l o o m 2
w  o  r  k   i  n   p  r  o  g  r  e  s  s
professor judith donath . danah boyd . hyun-yeul lee . dan ramage
w/ support from scott golder . ming-en cho . jonathan goler

Phase 06 - Macro view of the landscape of newsgroups
The goal of this exercise was to continue to think about the macro level. Learning from the previous phase, visually a feeling of looseness to the overall structure was needed.

The idea was inspired by soap bubbles that have the ability to float around freely. A visualisation becomes interesting when happy accidents occur, such as groups of bubbles overlapping or pushing them into directions.

When sketching out this idea, we imagined that there would be various size of newgroups (by the total number of posts). The challenge was: should a circle consist of the same size shapes that form the circle, thus one can tell by the size of circles that it is a huge/small newsgroup or should all circles be of similar size, having a relative representation by the density of posts in that circle? The first idea was not efficient considering the practicality for user interaction: a newsgroup circle might be so big that the user might not get the overall sense of the group and that it may not even fit on the screen at some point.

Also, this visualisation was an attempt to merge the macro and micro level, showing all the threads in a group as well as representing the newsgroup at the same time. It became apparent that this was not that useful in visualising an intuitive landscape. The constant challenge is what information do we want to hide or show and in what combination?

The image on the left follows the similar idea of showing all the threads in a newsgroup but at the same time abstractly shows the total number of posts in each thread.