Tuesday, April 6, 2010

[Wednesday] Interrupting Flow

In thinking through the navigation of the Web, I wonder if the pleasure experienced in navigating from site to site is not unlike those memorable moments within video game in which "the computer seems to be totally responsive" (Jenkins). On the Web the cursor responds to our click, our need to move. In both arenas the user is in complete control of what happens next. As McPherson describes it, "Just click. Immediate gratification" (201).

However, this pleasure is posited on a perpetual state of user control, the interface must always respond to the user's desires. McPherson describes Web surfing as similar to televisual flow in which "flow unites disparate bits of information...into a seamless whole" (204).

Recently, I've been thinking about how the interface of the Web interrupts this flow. Google, for example, will warn the user if a malicious site is clicked on. Whitehouse.gov notifies its users anytime they click on a link leading away from the site. These interruptions usurp the user's control over navigation. They take the user away from the moment of complete responsiveness and serve to separate user from cursor.

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