I’m by no means a film buff. In fact, for many years I almost never watched movies because I just didn’t enjoy the experience all that much. It’s been an interesting exercise for me trying to draw parallels between film and interaction design and trying to use some of the same vocabulary.

I’ve never really felt completely immersed in a movie-watching experience. Actually, I’ve been watching and enjoying films a lot more ever since I got Netflix and have been able to consume them at my own pace. The problem was, I used to get antsy and bored and distracted during a film, and I’d miss something important and get really annoyed when I couldn’t figure out what’s going on. Now, though, it’s easy for me to pause, rewind, fast forward, look up a plot point on Wikipedia, or whatever. Actually, I’m the kind of person who looks up the end of a movie before I watch the movie, and I enjoy it a lot more that way. (It’s driving me crazy that there aren’t any good episode guides of House of Cards up yet.)

But the thing is, even though I watch films now, I never really get “sucked into” the experience. And I wonder if interaction design is the same way. When you’re able to pause and rewind (or undo or whatever) at your leisure, are you able to become fully immersed in an experience? Is there some element of willingly giving into an experience? And when something is interactive, does that kind of imply that users still retain some level of control over the experience?

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