Designing engagements with animals to find, imagine, or emphasize non-speciesist practices
After months of designing, drawing, animating, and coding, the prototype of a new form of digitally mediated human-animal interaction finally starts to take shape. Together with Alex Camilleri we are putting a lot of our free time into the development of a tablet game for cats and humans called Felino. We started to develop this game because we are convinced that we, as humans, can develop better tablet entertainment for cats than the applications that currently exist.
Felino is a digital toy that allows humans and cats to play together. The main objective of Felino is really simple: enjoy and share playful moments with your feline companion. No highscores, no time pressure, no game-over – rather an experience that is more understandable for a cat: time spent playing together.
We studied almost everything there is to know about cats since August 2013. This guided us in developing a digital experience that is based on informed design decisions that follow the initial guidelines proposed in the paper “Digitally Complemented Zoomorphism: a Theoretical Foundation for Human-Animal Interaction Design“, published last year by me and Stefano Gualeni.
With the current prototype the fun part starts: in the coming eight weeks, I will continue with user testing as part of my first year thesis project for the Master in Interaction Design I am following at Malmö University. Yes, this means that we will need to convince cats to voluntarily participate in my research. The aim of this study is to find out if structural analysis of video observations can provide additional value for user testing in animals and contribute to new design iterations for the game.
We do not have a specific release date in mind for our game. Eventually, we want to release Felino on both Android and iOS whenever it’ is ready.
I will keep you updated!