Visualizing Online Discussions Using Timeless Motion


Motion is the strongest visual appeal to attention, yet it is rarely used in the visualization of large-scale quantitative information. Motion is complex; it can vary across numerous dimensions, each of which is potentially an information-bearing element in the visualization. Which dimensions are used and how the data is mapped onto them are the key questions in using motion effectively. In this paper we present two interfaces that use motion as the primary visual element for representing data. These interfaces, Seascape and Volcano, use periodic animation loops to represent key social interaction features in online discussions. We propose that motion may be particularly well suited for representing data about behavior and actions, creating visualizations that intuitively depict different levels and types of activity. In this paper we describe the interfaces we have built and present the results of preliminary user studies.

Short demo video

The demo shows how to use the seascape and volcano interface to visualize and navigate through two newsgroups.