Interaction: Traverse

How can your story employ cross-media for rewarding user interactions?

Consider what Christy Dena (2007) calls "cross-media interaction design," or interaction design concerned with "designing for movement across modes," when crafting a transmedia experience (p. 4). Namely, we must take into account how to prompt someone from one medium to the next when designing across media.

Dena defines a successful movement between media platforms as one that both happens and "contributes positively to the experience of the work" through a holistic "three phase process of 'Call to Action' (CTA)" (p. 4-5). One must prime, refer, and reward an audience, "or prepare and motivate the audience to act," "provide the means and instructions and when to act," and "acknowledge and reward action" (p.5).

Dena’s framework can be thought of in terms of a simple tweet on Twitter. 1) A question or interesting statement prior to a hyperlink primes a reader to act— to navigate the link to a new platform or web page. 2) The hyperlink, a visual cue, provides a means to act and explore. 3) The linked website, blog post, article, photograph, etc. rewards the audience with content for traversing the hyperlink.

The 2012 transmedia campaign for Total Recall integrated transmedia tactics, including the use of billboards. The first billboard, placed on a street corner in Manhattan's Upper West Side read: “Tell us your fantasy. We’ll make it real.”

West Side Billboard. Photograph by Aimée Knight.

A second billboard situated in Greenwich Village read: “Beware of Rekall: Don’t Let Them Blow Your Mind.” Each billboard directed audiences to a different website.

East Village Billboard. Photograph by Aimée Knight.

The second billboard is reminiscent of the Internet Blacklisting Bill campaigns – featuring a dot org url and a censorship theme. Here, audiences were targeted in a smart way with regard to the billboard placement – certain neighborhoods in New York definitely evoke a certain ethos. This is about knowing the audience and creating multiple rabbit holes – or entry points for them to follow. Transmedia campaigns employ multiple media platforms to deliver a message – each adding a unique contribution to the development of the story. It's about engaging the audience, drawing them in, and rewarding the curious and loyal.