Making (sense of) places in virtual worlds: Collaborative design and multimodal communication in multi-user virtual environments

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    The online social platforms known as virtual worlds provide their users with affordances for avatar based co- presence, social interaction and tools for collaborative content creation, including objects, textures and animations. The users of these worlds navigate their avatars as personal mediators in 3D virtual space to collaborate and co- design the digital content. These co-designers are also the residents of these worlds, as they socialize by building inworld friendships. This article presents a social semiotic analysis of the three-dimensional virtual places and artifacts in the virtual world known as Second Life by the collaborative efforts of its so-called residents. The social semiotic perspective is used to develop a multimodal analytical framework and to analyze the co-creation of meaning potentials by various social actors who use the available semiotic resources as mediational means. The findings have shown that co- design and co-creation practices do not only depend on various actors and their mediated interactions, but also on a variety of tools, practices and resources that digital media platforms provide. Moreover, these tools and resources have transmedia characteristics; as the co-designers of virtual places traverse among media platforms the visual characteristics of their designs reflect the experiential, interpersonal and textual meaning potentials.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2013
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    Event2013 International Design Alliance Congress: Design Dialects - Istanbul Tehnical University, Istanbul, Turkey
    Duration: 15 Nov 201317 Nov 2013


    Conference2013 International Design Alliance Congress
    LocationIstanbul Tehnical University

    Bibliographical note

    Conference cancelled for reasons of Force Majeure


    • co-design
    • virtual worlds
    • multi-user virtual environments
    • digital media
    • social semiotics

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