Narrative bridging

Narrative bridging is a thought-based method developed in 2010 to support the design process to organize, monitor, and control the generation of information (narrative) to create a meaningful interaction.

The primary purpose of the method is to support the initial design phase in which conceptual modeling takes place. This is a tiny part of the process, but perhaps the most critical as it is here that all the components are set that constrain the result. The method has its origin in a situation of being short of helpful tools for analyzing and explaining narrative processes in the creation of meaning within the interactive media that support a design process involving a narrative [1].

Over the years, the method has taken the shape of a color scheme and squares. This is only a form that has been developed through the years of teaching design and narrative. It does not depict anything else than a framework for thinking, based on the goal to allow, despite background, for all to see and learn how the cognitive vehicle of narrative works. But in reality, our thoughts are neither colored or squared. The method should be seen as an aid to keep track of elements, their functions, and motifs in the building of a narrative and cognitive core of an engaging and dynamic system.

Based on the narrative as a cognitive process the basic steps you take in the narrative construction of a meaningful and engaging experience are depicted below:


1. Take perspective
2. Set vision
2. Understand context
3. Understand people
4. Understand media
5. Understand possibilities
7. Refine/revise vision to reach the desired outcome

If the process felt familiar it is due to narration has been of concern since the Greeks, who cared for an understanding about how our thoughts “worked,” which has had a significant influence on the Western culture and where the who, what, where, when, why and how questions are used to understand causal, spatial and temporal links between elements in a context.

Throughout this site, Narrative bridging will be used to assist the overlook of the cognitive and narrative process to guide the understanding of how you can attract attention, enhance emotions, and engage receivers’ meaning making.

[1] Gyllenbäck, K, Boman, M (2010). Narrative bridging. Design Computing and Cognition ’10. Edited by John S Gero. SpringerLink. pp 525-544
Pdf: GyllenbackBoman publication 2010

Recommended readings:

Don’t show, involve (series in three parts)
Part 1 Putting into play – A model of causal cognition on game design.
Part 2, Putting into play – On narrative from a cognitive perspective I
Part 3, Putting into play – On narrative from a cognitive perspective II
Part 4, Putting into play – How to trigger the narrative vehicle
Part 5, Putting into play – On thoughts and feelings
Narrative bridging on testing an experience (series in three parts)
Narrative bridging on instructional design


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