This article explores the role of interactivity in a “natively” digital life story. The human-computer interaction is an essential component in these life stories. Phenomenologically, interactivity permeates the user’s experience of the life story, potentially integrating the semiotic modes, such as color, text, and sound, into a coherent, unified whole. Whether this unity of experience is achieved so that the life experience is effectively conveyed depends on how interactivity is employed and to what extent it works with other semiotic modes. The article posits that interactivity does not affect all works the same way, but manifests characteristics according to authorial design and the content and form of each work. Through a close reading of three digital life stories which employ interactivity differently—a web comic, a clickable scrapbook, and a narrative video game—this article explores ways interactivity facilitates meaning making. In particular it explores the contribution of interactivity and its relationship with visual and/or auditory elements to convey a lived experience. This article presents an initial enquiry into the role of the interactive feedback loop in digital life stories and suggests further research into multimodality’s and interactivity’s possibilities in creating compelling life story experiences.

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