MAS 963 The Virtual Society
03.14 Graphical Conversation

Changing the environment of an online chat from text-only to graphics plus text has a number of socially significant consequences. Most obviously, all the participants in the discussion become visible - there are no more "lurkers" (unless specifically enabled by the software) and some basic gestures and movements are possible. This week we will first look more closely at the communicative environment provided by today's graphical chat systems and then explore some alternative approaches to designing such environments.

assignment   ·   critiques go here

some useful sites:


1. Please read all the papers.

2. Closely observe two graphical environments

3. Describe the differences between the graphical and text-based environments you have observed. What are the entrance requirements to the graphical sites? Are there specifically graphical forms of communicative competence? How are the graphics used to establish identity? to interact and communicate? What is the role of the background? How is motion used? What do you think works well in the systems you observe and what does not?

4. How would you design a better graphical environment? You can start from scratch or critique and improve upon one of the ones you have observed or read about. Would you use representational or abstract graphics? How would the space be used - would different areas serve different roles or functions? How would they be delineated?

Please submit the URL of your critique online by Sunday evening.