Amphibious Trilogies

Movement in the interface

In designing the website for Amphibious Trilogies we wanted to include some degree of motion and a sense of movement as a core element for users.

Part of this interest arises from the filtering of motion graphics and dynamic characteristics of games into interface and interaction design. We were interested to draw on insights such as those colleagues and former PhD students, Synne Skjulstad and Jon Olav Husabø Eikenes.

Synne has a talent for seeing interface and for reading them as cultural constructs, especially where they contain connections between the kinetic and the mediational. In his doctoral work, and subsequently commercial design and media innovation work in interaction design, Jon Olav has developed the notion of ‘navimation‘. Here’s what he says:

… navimation is the intertwining of the activity of navigation with the appearance of visual motion. The word motion seems more appropriate than the word animation, since animation often is understood as a specific genre or technique for making movies.

There are many ways to study navimation. For example, using cognitive psychology one can study how navimation is perceived by a specific user, and how navimation can help the user perform a specific task. From computer science, one can study how the underlying software technology can efficiently support navimation interfaces. From an artistic point of view, one can look at how navimation can be explored aesthetically and used for personal expression. From a marketing point of view, one can study how navimation can be used for strategic purposes, for example as part of visual identity and branding strategies.

However, my focus is somewhere else. As a design researcher, I am interested in how navimation can communicate. What can designers communicate by using navimation? How do you actually go about to create a navimational interface? What does navimation offer that visually static interfaces cannot? And – how is navimation engaging us at the affective level? 

Try out the Amphibious Trilogies website for yourself as an example of navimation. We’ve been lucky enough to involve Jon Olav in its design.

One of the things we have found in entering material is that that it’s possible to also move elements of the interface to relate to the content, as allusion, by shape, as a way of linking horizons, seascapes and motions, as is suggested above

Try it out, see if you can find correspondences or divergences between the tilting, zooming, or moving horizontally through the interface and the content windows that you select or may prompt you to look for. Take a leap ….


Click & Drag: Rotate the view.
Right Click & Drag: Pan the view.