Flowing Technologies: The Role of Flow and Related Constructs in Human-Computer Interaction

Andrea Gaggioli, Stefano Triberti, Anna Flavia Di Natale

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A promising field of application to analyze and better comprehend the impact of the flow concept is Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), in that the analysis and the design of computer interfaces pose notable challenges to its application. For example, in which cases the experience of flow should be promoted in the users, and in which other cases it should be avoided; or, whether and how an overall user engagement can be related to challenges/skills balance or imbalance. The first section of the present contribution provides a critical overview of the integration of flow in HCI, along with its relationship with other important constructs in the field such as presence/immersion, embodiment, breakdown and readiness-to-hand. In the subsequent sections, this contribution explores the role of flow in the interaction with specific technologies, namely video games, that constitute the most interesting example of complex interactive interfaces where a certain balance (or imbalance) between challenges and skills should be explicitly designed; virtual reality (VR) as the more immersive digital technology, which recently gained renovated importance because having become a commercial product thanks to the emergence of innovative devices on the global market; and other contexts, with a specific focus on the role of flow in the use of new technologies to promote health and well-being (Positive Technology). The last section will identify important guidelines for future research on the topic of flow and HCI, introducing the more inclusive and updated concept of Human Computer Confluence (HCC) and selected new lines of research on the transformative potential of digital technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Flow Research
EditorsStefan Engeser Corinna Peifer
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • flow, human computer interaction, positive technology

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