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So, this is a rough correlation, and I present it only as such, but this seems like it could be a possible direction (or proto-direction) for sequence analysis in Interaction Design – experience maps.

Chris Risdon's Rail Europe Customer Experience Map It’s not a perfect example, but it does help to illustrate the idea of a standard unit of analysis comparable to the scene (unit of time) in film sequence analysis as well as a means of lending relevance to those units as a whole.

An experience map is made up of “touch-points,” a term used in service design. What makes touch-points compelling as a way of analyzing an experience is that while they can be tied to chronology or hierarchy, they are not not inherently tied to either of those ideas. However, they can help to serve a similar purpose to the discrete units of time in sequence analysis – they are used to find larger patterns and places that those patterns break down.

What is also interesting about this approach is the “map” nature of the experience map. Since the interactions are dynamic and often iterative (how many clicks does it take to get the Shopping Cart of an e-commerce site) it would follow that the method of representing the analysis would take a different form. While Chris’ example is time-based (on the horizontal axis) it does have iterative elements in the initial phase. Here is another example, in the form of a mind map, that disregards chronology altogether and presents more of an ecosystem.

Now, to make this useful a more codified definition of what a “touch-point” is in terms of interaction design would be necessary as would a careful look at how this analysis of a service could transition to a more specific, single interaction or artifact.

Unfortunately applying this is a little beyond the scope of what I am capable of doing in a blog post, but the takeaway would be that “touch-points,” in an abstract sense, could be useful as a means of approaching a definition of the unit of analysis for interaction and that visualizations (ie a map) would be necessary as a means of representing findings.