Publication details

Exploring the experience with tangible interactive narrative: Authoring and evaluation of Letters to José



Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Informatics

Keywords Tangible narrative Interactive narrative Tangible interaction Letters to José Artifacts for storytelling Narrative system
Description Designing tangible narratives presents interesting challenges to authors and designers, particularly those who aspire to implement tangible and multimodal design to immerse people in the narrative experience. While several models and experimental cases have been discussed before in existing literature on interactive digital narrative, most were created for screen-based narrative systems. In this article,we present Letters to José,a tangible interactive narrative system, as a design case that illustrates some of the considerations that can be applied by other authors. We introduce the authoring process of this tangible system and describe the findings of a mixed-method study that explored the unique experiences of a group of people who engaged with Letters to José. Results from this study show that tangible artifacts played an effective role in the participants’ phenomenological experience of the narrative. Drawing on our authoring experience and the study findings, we suggest that tangible interaction positively impacts the narrative experience in different ways. It strengthens the sense of agency in the interactor, and fosters their curiosity. In the meantime, tangible interaction also adds complexity to the narrative experience and might hinder the story comprehension; therefore, a balanced design is the key to a satisfactory experience. We highlight the importance of artifacts and their materiality in Tangible Narratives as elements that support the interactor’s involvement with the narrative, and facilitate the development of mental imagery and the enjoyment of the narrative experience through the physical and ludic manipulation of these artifacts. Keywords: Tangible narrative; Interactive narrative; Tangible interaction; Letters to José; Artifacts for storytelling; Narrative system

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