Communicate, Critique and Co-create (CCC) Future Technologies through Design Fictions in VR Environment

About the Workshop

Design fiction enables HCI and design researchers to co- create, explore and speculate the future. It is growing in popularity given the growing complexities of emerging HCI systems and innovations. Diegetic props (like sound, videos, images) are sometimes used in design fiction to blur the lines between imagination and reality. These props enable the designers to be empathetic, feel present in the fiction as they investigate the complexity of technologies explored within the fiction, critique these technologies and think about their consequences.

Categories of Design Fiction

  • Props
  • Stories/Narratives/Imaginary abstracts
  • Videos/Movies
  • Audio
  • VR/AR
  • Games
  • Probes/Technology probes
  • Futuristic Autobiographies
  • Artifacts
  • Other (Please suggest)

With a higher level of immersion and sense of embodiment, Virtual Reality (VR) can be a powerful tool for mediating and creating design fiction. However, there are few examples of VR as platform for design fiction. This workshop aims to investigate new opportunities for communicating, critiquing and co-creating design fiction narratives in immersive VR environments.

Currently the information about how we can co-create narratives and speculations using design fiction is sparse. Using interactive technologies like VR to enable communication, critique and co-creation of Design Fictions requires further research to realise its full potential. In this workshop we will explore those opportunities.

You can read the published extended abstract about the workshop Here.

Important Dates




Position papers

Submission deadline (Extended)

Notification of accepted submissions


19th July 2020

11 A.M AEST/ 9 P.M EDT

3 Hours

Please submit a position paper to participate

7th July 2020*

9th July 2020

The workshop will be conducted online using a video conferencing tool, we will be using other tools like Miro.

*We may continue to consider applications after this date if there is space in the workshop.


This one-day workshop at DIS 2020 invites researchers working in the area of HCI, design fiction, future technologies, and practitioners from the industry to explore the potentials of Virtual Reality (VR) as a novel technology to co-create, communicate and critique design fiction. Immersive VR presents an immense opportunity to us to experience things with a great degree of presence, feeling as if we are already there in the virtual world. In this workshop we invite you to investigate how this platform can support an existing design method; design fiction. This is a unique area of research that is still in its infancy and we hope this workshop helps participants gain a first-hand understanding of what might be possible to achieve with design fictions in VR.

The workshop facilitates a unique combination of activities to walk you through the experience of creating and thinking through VR.  You will be then able to understand how factors such as immersion and embodiment as properties of virtual experiences can influence your thinking about future consequences of using technology in a given context.

Position paper

We accept submissions relevant to research around design fiction or speculative design, VR/AR/Mixed reality platforms to Communicate, Critique and Co-create (CCC) Future Technologies. This may include a case study, early findings, protocols, or critical literature reviews relevant to the workshop theme. Position papers are expected to be 2 to 4 pages maximum (excluding references) in the ACM SIGCHI Extended Abstracts format, which you can download from here. Alternatively you can submit a 1 page statement of interest (500 words) in ACM SIGCHI Extended Abstracts format. Submissions may include images. Submissions will be juried by the organizers based on originality and relevance. You can submit your position paper here. Please make sure that you are submitting a PDF file.

For any questions please contact Ajit Pillai at

Ajit G. Pillai is a researcher at Design Lab in The University of Sydney. His research is on the ethics of emerging technologies and Virtual Reality and its effects on industries like healthcare, marketing, transport, e- commerce, education among others.
Dr Naseem Ahmadpour is a Senior Lecturer in Interaction Design at the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning. Her research focuses on design for wellbeing, and specifically investigates new design possibilities to fulfil basic human needs and values through novel interactive narratives. She has published extensively on these topics in conferences and journals such as CoDesign and International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction.
Baki Kocaballi is a Lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney and Honorary Research Fellow at Macquarie University. He holds a PhD degree in Interaction Design from the University of Sydney and a MSc degree in Information Systems from Middle East Technical University. His research is situated within the intersection of artificial intelligence, digital health, and interaction design with a focus on multimodal and conversational systems. He is interested in generative and reflective uses of design fiction method to reimagine human-AI interactions.
Sonja Pedell is Director of Swinburne University’s Future Self and Design Living Lab with core development capabilities in the area of innovative socio-technical systems. The Lab co-creates design solutions for health and wellbeing with a focus on the ageing population and people living with dementia.
Sarah Suleri is currently working as a UX researcher at the User-Centered Ubiquitous Computing department at Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology in Germany. She also teaches courses such as User-Centered Design and Design Thinking at RWTH Aachen University students. She did her MSc. Media Informatics from RWTH Aachen University majoring in HCI with her focus on brain-computer interfaces. She is a certified professional for Usability, User Experience, and Requirement Engineering.
Vinoth Pandian Sermuga Pandian is a research associate in the User-Centered Ubiquitous Computing department at Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology in Germany. He focuses on applying research advances in computer vision and deep learning solutions to Human-Computer Interaction problems. He has a Masters in Media Informatics from RWTH Aachen University, Germany, and a Masters in Philosophy & Religion from Madurai Kamaraj University, India.
Dr Soojeong Yoo is an Associate Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Design and Health at the University of Sydney. Her research interests include using novel technologies such as virtual reality (VR) within the context of physical activity, workplace and community, novel and on-body interaction, and human adapted HCI.

Agenda (Tentative)

Introduction and welcome

10 Minutes

Who am I

15 Minutes

Position paper presentation

60 Minutes


5 Minutes

Activity one: Reflecting on position papers

40 Minutes

Activity two: Discussion

30 Minutes


15 Minutes

Design Fiction using VR

Design fiction over the years has become increasingly popular among HCI researchers and practitioners as a tool for speculating futures and examining consequences of using new technologies [4]. Design fiction has been defined as “the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change”[7].

Stories help us make sense of the world and frame our experiences in terms of narratives or contexts [8]. Situating a technology concept within a narrative forces us to grapple with questions of ethics, values, social perspectives, causality, politics, psychology and emotions [9]. This is the utility of design fiction. It can be used by researchers, practitioners and users to co-create and examine alternative futures, communicate and anticipate the effects of technology, support decision making and untangle complex concepts; it also enables them to critique the environment, technology concepts, temporal and social context those are situated in and sometimes the narratives itself [3]. Over the years, both digital and non-digital mediums have been used to immerse the audience into the fictional narrative, such as literature, video, objects or technology probes [11].

Different mediums like text, sound, film among others are used to narrow the boundary between fact and fiction. These immersive technologies are used to overcome the “experiential gulf” [6] between our ability to imagine and experience it as if you yourself are a part of that narrative.

How well design fiction suspends our disbelief in the future can determine our ability to accept the suggested narrative and speculate its consequences. The effectiveness of the fiction can, therefore, be impacted by the narrative the medium it is deployed on. The more we are immersed and feel present in a fictional world, the more we believe in the narrative [5]. To achieve high levels of immersion, virtual reality (VR) can be a powerful tool for mediating design fiction. The virtual environment alters our sense of presence in the physical environment by intercepting the data registered in our sensory system (such as vision, sound, touch) through our immediate surroundings [10]. However, despite these compelling qualities, VR has not been widely explored in design fiction research.

With advances in VR technology and the immersive nature of experiences facilitated through virtual environments, there are opportunities for design fiction narratives to be co-created in VR, communicated through VR and critiqued within VR. This workshop aims to explore those opportunities.


[1] Andy Crabtree. 2004. Design in the absence of practice: Breaching experiments. DIS2004 – Designing Interactive Systems: Across the Spectrum: 59–68.

[2] David Kirby. 2010. The future is now: Diegetic prototypes and the role of popular films in generating real-world technological development. Social Studies of Science 40, 1: 41–70.

[3] Eva Knutz, Thomas Markussen, and Poul Rind Christensen. 2014. The Role of Fiction in Experiments within Design, Art & Architecture. Artifact 3, 2: 8.

[4] Joseph Lindley and Paul Coulton. 2016. Pushing the limits of design fiction: The case for fictional research papers. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – Proceedings: 4032–4043.

[5] Joseph Lindley. 2015. A pragmatics framework for design fiction. Proceedings of 11th EAD Conference: The Value of Design Research.

[6] Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Max Kreminski, Keshav Prasad, Perry Hoberman, and Scott S. Fisher. 2018. Immersive Design Fiction: Using VR to Prototype Speculative Interfaces and Interaction Rituals within a Virtual Storyworld. Proceedings of the 2018 on Designing Interactive Systems Conference 2018 – DIS ’18, ACM Press, 817–829.

[7] Tess Tanenbaum, Marcel Pufal, and Karen Tanenbaum. 2016. The limits of our imagination: Design fiction as a strategy for engaging with dystopian futures. ACM International Conference Proceeding Series.

[8] Tess Tanenbaum. 2014. Design fictional interactions: Why HCI should care about stories. Interactions 21, 5: 22–23.

[9] Pam Briggs, Mark Blythe, John Vines, et al. 2012. Invisible design: Exploring insights and ideas through ambiguous film scenarios. Proceedings of the Designing Interactive Systems Conference, DIS ’12 1933: 534–543.

[10] P Horsfield. 2003. The ethics of virtual reality: the digital and its predecessors. Media Development 2: 48–59.

[11] Naseem Ahmadpour, Sonja Pedell, Angeline Mayasari, and Jeanie Beh. 2019. Co-creating and Assessing Future Wellbeing Technology Using Design Fiction. She Ji 5, 3: 209–230.