Regarding Value in Digital Serendipitous Interactions

  • Ricardo Melo ID+ / Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto, Portugal
  • Miguel Carvalhais INESC TEC / Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto, Portugal
Keywords: Serendipity, Interaction, Experience, Digital Medium, Design, Defamiliarisation, Creativity.


Digital technologies have become our privileged method of interacting with information. With their ubiquity, and focus on personalisation, optimisation and functionality, chance and accidental interactions in the Digital Medium are being replaced with filtered, predictable and known ones, limiting the scope of possible user experiences.In order to promote the design of richer experiences that go beyond the functionally-driven paradigm, we propose that digital systems be designed in order to favour serendipity. Through a literature-based analysis of serendipity, we explore the distinct meanings of value that are possible with serendipitous systems, offering examples of the current state of the art, observing the methods used to do so, and proposing a possible typology, while highlighting unexplored fields, experiences and interactions. 

Author Biographies

Ricardo Melo, ID+ / Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto, Portugal
Ricardo Melo holds a degree in Communication Design from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto and a Masters in Multimedia from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto. With a background in graphic, interface and interaction design, he is currently a PhD student in Design from the University of Porto and the Research Institute for Design, Media and Culture, where he was awarded an FCT scholarship in order to develop his thesis on the value of serendipity in digital interactions.
Miguel Carvalhais, INESC TEC / Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto, Portugal
Miguel Carvalhais (Porto, 1974) is a designer and musician. He is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, teaching and researching new media and interaction design. Since the mid-1990s he has been working on computational media and studying creative practices with procedural systems. He is the author of a book on this topic, Artificial Aesthetics, published by U.Porto Edições.


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