Using structuralism to inform interactive design. Your opinion needed!

For my capstone I am working on a frog sound website (strange, I know).  Part of the project involves me creating some simple interactive learning content for the site.  This design will be informed by user research and a thorough literature review on related topics.  Along with these, and other interaction design methods, I am thinking about using structuralism to analyze other well-liked interactive learning applications, hoping this will ultimately lead to a better design.

Why & How I think structuralism can help:
In interaction design we have many methods that help us create compelling, usable designs, but the best designs often seem to involve a bit of luck.  Or sometimes it may not be luck, but some tacit knowledge the designer has.  Neither literature, nor user research can immediately give us this luck or tacit knowledge.  This is where structuralism comes in.  By analyzing the multimedia itself, I can find the oppositions common in well-liked interactive learning applications.  I can then thuoghtfully use these oppositions, in conjunction with other methods, to inform my own design.

Problems with This Approach:
1 – Change In Content = Change in Opposition: I realize that the lovability of many interactive learning applications is linked to the content itself.  I hope that if I analyze a wide variety of well-liked interactive learning applications I will be able to find oppositions that are common in many of them and does not seem directly tied to specific content.
2 – Finding the well-liked applications:  There seems to be no clear answer, but I debated looking at award winning interactive learning sites or interactive learning sites that had the most hits.  The problem is that these things are all mixed in with web politics, marketing, ect.  Uh oh, now I am heading towards phenomenology.  Any ideas on how do to do this?
3. – You tell me!

So everyone, what do you think?   Would this be a useful endeavor?  What are some problems?  Is it worth my time?  Do you think this will lead to a better design?  Any other thoughts?

1 Comment

  1. thismarty

    “I am working on a frog sound website … [involving] creating some simple interactive learning content for the site … “

    Sounds interesting, David. Your approach does sound well thought-out, albeit in abstract. It would help if you could provide some specifics regarding the content, audience and learning objectives of your piece.


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