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We are all quite familiar with interactive writing. Business writing is a nearly constant stream of emails and memos that reply to and reference other texts.
Despite the relative ease of interactive communication, however, writing for interaction is much more difficult.
By writing for interaction, I mean writing that is meant to be interactive for a reader, not simply in the sense that reading is an experience created by both writer and reader, but rather that the decisions made by the reader change what is read. That is, reading practices that enable responses from the text. It is one thing to write an email expecting a response and react to that response. It is another to write a book or other text for a broad audience that is designed to react to the reading choices made by individual members of that audience.
Part of the reason this writing is difficult is technological. We do not yet have robust tools for creating interactive reading experiences. Apple's iBooks platform advertises its "widgets" as "interactive magic," but few of these widgets do more than reproduce print features in the form of an electronic book. Embedded slideshows, galleries, callouts, and multimedia are only interactive in the same way that turning pages or pushing play on a VCR are interactive: the user controls when they stop and start. The ability to rotate 3D models is great, but, again, is essentially dynamic, like pausing and rewinding a video, rather than interactive. Quizzes, with different questions and real-time reaction to answers are interactive, but few would argue that this behavior represents the true promise of interactive communication. The promise of location-aware books suggests one way in which books can provide more interaction, but they have yet to become widespread.