In Execute Program, you can’t read a whole lesson at once: you read a paragraph or two, then you press a Continue button, then another paragraph or two appears, and then you’re presented with a prompt. Once you answer the prompt, the next section of prose is presented. It’s a tight input/output cycle with a consistent cadence.
This fine-grained cycle is totally unlike reading a book, in which the reader controls the pacing and depth. In a traditional online book, all the text is present all the time; the only interaction is scrolling. Scrolling is continuous, while Execute Program’s steps are discrete, scrolling for you along the way. The former does seem noticeably more comfortable. In this sense, Execute Program is closer to mimicking a conversation, but one in which you nod and do as you’re told. See Interaction is a cost center in interface design.
But this design does create a highly consistent reading experience. In the Mnemonic medium, you can scroll and read freely through the whole text. Switching between “reading mode” and “interacting mode” requires you to stop scrolling and point-and-click on the review boxes. In this sense, the interactive prompts feel somewhat more “at home” in Execute Program than in the mnemonic medium: each “bit” of an Execute Program lesson, whether it’s reading or answering a prompt, requires interaction, so it feels like there’s less “switching” than in a mnemonic essay.
Likewise, in the mnemonic medium, it’s possible to “skip” review areas, either accidentally or intentionally; this creates extra state for the reader to keep track of. Execute Program’s lessons are linear; the reader can go along for the ride.
Q. How is the experience of reading a lesson’s prose in Execute Program different from reading a book’s prose?
A. It unfurls its paragraphs one-by-one, in response to user interaction. You can’t read the whole thing at once.
Q. Why do the prompt interactions feel somewhat more “at home” in Execute Program than in Quantum Country?
A. Reading requires interaction in Execute Program, so the prompts don’t require you to switch to an interactive stance.