One of the key aspects to understanding how to create transmedia narratives was developing an understanding of the many different elements that went into a transmedia narrative. Equally important was understanding the relationships between those elements. The result was an ontology.An ontology is a description of objects, entities, and concepts and the relationships that exist between them in a particular domain of knowledge. (Gruber, 1993).
A challenge for the emerging field of transmedia narrative design is that concepts and terms may not be fully defined, may conflict with each other, or may simply not exist. The ontology developed here and in subsequent posts provides a framework for looking at transmedia narrative design. To my knowledge, this is the first attempt to fully document the "objects, entities, and concepts and the relationships that exist between them" for transmedia narrative design. As such, it should be seen as a starting point for discussion.
This thesis develops an ontology for transmedia narrative design. Three key design phases (see Figure 21) have been identified as being critical to designing an effective story using a transmedia approach:
- User Engagement Design: The user engagement design phase focuses on designing aspects of the transmedia narrative that primarily involve users’ engagement with and participation in the narrative.
- Narrative Design: The narrative design phase focuses on the design of the story elements of the transmedia narrative.
- Interaction Design: The interaction design phase focuses on how users physically interact with the interface and navigate through the transmedia narrative.
While these three areas involve separate sets of skills and may involve different members of a large production team, they need to be well integrated if the overall transmedia narrative design is to work effectively.
Source: Peter von Stackelberg
Concept map of transmedia narrative design and linked user engagement, narrative, and interaction design