Marty cited the well-known quote from Marshall McLuhan: “The Medium is the message.” Although the expression elicited lots of debates and some scholars even raised a different idea, “the message is the medium”, his thinking still makes sense to me in some degree. I believe that the characters of different medium would influence how people perceive the content the medium communicates.
Inevitably, the annotation might lead to the discussion about how audiences receive and decode these messages. Espen J. Aarseth, a scholar from Norway devoting himself to computer game research, has explored the aesthetics and the textual dynamics of digital literature and its many diverse genres, such as computer games and collaborative Internet text. He explained that Aristotle thinks the author, the narrator, the narrate and reader have no gap among each other. That means narrate and reader get directly what author and narrator want to communicate. If the medium changes to novel, narrate and reader might have different perception to the text from the original idea the author and narrator want to communicate. That means narrate and reader make their own sense to the message.
However, in the new media, Aarseth believes that the hypertext enables and forces readers to create their own meaning. They do not receive messages passively. Rather, they can add information to the contents and explain what they perceive. Through this process, they know, construct and find themselves. The hypertext itself has no unified meaning.
I am not a good explainer. What I would like to say is the characters of the new media release more right to the readers. And the readers can also define or redefine themselves by contribute to and interpret the messages new media communicates. Last week, G. Smith thinks that the interaction designers still cannot make their design do how films and novels engage us. If the digital artifacts are counted as new media, which means users have more power over the products and are able to define themselves through using them, based on Aarseth’s theory, the author(as the designers here)do not have as much effect on user’s interpretation as they do in designing films or novels. So, how can designers engage users? The users have to engage themselves. Does it mean that every design should be able to be redesigned by the users in a certain way when they are using it? Does interaction design now serve as a medium which enables people understand themselves better?