Friday, February 10, 2012

Ontology: User Engagement (Part 2)

User engagement with a transmedia narrative emerges from or is affected by a) level of user engagement, b) user agency, c) human-centered design factors, and d) user participation on multiple levels. This post is the second of two parts that look at the elements that influence user engagement and the interrelationships between these elements.

  • User Participation: A number of factors affect user participation in a transmedia narrative:
    • Cognitive Participation: The degree of cognitive participation (mental processing) falls on a spectrum from passive participation on the low end to active participation on the high end (Screven, 2000, pp. 166-167). This spectrum of participation is closely related to user attention, which can range from “mindless” (casual and unsystematic) to “mindful” (focused and active) (Screven, 2000, pp. 166-167).
    • Affective Participation: The emotional impact (affective participation) is one of the most important qualities of narratives. Transmedia narratives with high affective participation will have a high level of user engagement.
    • Social Participation: The level of social participation can range from individual to shared activities.
    • Temporal Participation: A narrative’s temporal participation can range from time-agnostic (the user can participate at any time) to time-dependent (the user must participate at a specific time).
    • Spatial Participation: A narrative’s spatial participation can range from location-agnostic (it doesn’t matter where the user is while participating) to location-dependent (a specific location is important to understanding the meaning of the narrative).
    • Sensory Participation: A narrative’s use of the five senses – sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell – is the basis of sensory participation.
  • Information Field: The information field consists of all of the information within the user’s immediate environment, not just the information the transmedia narrative itself presents. The information field can contain three types of messages:
    • Intended Messages: The intended messages are the knowledge, concepts, and feelings that the transmedia narrative designer intends to communicate to the user.
    • Unintended Messages: The unintended messages are caused by either irrelevant information (e.g. people, ambient sounds, visual distractions, etc.) or messages that come from the juxtaposition of pieces of information that create new and unintended messages.
    • Perceived Messages: The perceived messages are those that the user extracts from the transmedia narrative. Perceived messages may or may not be the same messages the designer of the transmedia narrative intended to communicate. The perceived messages could be the result of unintended messages overwhelming the intended messages or intended messages that are interpreted in a way the designer did not intend.
  • Human Centered Design: Transmedia narrative systems created using a human centered design approach are characterized by (Cooley, 2000):
    • Coherence: A transmedia narrative that exhibits coherence ensures that the meaning of information embedded in it, even if it is not immediately evident, is not cloaked or obscured. Coherence includes the concept of transparency.
    • Inclusiveness: An inclusive system welcomes users in and makes them feel like they are a part of a community of familiar and friendly activities.
    • Malleability: A system with a high level of malleability can mold itself to suit the users, allowing them to modify the environment to suit their individual aesthetics, skills, and needs.
    • Engagement: A system creates a sense of engagement by inviting users to participate in the process and creating a feeling of empathy.
    • Ownership: A system can encourage the user’s sense of ownership by creating in the users a sense of belonging and enabling users to create something themselves with the storyworld of the narrative.
    • Responsiveness: The responsiveness of a system – how it responds to the user’s individual needs, wants, and ways of doing things – can be enhanced by making the system’s own rules visible and then encouraging users to learn and change them.
    • Purpose: The system should be able to respond to the purpose users have in mind and encourage them to go beyond it.
    • Panoramic: A panoramic system provides “windows” or “apertures” through which a user can take a wider or more panoramic view of what is happening both inside and outside of the narrative. This panoramic perspective encourages the acquisition of “boundary knowledge” and allows users to act more effectively and competently by providing them with an understanding of the wider context of the narrative.
    • Transcendent: A system that is transcendent encourages, entices, or provokes users to transcend the immediate requirements of the narrative and gain a broader understanding of the narrative’s meaning.

No comments:

Post a Comment