The disadvantages and advantages of interactive media

Written by stuart robertson
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The disadvantages and advantages of interactive media
Tablet computers are one popular form of interactive media. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Interactive media is a broad category that encompasses everything from iPads to implants for disabled people to choosing your own adventure books. Some of these technologies do not have all that much in common, but there are some general things that can be said about them and the direction that interactive media as a field is going.

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One definite advantage of many forms of interactive media is that they make technology more intuitive to use. Many smartphones, for instance, are easy to use; users are often encouraged to experiment with their products rather than reading detailed instruction manuals for their proper use, the thinking being that users are able to sense how the product is used. Designers often create their interactive media products with intuitive use in mind.


One potential disadvantage of interactive media is that it can be intrusive. In some countries and cities, for instance, stores use computer-generated voices projected out in to the street to try to lure customers into the store, which some people classify as noise pollution and a nuisance.


Another advantage of interactive media is the possible medical uses that it has as an augmentation for handicapped people. Computer chips implanted in a quadriplegic's body, for instance, have been able to take the movement signals sent by his brain and interpret those as directions for a cursor on a computer screen. This is one area where the interactivity of media could have huge positive impacts on many lives.

Delicate Interfaces

One possible criticism of many forms of interactive media is that they are delicate and prone to breaking. For example, many touchscreen products break down or become scratched and scuffed from users constantly touching the screens. Interactivity is desirable, but the act of constantly touching and manipulating an interaction interface can quickly wear those interfaces down.

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