Mode, Modes and Modality
This term refers to a set of socially and culturally shaped resources for making meaning. Mode classifies a ‘channel’ of representation or communication for which previously no overarching name had been proposed (Kress and van Leeuwen, 2001). Examples of modes include writing and image on the page, extending to moving image and sound on the screen, and speech, gesture, gaze and posture in embodied interaction.
So there you have it, all those parts of the whole that we now take as normal, are the modes of the whole. When you look at the webpage you expect words, image, sound in a way that was a fantasy twenty years ago. Even here on this blog, I write within an area that will define the mode. I can add image, links and more and the different modes will be highlighted by code and use of symbols. However once we start using more than one mode we are creating a complete world of new concepts, rules and community understandings. I write in boxes located on the left of the whole page with additions; image, tags,sharing etc located in a list on the right. It fits with my understanding of the compilation of the digital page, and is my own understanding of layout based on certain semiotic principles? What we see as natural or normal in order to develop ‘readability’, is based on a set of rules and principles that we have used since documents were created. How we ‘lay out’ the page is based on our concepts of what is most important and how this is represented by placement on a ‘page’. As the MODE blog suggests:
The positioning of entities relative to one another signifies their ‘information value’; another principle of layout is: ‘what is placed in the middle carries more weight than what is placed in the periphery’ (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006)
Therefore for my research the understanding of what, why and where I place each mode is vital. To obey the rules of layout, as in the understanding of the dominant position on the page, or to design against these rules, in order to create random choice for the participator, is what I am looking at. I have called this concept ‘composition’, the composing of the page image from all the parts of the page, or all the modes used.