A fundamental aspect of deep literacy is the perspective that the most fundamental thing there is, is not matter or information, but interaction. This is because the power of information comes  from interaction – interaction is not an optional extra – information which can not be interacted with is dead and useless and in a very real sense not information at all.


From an organisms point of view, non-interactivity is death.



‘Where’, ‘What’ & ‘Wonder’ - Interactivity As Human Sense


Two primary neuronal pathways are worth highlighting; the ‘where’ and ‘what’ systems (Margaret S. Livingstone, 2014).


  • The ‘where’ system concerns motion and depth perception as well as spatial organisation and figure/ground segregation. It is colourblind, fast, has low acuity and is high contrast sensitive.
  • The ‘what’ system deals with object recognition, including face recognition and colour perception. It is colour selective, slow, has high acuity and features low contrast sensitivity.


Something which has fascinated me since childhood has been what ‘better’ vision would ‘look like’. A basic answer to this can be given by looking at text on a traditional computer monitor and then on a high-resolution ‘retina’ display and it feels like your vision has improved. Digital systems have improved human vision in other ways, such as through thermal imaging and other ‘false’ colour displays.


  • I believe that I have found a way to look at improved human vision when looking at digital worlds and that is by adding to the Where and the What systems an interactive dimension and calling it the ‘Wonder’ system, since it can produce a sense of wonder if done right and it’s job is to answer the question the user has of ‘I wonder what it will look like if…’ in an effective manner.


Of course, all interactive computer systems are ‘wonder’ systems, but I introduce the term here to elevate interaction to a foundational element of how we literally and figuratively see our world, in contrast to the current paradigm which presents our computer systems as external tools. I believe that seeing interactivity as a new human sense is a crucial aspect to developing ever more deeply literate digital systems.