MAS 961 week 3: Form, color and time


Tufte, E. 1990. Envisioning Information. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.
There are several copies in the Lab; it is available Rotch

Small, David. 1996. Navigating large bodies of text. IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 35, No. 3&4.

Jacobson, N and Bender, W. 1996. Color as a determined communicationIBM Systems Journal, Vol. 35, No. 3&4.

Arnheim, Rudolph. 1974. Art and Visual Perception. Berkeley: The University of California Press. chapter 2 "Shape".

Sack, Warren Conversation Map


1. Read the assigned readings.

2. Observe a real world conversation. This can be formal, e.g. a seminar discussion or informal, e.g. a party or casual gathering of people in an office, etc. Take notes - you will be using this as a starting point for the rest of the assignment. Some things you may wish to pay attention to are: arrivals and departures, greetings, changes in tone, verbal content, and the participants' location, gestures, & attention.

a. In black and white, make an abstract sketch of the conversation. Are you representing it as a narrative over time? Physical space? or a more conceptual notion of "space"? Are you depicting individual participants? Do not include any text. Think about Tufte's "Narratives in time and space" as well as Arnheim's discussion of form.

b. Take the above sketch and add color to it. Why did you choose the colors you did? What is the change in the overall effect? Pay attention to the interactions of the colors (as discussed in Jacobson & Bender). Are you using color to distinguish between things? To represent a contiuum?

c. Add words from the conversation. You may keep the same form as above or depart from it. How are you using the size and placement of the text? Would you want this text to be navigable? Are the words quotations? Names? Commentary?

3. Observe an online conversation. Go back and do steps a, b and c for this conversation.

4. Look at Warren Sack's Conversation Map. Be prepared to discuss it in class. What works about it?  What do you learn from the visualization? How would you redesign it?

This assignment is due Sunday February 23. Please submit your work online. If you have any problems with doing so, send email to Andrew Fiore