Nonlinear Narratives

      Recently, I read an article and the following post contains my thoughts and opinions on the following article:  https://alistapart.com/article/building-nonlinear-narratives-for-the-web

     My initial reaction to this article was questioning why this article was relevant to a web design class. I would not consider my website to be a story in any form if I had not been forced to read this article. I may not be writing a full-length story or playwright, but I can use aspects of story telling in my website. In some regards, each portfolio piece has its own process and its own story of existence. Our about me pages will also be more interesting to our audiences if we are able to communicate our individual stories in a way that will convince users that we are trustworthy, talented, and overall decent human beings.

     There are some aspects of nonlinear storytelling that I do admire. Because nonlinear storytelling weaves different story-lines together and are so fragmented, they are often a more realistic portrayal of reality. Nonlinear storytelling offers counter perspectives which adds diversity in the information that is passed onto its users. In life itself, there are few simple realities. Decisions are not always black or white; right or wrong. People have a hard time adjusting to change and are constantly experiencing different sensations and undergoing different experiences despite sharing the same time frames or locations. Even if people are experiencing the same sensations at the same time, their preexisting experiences and perspectives will alter their realities. Therefore, the largest advantage to nonlinear story telling is that there is no absolute which will increase audience participation and lends itself to additional discovery and invention.

     When reading Fahrenheit 451 about ten years ago, I was surprised by the portrayal of wall sized interactive television sets that left people trapped within the walls of their own homes. 65 years after the books initial release, society has Ai and other realities that increase the distinctiveness and portrayal of such technologies. With these advancements in technology, audience participation is at record highs. A while ago, I downloaded a similar app called Choices. Choices allows its users to build their own characters comparable to Wii characters. Then, characters are placed into the story where the users get to make their characters decisions. I found this app to be insanely addicting, so I deleted it a few weeks later. However, through the books I have read and my own experiences, I can assure nonlinear storytelling increases user participation. This story telling strategy increases user addictiveness and adds entertainment value to any activity.

     In design, there are few absolutes. Designers combine inspiration and information from varied sources to create the best possible solutions to solve problems. Therefore, there are many different types of design and creation with massive overlaps. This article talks about storytelling without mentioning illustration, interaction design, animation, UI, UX, or entertainment design. However, this article is not really about storytelling but instead user experience and interaction design. This is true because the article does not focus on what types of plots or character designs make interesting stories. Instead, this article focuses on the user experiences when designs are increasingly interactive. I wish the article would have tied all these sub-components together to get a better sense of each one individually.

 

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