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Information Experience Design (MA)

Shubhangini Dhall

Shubhangini is an experience designer and researcher from India.

Her work explores the concept of "play" and experiences that are playful. Through research and experimentation, she aims to understand the importance of play and how necessary it is for all living beings. She has a background in product and user-experience design, including product research, systems and service design.

She is passionate about working for children and the education sector. She believes that play is an essential element while growing up and it should continue in the later stages of life. Her experiences with working on design briefs to make products and experiences for children inspired her journey into looking more into the depths of "play" in theory and practice.

Her works involve an absurdist and hilarious lens, and the final goal of every piece of work is to make people laugh.


2023 MA Information Experience Desing, Royal College of Art, London

2022 B.Des Industrial Arts and Design Practices, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, India

A picture

I hypothesise that play is only second to breathing. Playing is a way of life - it is a way of being.

Play is often looked down upon as being unproductive - you don’t reap profits, you don’t reap results. And as we continue to live in a consumeristic world that seeks efficiency and productivity. It changes how we grow up as individuals and what is expected of us. We join the rat race. Life becomes one long routine, devoid of colour, monotonous - an ever-long stretch of waiting for change, creativity and joy.

Growing up, activities in school were fun and exciting - something new, something unexpected. As I advanced my levels, the excitement suddenly started to disappear. The time spent studying to learn, became time spent studying for exams seeking jobs, making myself career ready. Discovery, Imagination turned into readymade answers and hacks to ace the tests. The sense of wonder slowly killed. Why does play remain limited to children? As we grow up work and play become two different entities.

The board game

Bus Stopping - An improv board game about absurd experiences on a London Bus

What if the small-terrible-yet-managable situations that happen on a London bus had a communal remedy of laughter and joy?

Can we imagine an alternative world, where small issues in our lives had a cure that looked like a community singing motivational songs or a group of people suddenly changing characters? Will they manifest as absurd events or can we rethink our engagement within a community?

Bus Stopping is an improv board game about experiences on a London Bus. It is designed for participants to get creative by acting out absurd and unexpected responses to situations.

This game is about adding play to our everyday lives - thus having "play as a way of being". The idea is to respond to situations with reactions that are absurd, break the monotony of life, disruptive and creative. The goal is to create a sense of joy among people and lighten the tension in this productivity-driven and logic-driven world. The responses can hence be absurd.

By using metaphors, personas and randomly assigned actions as inspiration, participants respond to such difficult situations - For example - getting late, in a hurry to use the toilet, forgetting the Oyster card, getting injured, etc.

Board Game Visuals
Board Game Visuals
Board Game Visuals
Board Game Visuals
situation cards
action cards

What if machines were naughty?

What happens when we surround ourselves with objects that don’t do a task as we expect at once and act naughty?

Mischievous Machines project aims for machines (physical or semi-automated physical objects) to imbibe one of the most complex and most “human” instincts of being playful - being naughty. This project proposes a world that is playful and the human-object interactions are playful. What brings a disruption in a mundane world is that these particular interactions are mischievous.

Mischief is an element that is both good and bad - depending on the situation, on the context.

How can such misbehaving interactions spark joy in our lives?

Turkish Ice-Cream SellerTranslating mischievous qualities. As approached by an individual, the hand at the top starts randomly moving. Constructed and developed the physical computing object using Arduino.
Coin Non-Inserting MachineTranslating similar code and putting it in a context. The machine invites participants to insert coins. However, when approached, the insert section rotates, playfully challenging participants. Constructed and developed the physical computing object using Arduino.


Arduino, Physical Computing