Friday, 17 August 2012

The Semiotics of Embodied Interaction… Semiotically Communicated Affordances

O’Neill, S. (2008) Interactive Media: The Semiotics of Embodied Interaction. London: Springer-Verlag.

“If affordance essentially arises from the direct perception of the environment, as embodied knowledge, then mediated knowledge, which relies on indirect second-hand signification, must inherently be semiotic in character. (…) [a semiotic sign] is what is experienced when someone comes into contact with a set of stimuli that can be equated to a mental concept.” (p67)

O’Neill argues that the communication of an affordances call to action is naturally mediated, and if mediated then it is semiotically communicated. This is important as it does make a valuable contribution in how visual communication can be far more influential in the design of an interaction than it has been previously thought. Through mediation in a visual medium of an interface, visual communication has always been present but under appreciated (denigrated in importance as ‘visual design’). With O’Neill’s argument comes opportunity to not only raise the importance of visual communication of the interface, but also to use visual communication to reveal the themes of an interactive experience that can be used to help explain the interactive experience.

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