Interactivity 1: Hyper-Sensitive
Fast City features an interface essentially designed around a vertical axis; the PDA screen on the left blinks and changes to display new text, while the grid of interactive triggers (X's) are clustered on the right side of the interface. This provides a sense of spatial logic internal to the software that also arises from considering the physiology of interaction; in that the process of reading should not call for the cursor/pointer to cross/violate the user's own bodily axis into the screen-left area. (This somewhat references the practical design of some ATM console panels.)
Many existing hypertext narratives are largely configured for interactivity by embedding linked words, phrases or images within a lexia, and presenting the reader with reading options: essentially, a choice of links to proceed or return back on the reading trail. While this allows the reader some "breathing space" for critical contemplation between lexias, it also leaves the reader indefinitely to his or her own devices until a commitment is made to follow a link.
Fast City instead highlights a physiological dimension of navigating the narrative, in that lexias are triggered (along with sound effects to reinforce the action) within a field of sensitive buttons in response to both mouse-overs and clicks. These triggers more often than not will be activated through accidental "brushing past", and particularly encourage the user to explore the possibility of calling up "random links". In this sense, it is hyper-sensitive: a hypermedia narrative highly reactive to the real-time behaviour of the pointing device.
This hyper-sensitive lexia-map reconfigures the reading experience not so much as one of making choices, but rather one of movement and touch. The tactile aspect is established via strong visual metaphors of "reading as doing" -- eg, triggering buttons and pads, spinning an icon (the "?" button) -- reminiscent of using a video game console system. It also forcibly disciplines the user against indiscriminate mouse movements and clicking around gratuitously, in that an entire barrage of texts and sounds will inevitably result. [>]