My project presented with Cooliris

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 | General, PhD school | 1 Comment

Maziar Raein, one of the external lecturers in the PhD course, gave us the task to choose about 15 images related to our PhD project, and write something about them. As I understood the task, we were encouraged to experiment with modes of presenting text and images together.

I chose to use the Cooliris interface for giving a general presentation of my project. In my opinion, this form of presentation encourages a “non-linear exploration”. The presentation itself serves as an example of what the project is investigating: interfaces that make use of visual movement in navigation. I believe it also demonstrates how the presentation form (or the interface) can radically alter the understanding and experience of the content.

Click here to go to the presentation.

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Presentation: Bouvet

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 | Events, General | 2 Comments

Today I presented my project for the Norwegian company Bouvet, which describes itself as “a provider of consultancy and development services within information technology”. About 20 people with background from dissimilar fields such as graphic design, information architecture and anthropology attended the session.

My presentation (in Norwegian): Grensesnitt i bevegelse

The reactions to my presentation were quite diverse. Someone argued that navimation is technologically difficult, expensive and time consuming to develop, while others argued that the technological constrains are not the real problem: rather the problem may be in our heads, related to attitude.

It was interesting to hear about the relationship between the design/development consultancy and the business customers. Naturally, the customers do not want to spend money on anything that appears “useless”, and this often results in rather conventional solutions. On the other hand, companies with plenty of resources are not afraid of taking some chances, and are thereby more willing to explore new types of interfaces.

However, Navimation is not useless or superficial styling, but can be used for functional as well as communicative purposes. I was happy to get good feedback at Bouvet, and also pleased to get some interesting links and tips to follow up in my research.

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Conference: Multimodality and Learning in London

Friday, November 7th, 2008 | Events | No Comments

Andrew Morrison and myself did a presentation at the conference Multimodality and Learning: New Perspectives on Knowledge, Representation and Communication, held at the Centre for Multimodal Research (Institute for Education at the University of London) 19-20 June this year. The aim of the conference was to explore multimodal perspectives on learning.

The conference was just right for my project at that time, as we got to present some core ideas and get feedback. In addition, it was great to get introduced to a specific and relevant field of research, meet and listen to professional researchers. Keynote speakers were Charles Goodwin, Jay Lemke, Roger Saljo, and Gunther Kress.

Our presentation: The times are a-changing in the interface

There were unfortunately no written papers for the conference, but here is the abstract:

The times are a-changing in the interface

Digital media and technologies play a major role in formal and informal learning contexts. They have been widely studied in socio-cultural approaches to mediated meaning making. Little attention has been given to the interface as part of social semiotic production, mediation, analysis and communication. Interface design has tended to be framed within approaches Human Computer Interaction that have typically addressed structural and functional issues. Digital interfaces have seldom been cast as textual and mediational components in a wider social semiotics even in studies in multimodal discourse (spanning areas such as video concordancing, museum design and dynamic typography).

First, we situate research on interface design in relation to a wider notion of communication design informed by social semiotic approaches to mediated communication (Kress & van Leeuwen 2001, Jewitt 2005). We further connect these works to ones in ‘new media studies’ where interface design has been cast as part of changing narrative, rhetorical, expressive and expository discourses. We relate such approaches to the notion of ‘movement in the interface’ (Skjulstad & Morrison 2005). This notion was developed on the basis of practice-based design and educational inquiry into dance and technology. It was applied in the design of an interface to mediate multilevel perspectives with a focus on video. Core components of dynamic interfaces were identified. We relate these components to recent developments in spatio-temporal innovations in interfaces (Lemke 2005, Skjulstad 2007) on the Web and on mobile phones.

Second, we introduce the concept navimation to characterise developments in the interface that blend navigation with animation. We apply this to a selection of websites from a body of almost 100 examples. Using methods from social semiotic multimodal textual analysis, we examine these examples with reference to features incorporated from film, animation and hypertext studies. Screengrabs are included in this analysis.

Third, we argue that approaches to multimodal multiliteracies need to anticipate developments in interface design that include spatio-temporal elements.

The times are a-changing in the interface.


Kress, G. & van Leeuwen, T. (2001). Multimodal Discourse: the Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication.
Jewitt, C. (2005). Technology, Literacy, Learning: A Multimodal Approach.
Skjulstad, S & Morrison, A. (2005). ‘Movement in the interface’. Computers & Composition. Vol. 22, No. 4. 413-433.
Lemke, J. (2005). ‘Place, pace, and meaning: multimedia chronotopes’. In Norris, S. & Jones, R.. (Eds). Discourse in Action: Introducing Mediated Discourse Analysis.
Skjulstad, S. (2007). ‘Motion graphics and communication design on the web’. Journal of Media Practice.

Websites we looked at in the presentation, all employing navimation:

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