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Reflection on task 5 and 6

First I have to say that your thoughts, reflections and summaries guaranteed a nice long evening with interesting reading material :).

The way the instruction of the tasks was interpreted varied a lot, from short summaries (which was expected) to long 1500 word “summaries” (if the word summary is still the right term to use here). Writing a comprehensive summary is “an art” and a challenging task. No worries, despite of the length they were interesting pieces to read. Especially I found impressive these summaries, which took a more critical look at the ways the concept “interactivity” was analysed or your attempts to synthesize your own understanding with the authors. I recommend to have a look at the Weblogs of Kristo, Jakob, Reimo, Siiri and many others. I also found interesting and striking thoughts provided for example by Argo, Elise, Ilja and many others. Well done!

Looking at interactivity definitions and various attempts to define it, Jakob rightfully points out while referring to Jensen (1998) that different fields and disciplines have something in common while defining interactivity. Kersti adds that “as long as you clear first in what sense you use the term, it can be defined, but giving it one definition that would apply all the time, is very difficult”. Do you agree? I do. Siiri confirms Kersti’s thought “from researcher’s point of view interactivity is not an interdisciplinary concept and see it mostly in the framework of their own discipline”.

New media (for how long are we going to use the term?) is defined through interaction. As Kairi pointed out “interactivity is seen as a key association with new media as it basically sets apart the ‘old’ and new media”. From Siiri’s point of view “the concepts have developed so much further that no one really asks anymore what is interactivity – it seems like one of the core characteristic of the media and knowledge environments we are using today”. Similarly, Aali has raised the question isn’t interactivity so intuitive and obvious nowadays that we even don’t think about it anymore? Thus, do we need the concept at all?

This reminds me of an incident from our centre… a few weeks ago people were playing with Kindles in our office and many of us who just had explored iPads, tried to apply the same design logic (touching the screen), but to our surprise it didn’t work. Our initial assumptions and perceptions were wrong.

As interactivity in the field of new media starts to be self-explanatory together with the control aspect of it, for me, personally, it is more interesting to focus on the perceived potentials for interactions. The aforementioned incident is a simple, but good example of how different humans’ perceptions of affordances can be from designers’ interaction design solutions.

So, instead of trying to play with the concept and definition of interactivity Kristo proposes to focus on future. He also observes that “interactivity becomes a natural part of everything we use, without having to ‘learn’ how or adapt ourselves to study and learn how to use a specific interactive system, instead having the system interact with us based on our needs and behavior”. This is a valid point, in my opinion. Furthermore, I agree with Jakob, who claims that we are going through “significant social and economic implications, which are crying out for a conceptual overhaul in terms of our current practice in a wide variety of fields…”

Categories: musings
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  1. November 7, 2010 at 10:34

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