Elena Petrovskaya

Elena Petrovskaya

Investigating user interaction with casual creators

Casual creators are a unique genre of software for facilitation of creativity for the intrinsic fun and enjoyment of the creative process rather than the quality of the end product. They can be used by people of any level of creative background; no baseline of creative skill is needed to enjoy being creative. The focus of casual creator design is primarily on the user experience: how can we design a system which supports and encourages creativity and helps users of lower creative skill levels make artifacts they can be proud of? 


The nature of casual creators means understanding the user’s needs and interaction is crucial for successful design. Furthermore, casual creators provide a unique opportunity to study the implications of certain design patterns not found in many other systems. These include the power-control tradeoff - sacrificing autonomy to reduce error, a possibility space of creation which the user can move through, and incredibly fast and entertaining feedback on creations. I will develop understanding of the implications of these patterns using a variety of user studies and analytical techniques. This will hopefully lead to insight on how casual creators influence user interaction, and what the benefits and ramifications of this might be. 




Colton, S., Nelson, M., Powley, E., Gaudl, S., Saunders, R., Perez Ferrer, B., ... & Cook, M. (2018). A Parameter-Space Design Methodology for Casual Creators. 


Compton, K., & Mateas, M. (2015, June). Casual Creators. In ICCC (pp. 228-235). 

Elena graduated from UCL with a first-class BSc in Psychology and a distinction in an MSc Human-Computer Interaction. She has completed a research assistant internship at the UCL Interaction Centre and has held industry roles in data analysis and UX design. In her spare time, Elena enjoys fitness, electronic music events, and playing chess. 


Home institution: Queen Mary

Supervisors: Professor Simon Colton, Prof Paul Cairns

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