlay lter to navigate a digital maze in a 1-handed
planking position controlling a dot with their movement to build
strength and work through tremors
8
. The rst video represents a
play potential that has not yet been augmented by technology. In
contrast, the second showcases a play potential that has already
been augmented, but could be improved with further iteration to in-
clude scoring, leader boards, social challenges, maps with dynamic
diculty, sensors, or badges. People naturally appropriate tech,
such as camera lters, for their own goals that might not be the
original use case, such as turning a maze game into an exergame.
Designing playful tech with exible aordances can lead to novel
uses cases that can improve our well-being.
4.5 Impossible Challenges
Posts that showcase people with disabilities attempting to complete
tasks that they physically cannot do without tools or assistance are
categorized into the Impossible Challenges theme. What is interest-
ing about these videos is that the demonstrations can potentially
educate the general population through empathy [
52
]. They show-
case how disabilities can impair someone and provide a virtual
sensitizing exercise by supplying outsiders with experiences that
allow them to adopt the perspective of someone with a disabil-
ity supporting mine/thine strategies [
26
]. The public perception of
disability can be improved through exposure and mutual under-
standing. Work in this area has the potential to motivate policy
that provides reasonable access and lessens discrimination toward
people with disabilities [46].
In Figure 3, the TikTok screenshot numbered 9 depicts a person
who is colorblind sorting candy by color
9
. The TikTok screenshot
numbered 10 in Figure 3 shows a deaf person trying to produce
animal noises such as a pig’s oink or a cat’s meow—a true chal-
lenge given they have never heard the sound or able to hear their
own imitation
10
. These videos might spark an education around
disabilities by prompting questions such as “If you cannot see red
and green, how do you drive?” or “How do deaf people learn to
pronounce words?”—which people did ask in the comments. These
are important conversations.
7https://tinyurl.com/yxtd5yyn
8https://tinyurl.com/y3heaven
9https://tinyurl.com/y4sz66xz
10https://tinyurl.com/y3oso8n2
4.6 Perks of My Disability
Sometimes our disabilities can give us superpowers. There is a
common misconception that disability is the opposite of ability
[
46
], but a disability is a physical or mental condition that aects
a person’s movements, senses, or activities. The Perks of My Dis-
ability theme holds content that amplies moments that creators
feel empowered and more able than those without their disability.
The example numbered 11 in Figure 3 shows a person using their
prosthetic foot on the hot pavement to give their other foot a break
from the heat
11
. Another humorous example includes a video of
an amputee detaching her prosthetic during a game of Twister to
gain an advantage
12
. As a society, we should celebrate perks of
disabilities, such as the unique visuospatial abilities of people with
autism [
59
]. Well-designed assistive technology has the potential
to empower people with disabilities uniquely.
4.7 Duet Dierences
By denition, the aordances of technology shape how people use
it [
40
] and appropriate it, which became necessary for our analysis
because people with disabilities used TikTok’s “Duet” feature to
juxtapose their own video with others’. There are two primary ways
people with disabilities used the “Duet” feature: to share their real-
time reactions to another post or to explain how they do an activity
dierently from someone doing the same activity in another post.
When posts used the duet feature to highlight something about
the creator’s disability, the video was categorized into the Duet
Dierences theme. There are no such things as groups on TikTok,
and creators use the “Duet” feature to create communities within
the social network. In Figure 3, the TikTok screenshot numbered
12 depicts two people who are C5 quadriplegics comparing how
the same diagnosis aects their dancing abilities
13
. The TikTok
screenshot numbered 13 in Figure 3 shows two people with Cere-
bral Palsy completing a dance challenge to raise awareness about
their disability. In both of these examples, people with the same dis-
ability highlight their dierences, while at the same time fostering
a community of education and growth around disability awareness
on TikTok.
5 DESIGN CONCEPT CATALOG
We created 20 design concepts based on play potentials found from
scraping TikTok for playful videos featuring content creators with
disabilities and share 8 of our favorite concepts in this paper. These
concepts are meant to illustrate one method of engaging popu-
lations with disabilities, to inspire possible future technologies,
and to advocate for inclusive and accessible general technology
design. Our goal was to create a variety of ideas, so we did not
constrain ourselves to the limitations of current technology or a
particular platform. We also did not limit our ideas to only acces-
sible technology or only assistive technology, though some of the
concepts indeed could be described as accessible or assistive. Our
work is generative—while some of our concepts could feasibly be
prototyped with today’s technology, iterated on, and evaluated by
stakeholders, the purpose of this work is not to build and evaluate
11https://tinyurl.com/yxejuxtk
12https://tinyurl.com/y58zn2xg
13https://tinyurl.com/y2emowms
Chasing Play on TikTok from Populations with Disabilities to Inspire Playful and Inclusive Technology Design CHI ’21, May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama, Japan
Figure 4: Compilation of our catalog of design concept sketches that are individually described in the text
CHI ’21, May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama, Japan Duval and Altarriba Bertran, et al.
a system, it is to envision and speculate possible future designs [
8
]
and to add to a larger body of work calling for disability-inclusive
design [
18
,
42
,
70
,
84
,
85
]. In this section, we describe a subset of
our design concepts and reect on the unique elements of each, but
provide a broader discussion as part of the Discussion section of
this paper. Table 2 provides an overview of the concepts, including
the populations they could be relevant for, the technology mediums
that might be interesting to implement each of the designs in, which
of the themes described above the design supports, whether or not
the design has the potential to increase the visibility of people with
disabilities in society, and whether or not the technology has the
potential to be assistive to people with disabilities.
5.1 BeatRings
Beat Rings was inspired by a person with a neuromuscular disease
called Friedreich Ataxia tracking her hand coordination progress by
tapping her ngers to a viral challenge called the “#transitionChal-
lenge” that requires a person to tap each hand at a dierent rate
14
. People, regardless of their disabilities status, participated in the
viral TikTok challenge, and we hypothesize that Beat Rings could
be enjoyable broadly. The sketch in Figure 4 shows the original post
that inspired this design, a mockup of Beat Rings, and how they
might be used in a social setting. We envision Beat Rings to be un-
obtrusive rings worn on ngers and embedded with accelerometers
to detect tapping and wireless communication abilities to be able to
communicate with smart speakers and other smart devices. Users
could wear as many rings as they wanted on whichever ngers they
want to record actively. Each ring can be assigned an instrument
or a ri, and users can play by tapping their ngers to their thumb
or tapping on any other surface. Users can create Guitar Hero-type
challenges to battle with friends or jam together without needing
to know how to play an instrument.
5.2 Challenge Me App
The Challenge Me App is a social media concept that fosters com-
munities of people with disabilities to skillshare, similar to DIY
culture. It was inspired by many play potentials found within the
Everyday Theatrical Life Sketches theme. Figure 4 shows one of
the posts that inspired the design and a mockup of what the app
could look like. The app would foster creativity by leveraging our
collective nature to develop the best solution to a specic challenge.
For example, opening a door without arms could be a challenge that
the app collects solutions that can be up-voted for dimensions such
as originality, creativity, cost-eectiveness, complexity, delivery,
accessibility, dependability, and independence. The app has the
potential to foster innovation within the community, foster com-
munity building, skillshare, and inspire better assistive technology.
5.3 Bop It! Me
Bop It toys are a line of audio games that issue a random series
of pre-recorded audio commands to press buttons, pull handles,
twist cranks, spin wheels, and ick switches on the toy quickly
as the pace of the game and the player’s score increases. Bop It!
Me is a design concept inspired by a TikTok viral dance challenge
where a person with partial paralysis completed the dance with
14https://tinyurl.com/y4wsw3ne
the help of another who moved their legs for them. The concept
idea, shown in Figure 4, features rigid body braces that would keep
a person (paralyzed or not) in a plank position and from moving
their lower body. The device has strategically placed Bop It!-style
sensors such as conductive fabric, a headband for wiping one’s
brow, a button to bop one’s hip, a sensor on a rotating base for one
to “twist” or rollover, as well as an array of accelerometers to detect
exercises such as push-ups. The device could support independent
high scores, instructions for high-intensity, short-interval exercises,
and exergames. It could be modular to customize sensors’ placement
and control how physically demanding the experience is. The frame
could also be modular and provide rigid support for dierent ability
levels and challenge levels.
5.4 Sight Cartridges
Sight Cartridges is inspired by TikToks showcasing glasses that
allow people who are colorblind to see color for the rst time
15
,
empathy tools for simulating various vision impairments [
10
], and
the asymmetrical virtual reality game titled Keep Talking and No-
body explodes [
2
]. The premise of this concept, shown in Figure
4 is a game where players collaborate to solve visual challenges
wearing glasses that aord them dierent visual privileges, such as
being able to see color, to see a wide eld of view without center
clarity, or to see some areas sharply without a wide eld of view.
The glasses would have interchangeable cartridges that simulate
dierent visual impairments to be used in the game and could also
be used outside the game as empathy tools. Players with visual
impairments would not need to use the glasses. The game itself
could have various themes such as nanobots with dierent abilities
working together to nd their target, alien creatures adapting to
a new planet with multiple stars, or coming to terms in a new life
inside the Matrix with malfunctioning brain-computer interfaces.
5.5 Push!
Push! is a design concept inspired by a TikTok showcasing two
wheelchair users pushing against a yellow block in a strength com-
petition where they try to move the block into the other player’s
territory similar to Tug-of-War
16
, shown in Figure 4. This design
concept would be found in an arcade where sensors are used to
keep high scores, and the game could feature narratives such as
personifying a bulldozer, racing as a locomotive, or spinning the
wheels independently to generate music. This design concept has
the potential to increase the visibility of disabilities in a safe pub-
lic space, allow people to experience a wheelchair, and compete
against actual wheelchair users (who would most likely win) on an
equal playing eld.
5.6 Wheelchairboarding
Wheelchairboarding is based directly on a TikTok video showcasing
a person in a wheelchair placed on top of a skateboard speeding
down the road laterally and steering by tilting forward and back-
ward on the balanced wheelchair
17
. This design concept is another
arcade game similar to other racing arcade games that simulate
15https://tinyurl.com/y5wqg2cb
16https://tinyurl.com/y5p7xeky
17urlhttps://tinyurl.com/y2hu5gu4
Chasing Play on TikTok from Populations with Disabilities to Inspire Playful and Inclusive Technology Design CHI ’21, May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama, Japan
Table 2: Overview of design concepts
Name Target Population Medium Themes Visibility Potential Therapy Potential
Beat Rings
General Population
Physical Impairments
Sensory Tool
Tangible
Audio
Theater Sketches
Gamication
Duet Dierences
Yes Yes
Challenge Me People with Disabilities
General Population Screens
Debunking Stereotypes
Impossible Challenges
Duet Dierences
Yes Yes
BopIt! Me General Population
Physical Impairments Wearables Gamication
Impossible Challenges Yes Yes
Sight Cartridges General Population Wearables
Mixed Reality
Playful Advocacy
Debunking Stereotypes
Impossible Challenges
Perks of my Disability
Yes No
Push! General Population
Wheelchair Users Arcade Gamication
Perks of My Disability Yes Yes
Wheelchairboarding General Population
Wheelchair Users Arcade
Theater Sketches
Playful Advocacy
Debunking Stereotypes
Perks of My Disability
Yes No
Spy Vest General Population Wearables
Internet of Things
Theater Sketches
Gamication No Yes
Rant Booth People with Disabilities
General Population
Tangible
Internet of Things
Playful Advocacy
Debunking Stereotypes
Impossible Challenges
Yes No
various vehicles, shown in Figure 4. This game has the potential to
have the same visibility and empathy benets described in Push!,
but also has the potential to provide a safe space for wheelchair
users to practice skateboarding.
5.7 Spy Vest
Spy Vest is inspired by a series of TikToks from mothers sharing
ideas and strategies for raising children with Autism Spectrum
Disorder, such as nishing chores before getting the WiFi password
or creating soothing sensory experiences. Many of the mothers
expressed diculty motivating their children to get physical activity.
Spy Vest, shown in Figure 4 is a wearable design concept featuring
earbuds, accelerometers, haptic feedback, and a water squirt gun
that can be enabled and disabled by the tech. The vest feeds secret
missions to the child through the earbuds and uses the sensors to
validate that the exercises are being performed. As a reward, the
child gets a nal puzzle that unlocks the WiFi and allows them to
shoot water at their parents and siblings.
5.8 Rant Booth
Rant Booth is inspired by TikTok videos featuring people with dis-
abilities ranting about the public infrastructure that handicaps them
and from videos where content creators nd strangers in public
spaces and interview them about their lives and donate crowd-
sourced funds to those in need. Rant Booth, shown in Figure 4,
is a private booth located in accessible public spaces that play-
fully lures people in and prompts them to rant about challenges in
their community. The booth would create a montage of humorous
themed animations and altered voices using machine learning sent
to policy-makers and local ocials, prompting them to invest in
a more universally accessible infrastructure based on community
feedback.
6 DISCUSSION
This paper’s primary purpose is to advocate for the design of play-
ful technology for and to build designer empathy for people with
disabilities. Technology development should include people with
disabilities as stakeholders, and technology designed with and for
people with disabilities does not always need to be serious. “Dis-
ability is a natural part of the human condition resulting from that
spectrum—and will touch most of us at one time or another in
our lives. The goal is not to xate on, overreact to, or engage in
stereotypes about such dierences, but to take them into account
and allow for reasonable accommodation for individual abilities
and impairments that will permit equal participation”[
46
]. Our rst
research question, RQ1 (What play potentials exist from scraping con-
tent on TikTok from creators with disabilities?), involved unearthing
playful content from people with disabilities on TikTok. There were
three strategies available to us for nding these posts: 1) searching
keywords in the form of hashtags, 2) “favoriting” videos that met
our criteria to train the “For You” page’s curation algorithm, and 3)
following content creators with disabilities. The process created an
interesting feedback loop between us and the curation algorithm
that likely uses machine learning. In some ways, in our work, the
algorithm took a research assistant’s role because it sought out data
for our study. The massive scale biases and assumptions the algo-
rithms foster likely impacted our work. There have been numerous
news articles that describe how the TikTok algorithm suppresses
CHI ’21, May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama, Japan Duval and Altarriba Bertran, et al.
the voices of those with disabilities, most likely due to how the
general population interacts with content from people with disabil-
ities. Massive-scale interactions with people with disabilities may
have the potential to train the curation algorithms to show content
from people with disabilities to the general population more often,
creating more visibility.
Our second research question, RQ2 (What themes emerge from
an analysis of scraped play potentials and how does the TikTok plat-
form inuence the results?), involved analyzing the TikTok posts we
logged to sort them into 7 emerging themes, highlight exemplars,
rate the level of “performativity”, and tagging technological medi-
ums that would be interesting to design for. We found that content
on TikTok is generally performative, exaggerated, and dramatized,
indicating that our design concepts are more likely to elicit these
types of experiences. TikTok is likely a less appropriate platform to
nd play potentials that inspire more introspective designs. Many
of the play potentials we found are about how people with dis-
abilities are playful with social media—that is, they involve social
media—which is very dierent from being playful without social
media, possibly limiting the scope and applicability of our themes.
Our third research question, RQ3 (What kinds of designs can the
scraped play potentials inspire and how might these designs aect
society?) began with using the exemplars to inspire design con-
cepts. Our 8 designs concepts are just that—concepts—they were
inspired by people with disabilities and contain expertise from for-
mally trained designers, but they are jumping-o points for future
work in their current state. Soon, when technology and sensors’
abilities can support these designs, the concepts would need to be
evaluated, vetted, and iterated on with stakeholders in the target
population. The design catalog can also serve as a conversation
piece for facilitating discussions around speculative futures [
8
]. We
begin this conversation by speculating on some of these potential
future implications in the next section.
6.1 Possible Implications of Design Concepts
A common theme in two of our design concepts was using arcades
as a safe space to facilitate disability visibility, understanding, and
empathy. Arcades are shared spaces where people of many ages,
genders, and cultures come together to play. Arcade games can be
accessible to those with various disabilities and can host games that
emulate assistive technology and devices for everyone to experience.
These games can allow people with and without disabilities to play
together, fostering relationships and friendships.
Many of our concepts could be enjoyed by both people with
and without disabilities, such as the Beat Rings and Spy Vest—and
could be played socially by peers regardless of their disability status.
One key design goal for possible future implementations of these
concepts is modular designs that are exible to accommodate many
use cases and ability levels. For example, the Bop It! Me concept
uses a frame that allows dierent rigid supports for those with
movement impairments. People are naturally adept at leveraging
and appropriating aordances to accommodate their needs. For
example, most creators with disabilities used the “Stickers” video
editing feature in TikTok to create closed captions for their videos
even though it does not natively support them. Some of our concepts
are designed to be used exclusively by people with disabilities,
such as Challenge Me , which fosters community building and skill-
sharing.
Interestingly, there are many similarities to the enhance the play
step proposed in the Situated Play Design methodology [
3
] in the
enhancements content creators made to their performances. Many
of the posts were clearly re-enactments, scripted, and dramatized
to make them more entertaining. This is similar to enhance the
play because content creators made mundane, everyday life more
fun, suggesting that people without formal design training and
people with disabilities are natural play chasers. Now, with the
global epidemic, it is more evident than ever that we need more joy
and play in our lives—and content creators are bridging this gap
during these stressful times with their heightened and playful per-
formances. Technology design that supports playful performances,
as some of our design concepts illustrate (e.g., Beat Rings, Challenge
Me, Bop It! Me, Wheelchairboarding, and Spy Vest), should support
performers who have disabilities as well. Through continued ex-
posure to designs that support performers with disabilities, our
societies may build a greater understanding of disability as a politi-
cal concept, advocate more for equitable access, and become more
inclusive.
When augmenting the play potentials we found, we did not
prioritize designs that served pragmatic goals. All of our design
concepts have the potential to improve the public image of people
with disabilities, foster empathy within communities, and promote
play, which is generally benecial—all of which are the primary
motivations of this work. The Rant Booth concept represents a
playful technology that could directly inuence policy-makers and
community leaders who have the power and capital to make a more
accessible infrastructure. Based on the nature of the content we
scraped on TikTok where people with disabilities often showcased
how they deal with their disability, some of our design concepts
could be considered assistive technology that could serve a prag-
matic purpose. For example, Beat Rings can help people with ne
motor impairments, Bop It! Me can help improve stamina, and Push!
can improve strength.
Our results conrmed our hypothesis that TikTok is a performa-
tive platform where the content tends to be exaggerated, dramatized,
and elevated. The emerging themes and the resulting concepts were
directly fueled by performative TikTok content, impacting the de-
mographics that might be interested in the futures our designs may
support.
6.2 Limitations
Our work’s most prominent limitation is that we did not directly
engage with people with disabilities—we indirectly scraped their
content from TikTok. People with disabilities have not yet evaluated
our concepts, and when appropriate, the specic target populations
they could impact. In this work, our priority was to maintain a safe
distance from these populations who often are at higher risk of
COVID19, and to refrain from placing any extra burdens on them
during these stressful times, while still gaining design inspiration
and insight. The goal of our work was to generate concepts that
might inspire future technology, using existing content from these
communities to inspire technology design, and to support our re-
search agenda that general everyday technology should be playful,
Chasing Play on TikTok from Populations with Disabilities to Inspire Playful and Inclusive Technology Design CHI ’21, May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama, Japan
inclusive, and sometimes, non-utilitarian. Instead of a formal evalu-
ation, we engaged in speculative design [
8
] practices to evaluate
the potential of the design catalog.
Our design concepts are intentionally vague in many ways. We
did not design every interaction, aordance, and detail. We designed
speculative design concepts that can serve as inspiration for future
technology or as discussion probes. When it comes time to bring
designs to fruition, a participatory approach should be used and
include people with disabilities. Our design concepts were intern-
lead and directly inspired by exemplar TikToks they selected. More
experienced designers may use our data set to generate novel ideas
based more broadly on our emerging themes and their expertise.
TikTok has been and may continue to be banned in many coun-
tries, but the lessons learned here may be generalizable beyond
this particular social media platform. There are many social me-
dia platforms that feature playful video content from people with
disabilities, including Youtube, Vimeo, Instagram, Facebook, and
Twitter. Much of what is discussed in this paper may be generaliz-
able to chasing play on those platforms.
6.3 Future Work
Much of the scraping, brainstorming, and design work was com-
pleted by high school students (who are also authors of this paper),
participating in an 8-week summer internship. From a methodolog-
ical and pedagogical standpoint, there are many exciting insights
documented in their logs and reections and our experience do-
ing research-through-design work with them. The internship also
served as an entry point into empathy for people with disabilities.
There was much growth and learning with each of the interns dur-
ing the 8-week internship, and we would like to share these insights
with the ASSETS community (the premier conference on accessi-
ble computing). We want to work with stakeholders on bringing
some of these concepts to fruition for further study. As we con-
tinue researching other platforms, we are interested in formulating
suggestions to social media companies to better support people
with disabilities to improve their products and make them more
enjoyable for populations with disabilities.
7 CONCLUSION
We collectively scraped content on TikTok from content creators
with disabilities for 100 hours (5 interns for an hour a day, 5 days
a week, for 4 weeks), resulting in 285 video posts containing play
potentials [
3
] (RQ1). We analyzed and organized the posts into 7
emerging themes: Everyday Theatrical Life Sketches,Playful Ad-
vocacy, Debunking Myths and Stereotypes,Gamication of Ther-
apy/Rehab,Impossible Challenges,Perks of My Disability, and Duet
Dierences (RQ2). Finally, we created a catalog of 8 design con-
cepts inspired by some of the play potentials and speculate on how
they could inform the design of future playful technology that sup-
ports people with disabilities (RQ3). We found that content creators
are natural performers and play chasers. We discussed how our
concepts have the potential to inspire designs that can facilitate dis-
ability visibility, understanding, and empathy—and the importance
of this potential impact on society cannot be overstated. Our contri-
butions add to a larger body of work advocating for the inclusion
of people with disabilities in the design process. We provide the
rst data set of TikTok posts focused exclusively on content cre-
ators with disabilities being playful using the Situated Play Design
methodology.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Most importantly, we would like to thank all of the content creators
on TikTok who inspired us and enabled this work. We appreciate the
Science Internship Program and all of the participating interns who
impressed us with their skills and eagerness to learn. We are grate-
ful to the TikTok platform for enabling diverse content creators.
Finally, we appreciate the quality feedback from our reviewers that
strengthened the presentation of our work.
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In March 2020 the United Nations published an open brief for the creative community to propose interventions to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. However, when faced with unprecedented wicked problems such as these, the rigour of design and creative processes can tested. COVID-19 has demonstrated how important human centred design responses are in understanding the worldviews and ecosystems of users. Ad hoc design responses or design hacks have demonstrated that they have a role to play in how we create our future individual, community and societal ecosystems. In terms of age friendly design, this pandemic makes us envision what should be, furthermore, how we could create better products and services through technology. For our ageing communities 'Cocooning' and other social restriction measures have exposed technological deficiencies for the needs of older people and opens up questions of our future preparedness for a growing ageing society. Now more than ever, designers need to understand the behavioural mind-set of older people in their own ecosystem and understand existing mental models. In this opinion piece we posit what acts of design hacking can lead us to greater understanding of users mental models and therefore better understanding of technology needs for both older and younger adults. While presenting various examples of how design hacking is conducted by citizens and participants alike, it shows that it offers designers differing perspectives, experiences and inspiration for technology.
Preprint
Full-text available
User involvement is well established in game and play design. But in a time when play design is becoming relevant in domains beyond pure entertainment, and play blends into everyday activity in diverse ways, we need to revisit old, and develop new, user involvement methods. Using a situated perspective and Research through Design, we present Situated Play Design (SPD), a novel approach for the design of playful interventions aimed at open-ended, everyday activities that are non-entertainment based. Like user-centered game and play design methods, our contribution leverages user engagement; like Participatory Design methods, our method acknowledges the co-creating role of end users. SPD extends those approaches by focusing on uncovering existing manifestations of contextual playful engagement and using them as design material. Through two case studies, we illustrate our approach and the design value of using existing and emergent playful interactions of users in context as inspirations for future designs. This allows us to provide actionable strategies to design for in-context playful engagement.
Book
The Improv Handbook is the most comprehensive, smart, helpful and inspiring guide to improv available today. Applicable to comedians, actors, public speakers and anyone who needs to think on their toes, it features a range of games, interviews, descriptions and exercises that illuminate and illustrate the exciting world of improvised performance. First published in 2008, this second edition features a new foreword by comedian Mike McShane, as well as new exercises on endings, managing blind offers and master–servant games, plus new and expanded interviews with Keith Johnstone, Neil Mullarkey, Jeffrey Sweet and Paul Rogan. The Improv Handbook is a one-stop guide to the exciting world of improvisation. Whether you’re a beginner, an expert, or would just love to try it if you weren’t too scared, The Improv Handbook will guide you every step of the way.
Conference Paper
In this paper we discuss strategies to support our design research agenda of promoting playful engagement within everyday activities and situations. We argue that this agenda is in alignment with the ethos of the third wave of HCI. To support design in this space, we build upon Situated Play Design, an open methodological frame that focuses on uncovering existing manifestations of contextual play as a starting point for designing playful technology. Towards further developing that approach, here we highlight a series of emergent methodological challenges, and speculate tactics to address them. Our contribution is a methodological reflection of how to support situated play design, as well as an invitation for designers to continue envisioning, articulating and sharing new methods in this emerging space.
Conference Paper
We propose a Situated Play Design (SPD) workshop aimed at exploring how culture and traditions can guide playful design. Using food as an accessible starting point, we invite scholars from diverse communities to share, analyze, and make creative use of playful traditions, and prototype new and interesting eating experiences. Through hands-on engagement with traditions, play and technology, we will discuss strategies to make designerly use of forms of play that are embedded in culture. The outcomes of the workshop will be twofold: First, in response to recent calls for increasingly situated and emergent play design methods, we explore strategies to chase culturally-grounded play. Second, we produce an annotated portfolio of "play potentials" to inspire the design of future food-related technologies. The workshop will contribute to enriching the set of tools available for designers interested in play and technologies for everyday-use, in and beyond the food domain.
Chapter
People who are suffering from oculopathy have a tons of inconveniences in daily life due to cognitive difficulties. Our research results - eye disease simulator embrace inclusive design philosophy may make some changes. However, a kind of empathy tools aimed at helping designer experience eye disease has been lacking for a long time. Our project brings out an eye disease simulator based on mixed reality technology (Microsoft Hololens) enable designers understand the eye disease patient better, and verify & optimize visual design through serious expert interviews, patient shadowing and other design methods. Compared with the previously existed oculopathy simulator, our research result covers a variety of eye disease’s traits, even more truly reveal the world of visually impaired groups can see. Getting the benefit from wearability and interactivity of Microsoft Hololens, visual designers can see world through transparent front glass simultaneously in an acceptable way, while recording issues on previous guide system through various interaction (including Leapmotion, eye tacking). Our research results can be widely used to guide system design in public space, web design and so on. In conclusion, our research project validates the effectiveness of eye disease simulator through actual design cases, and explores new approach that combines cutting-edge technologies with orthodox empathy design tools.