Week 3: Difference of Digitization

When thinking of  a digitized object that impacted my experience of with am object the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Audiobook read by Stephen Fry comes to mind. I have read the original books awhile ago but while listening to the audiobooks my experience with the story was impacted in several different ways. Firstly the reader made choices as to which words to emphasis and how to pronounce them. At times the vocal choices the reader made were different from my original interpretation, changing my perception of the meaning of the words. Secondly, Stephen Fry read the book at a faster rate then I read. Generally, I read slowly as I imagine the scenes as I go and may pause to consider something I have read. When listening to the story I was not able to imagine or pause as I normally would. Lastly the audiobook version I was listening to did not save the place where one was listening to and thus every time I returned to I had to find my place. It felt very similar to loosing your bookmark when reading a book. While frustrating it made me wonder why this was not considered in the design and interrupted the flow of the story.

Though little dressed in scholarly research, several debates exist surrounding the benefits of reading versus listening to an audiobook. While some argue that the experiences to be cognitively similar, this is dependent on the type of story and lacks the emotional connection prevalent in holding a physical artifact (Khazan, 2011). Often these formats are experienced  differently, as audiobooks are associated with multitasking and books remaining stationary and focused. User interaction with audiobooks may be reflected in the choices the creator/ reader makes. Stories can move quicker as a listener driving to work may not need to reflect on the story as those sitting on their couch. Therefore users may come to expect differences their experience with a story whether a book or and audiobook.



Khazan, Olga. (2011). Is Listening to Audio Books Really the Same as Reading? Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/olgakhazan/2011/09/12/is-listening-to-audio-books-really-the-same-as-reading/#2a22090576df

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