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 10 - Thinking about traffic interactions with streaming and showering visual metaphors
We chose to use typography as the primary formal element to be used at this level of visualisation. How can we use type to represent a legible environment?

Few ideas were pursued in this iteration:

- person's representation visually moving towards the centre of the group:

If you see a crowd at a park, usually within a crowd the direction of attention flows towards the centre. Taking this idea of the natural flow we find in the physical world, we found it important to represent; this flow also shows the intuitive sense of the people around that particular discussion.

- content posted by users represented by streaming and showering effects:

The inspiration came from both the idea of cars driving on highways as well as rain pouring. Both aspects have this concept in common: streaming movement conveying that (new and old) people/ideas are continously coming through. There is some discussion and knowledge continuously being built over time.

- clustering of type:

By carefully tailoring type to be reactive and expressive, how does the clustering effect represent and form the identity of that person?

- expressive, reactive, dynamic typography:

How do we visually free the letter form? How does this help to represent the content found at all levels of the intuitive Usenet we envision?

Note: take a look at the computational sketches which take the idea of freeing letter form to the next level.

These are preliminary sketches in thinking about how the text will shower as well as where the focus of attention will be.
This is an image of the Medium View. It is showing the idea of streaming and showering text. The idea here is that the background is showering threads that are active but not significant enough to be highlighted in the foreground at the moment.

You can see the effects of streaming text in the animation.

Here, you can also see the presence of the person for example, Hyun-Yeul Lee in the different threads. At the same time, Kelly Dobson is highlighted because of the similar participation as Hyun-Yeul Lee (this concept goes back to the design concept in the Medium View in Phase 08). This idea is supported from the concept that in the physical setting, when one is walking along a street, a friend or a person of similar affinity may stop to talk to you. Then as a third person passing by, you can then compare the two individuals to understand that situation better.

The sketch on the left is starting to explore how people are clustered. The idea is that people would be streaming towards the centre of thier cluster, but one can immediately view the presence of an individual in other clusters as well.
These are observations on how random or acquainted people interact or do not interact in the physical world.
The image on the left is thinking about how type can actually cluster, both in an intuitive and compelling way.
Here, we started to visualise how threads showering in the background may be clustered in the linear form. The concept here is that, in the direction of its flow, a thread will be represented by all the posts within that thread. It will be lead by a head, foremost by the time it was posted, participant name and ID, and lastly the content of the message (separating new content and replying to message content). A post within a thread will be racing in front of other posts if it is for example a frequent participant in that thread. Therefore we can immediately tell whether the discussion is a one to one conversation or more of a group discussion.

The use of type can be taken to the next level by exploring the way type forms an image as well as how we can intuitively add colour or use different families to highlight certain aspects to understand the social pattern within a thread.