Featuring methods of navigation and interaction of an interactive documentary. I-Docs Modalities (III)


In order to finish this series, the following text describes and specifies the different navigation and interaction modes and their sub-modalities. This is an extension and justification of a previous post.




Split Navigation mode

Submodes: Themes, chapters, scripts, stories, topics

Graphical metaphor of the ordered sequence of main themes (thematic units or partitions for sequences of audiovisual documentary)

The sequences of the film are broken and divided into thematic parts (such as a partition of the chapters of a book)

The user can browse online content and jump from one topic to another whenever they decide it (by clicking on buttons or on a timeline)


Temporal navigation mode

Submodes: centuries, decades, years, months, days, specific dates, events, periods / stages

Graphical metaphor based on chronological axis

Years or periods covering the subject in the documentary.

Timeline over the years in ascending order from left to right (ie.).

There may be two or more timelines simultaneously (a navigation through the years and through different eras, decades, etc.).


Spatial navigation mode

Submodes: geographical map, graphic map, visual map, statistical map, photos

Graphical metaphor based on a digital recreation of a scene described or to keep physical relation to the context and subject of the documentary.

Panoramic photography navigation right by left-mouse movement. About the design of the physical setting an overlapping set of elements (objects, characters, sounds, videos, etc.) and clicking on them to turn and sail. Access to new layers of information and its contents from different depths.


Testimonial Navigation mode

Submodes: video/audio of the characters, video/audio interviewed participants

Graphical metaphor based on the graphic design of the historical figures referred to the documentary (characters).

The characters are interactive and clicking on them the user accesses different types of related content (biography, works, related to the topic, text or videos on the character, other hypertext links, etc.).

Metaphor format group of interviewees. Grouped in a format where each respondent is graphically represented by a thumbnail image of the face, ie (Participants)
Each specializes in a time or interviewee refers to a specific subject, but also everyone can answer the same questions and give their views. First click on the image of the interviewees to realize the first choice.


Branching Navigation mode

Submodes: choose option

Graphical metaphor of the multimodal scheme that automatically starts the story and at one point stops and the user has to choose a branch of the story.

This method can be complemented with a hypertext navigation map or interactive menu for the user to see more or less orderly development of content designed by the author


Hypertext navigation mode

Submodes: Diagram based on hypertextual nodes and links

Graphical metaphor that follows the template of classic hypertext: an articulated set of content from nodes, links and anchors

Very basically used for sections of text or where this predominates, although you can also find other items


Preferred navigation mode

Submodes: Drag media in specific areas, adding and deleting buttons

Graphical metaphor set of empty boxes that are filled with information chosen by the user (for instance).

The user chooses the materials that they like and make up their ordered list.

Articulates a set of varied media (images, photos, video, music, reviews, documents etc.) and then consume in the order they were chosen, not what the audiovisual and assembly proposed.


Audiovisual navigation mode

Submodes: video and audio, audio and animation, animation + audio and video, photography and audio.

Graphical metaphor as a navigation bar at the bottom of the video or separate buttons somewhere on the screen (from which activate different partitions).

Audiovisual Documentary

Sequential and linear audiovisual exhibition of the speech

The entire documentary can be both partly in thematic units, chapters, scripts, stories, topics, etc.


Sound Navigation mode

Submodes: audio, music

Graphical metaphor as a music player or audio webcast

Interviews sound: they can be accompanied with the audio transcript of these, questions and other elements (images, files, etc.).

Fragments of music can be ordered in a player or manager with a link to online music


Simulated and immersive navigation mode

Submodes: simulation, interactive game

Metaphor-based simulation and the parameters proposed by immersion video games
If the simulation is to recreate the real world, try to do with the maximum realism possible to achieve almost total immersion.

In the case of an interactive game: that is actively involved in the interactor to be proposed.




Applications 2.0 Interaction

Submodes: Connection / embedding tools 2.0

Graphical metaphor of the participation of the interactors in the system to provide his point of view or use other platforms to communicate with the interactive tools.

Some tools can be found embedded within the same document, such as blogs or discussion forums.

If external, from the icons of the applications with which allow basic interaction can communicate with the application and make contributions that enable


Generative Interaction

Submodes: add or contribute content to the system, search on computer media

The user-interactor acts as a transmitter of content and the director of the piece as a quality filter

It sustained through connection to database (PHP, SQL), dynamic information and remote server (MySQL)

As a book (posts on a blog) or many collaborative applications but with the function of storage and presentation of the material accepted

Pages that includes an application itself – software – media to select the user’s computer and send it to a database which will be validated by the administrator of the work or of interactive documentary director. The director of the work or a deputy director / head of content filtering material and the places where it believes it can acquire more significance.


Experienced interaction

Physical movement (real) due to a generative device combined with real-time technologies, augmented reality, etc. (mode still little exploited).


It should be noted that this proposal is being reviewed in order to be presented as part of the theoretical framework on interactive documentary study, which may be subject to changes in the future (PhD defense:“The interactive documentary as a new audiovisual genre. Approach to proposed definition, taxonomy and analysis model for the evaluation, design and production”, UPF 2007-2012).


Recommended citation:

Gifreu, Arnau (2010), El documental multimèdia interactiu. Per un proposta de model d’anàlisi. [Treball de recerca]. Departament de Comunicació. Universitat Pompeu Fabra, pp 123-137.

Gifreu, Arnau (2010). The interactive multimedia documentary. A proposed model of analysis. [Research Pre PhD]. Department of Communication. Universitat Pompeu Fabra, pp 122-136.


Arnau Gifreu Castells

Researcher, Professor and Producer

Universitat Ramón Llull / Universitat de Vic


Other posts related:

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2. The docu-game. Towards the immersive mode

3. Interactivity technologies, key factor for the interactive documentary

4. The evolution of the Internet, key factor for the interactive documentary

5. The evolution of the Internet, key factor for the interactive documentary (II)

6. The interactive documentary during the evolution of the Internet: giving examples of the different phases. Assumptions about the technological future.

7. Where we come from. Introduction and initial ingredients to build a correct taxonomic proposal

8. Research questions and compared methodology to establish a taxonomic study of the interactive documentary

9. Compared methodology to establish a taxonomic study of the interactive documentary (II)

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11. Taxonomic discussions in the educational context: key issues in relation to interactive documentary (II)

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21. Basic distinction between representation, navigation and interaction modes. Interactive documentary modalities (I)