“Symbol Mall” by Uttaranakorn, Hepting and Petty

  • ©Jirayu Uttaranakorn, Daryl H. Hepting, and Sheila Petty




    Symbol Mall



    Symbol Mall (http://uregina.ca/∼uttaranj/SM.html) is a multimedia application that explores new media theory, narrative, and aesthetics in digital culture from a designer’s point of view. It may be argued that human cognitive processes are prepared from birth to embrace life-long learning as a basis for conceiving new circumstances and dealing with shifts in environmental contexts [Benjamin 1968]. Symbol Mall investigates the level of cognitive grounding and metaphor use [Norman 1993] necessary to provide accessibility to interactors. It examines how designers can balance the need for accessibility against design innovations that challenge average interactors and convince them of the need for new narrative strategies.
    The application is based on a series of cognitive steps that enhance interactors’ learning of the application through exploration. The key strategies adopted in order to create the interface’s learning environment include the use of low-level or minimalistic navigation, repetition of visual elements, and concentric narrative strands used to reinforce cognitive processes. Test subjects successfully decoded the interface and enriched their level of understanding of the application, which demonstrates the possibilities of low-level navigation as a new media narrative strategy. New design approaches, it seems, can be effectively introduced when the application guides interactors with enough conventional cognitive markers.


    Benjamin, W. H. 1968. Illuminations. Brace and World, New York. Translation by H. Zohn.
    Norman, D. A. 1993. Things That Makes Us Smart. Addison-Wesley, Toronto.


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