MAS 963 Designing Sociable Media
Instructor: Judith Donath

11.05 · Designs for Public Conversations



Read the papers.

Sketch a pair of designs for visualizing newsgroup discussions. These can be impressionistic - the point is to think about what these information spaces could be like if they were truly spaces. You should do two designs:

  1. An overview - this is the landsape scale - what does the space of many groups look like? You can use the treemap visualization of Netscan as a starting point if you want, but think about what would make this "legible" - what are neighborhoods? What makes one area look different than another? You may want to draw from real-world metaphors - are there arid desert spaces? towns? Are you showing accumulated information over time, or current activity or both? You can think about some of the issues we talked about in class, such as what does int men to navigate such a space.
  2. The conversation scale - what does a single group look like? THink about the information in the group accumulating over time - how does this form a space on which the current discussion is occuring? There are two main approaches to depicting a conversation. The more common one, with online conversations, is to focus on the words and threading, showing the evolution and history of the postings. If, however, we think about how we would depict a real-world conversation, then the participants are the focus. You may choose either approach for your sketch, or take a pass at both.

Please submit the URL of your critique and sketch online by Tuesday evening.