This is an overview of the visualization and interaction experiments I produced for my Masters Thesis “Visual tools for the socio–semantic web” (.pdf, 12MB).
Elastic tag maps
Elastic tag maps visualize the complex relationships emerging between tags (free-form keywords used to describe digital resources). The layout algorithm puts tags that are frequently used together closer together on a 2D plane. Technically, this is accomplished by a combination of principle components analysis (PCA) and curvilinear component analysis (CCA). On rollover, tags that tend to co–occur with the selected tag are brought to the front. Clicking allows to lock tags and explore their semantic context further, without losing focus.
Elastic tag lists
Elastic tag lists apply the same principle as the elastic tag maps, but only in one dimension. (Click the list tab in the demo)
Classical tag clouds fail to show how topics appear and disappear over time. Based on a memory model, where tags “age” over time and are finally “forgotten”, if not used anymore, this visualization shows the evolution of users’ tagging vocabularies.
Emerging topics (animation)
The temporal dynamics of tagging shown in an animated tag cloud.
What is in between a list and a linear time plot? A comparison of approaches to visualizing temporal rhythms in web feeds.
Grounding time visualization in personal experience, and picking up the mash–up idea, a visualization of hourly webcam shots, along with his del.icio.us bookmarks and short twitter comments is combined in a unified documentation of digital activity.
You say… we say…
(not web version (yet?), explanation here)
How do individuals use tags — compared to the community? Do you use private language or are you a mainstream tagger? When you tag with “design” — do the others think it is “art”?
Elastic lists for facet browsers
A demonstration of the “elastic list” principle for browsing multi-facetted data structures. Click any number of list entries to query the database for a combination of the selected attributes. If you create an “impossible” configuration, your selection will be reduced until a match is possible.
Elastic lists enhance traditional facet browsing approaches by • visualizing relative proportions (weights) of metadata values by size • visualizing unusualness of a metadata weight by brightness • and animated filtering transitions.
Elastic lists and faceted browsing for tags
A tool for browsing tag structures based on facets is currently developed. At the moment, it is a semi–functional prototype. It is based on the observation, that some users create typed tags already, by using syntactic delimiters, such as colons or slashes (e.g. “for:tinax” or “by:Weinberger”). Accordingly, the application imports existing tag collections (in the given example, del.icio.us bookmarks) and groups the tags according to these delimiters. Default facets are “all tags” and “top tags”, which selects the top used tags, since they represent important entry points to the sub–collections. The navigation principle follows the elastic list principle as introduced above.
A novel feed reader combining the presented principles in a desktop application. Every metadata value (such as author, date, feed, tag) has an intrinsic temporal dimension and is activated or collapsed according to the current selection context. Conceptually, every metadata value or action in the application is treated as a feed (or tag, respectively), which are in turn grouped in facets.
Further aspects of the conceptual model, visualization and interaction principles are described in my thesis. (.pdf, 12MB).