Filed under: Interface Fall 07
Search engine sites can be thought as Internet’s Yellow Pages. It is the number one way users find new sites and information. According to survey results, over 85% of users rely on search engines to navigate and filter through the amount of data on the web. However, a lot of users only use and are aware of the services of major sites like Yahoo and Google, which are both very efficient and effective, but other search engine services provide different functions and approaches that can be extremely beneficial to users. In addition to its ability to sort and filter data to users, technology has also enabled us to observe and analyze the things an individual searches to a grand scope of what social and cultural information is being passed on and highlighted. In my project I aim to educate users who experience brand loyalty to one search engine or who might be unaware of the range of search tools available to them on popular search sites that are used today. Additionally, I want to begin to explore the concept of how users can visualize themselves through what the search with what the rest of the world is searching.
The amount of information on the web is growing rapidly. These information and resources are valuable only if they can be accessed and used by people efficiently and effectively. However, as information become more readily accessible, search engines are advancing in their ability to collect and organize these data. For example, survey indicates that 85% of users use search engines to locate information on the web. However, there still exist a number of new users inexperienced in the art of web research and users who simply stick to one search engine regardless of the type of content they are seeking.
I. BACKGROUND (artist statement)
My motivation came from wanting to find my own footing in the web world. I discovered that though I have been a frequent user of the Internet for several years now I am still not close to comprehending the type, quality, and range of information online. Additionally around the same time, I had been infected by viruses through msn messenger and was curious as to where this information was coming from on the web, who was sending it, and the motivation behind it.
II. CONCEPTS (impetus/motivation/ /design/technology goal or socially-oriented goal)
My initial prototype concepts revolved around data transmission. While taking an intro to computer application class, the assumption I had of how information is transferred on the web had been broken and left a strong impression in my mind. I had set out to visualize what the breakdown of information into little packets online would look like while it travels from one place to another. However, thought it would serve the purpose of demystifying data transfer on the internet, it would not be something of significant purpose or use. However, after analyzing why I had been persistent in pursing these data transfer prototypes, I realized that it was the first mistake and assumption that I had made while first learning the backend of web technology that I wanted to address.
III. RELATED WORK (situating in context/ identification of peers)
While in the process of prototyping data transfer visualization I also started my research on memes. One expert studying memes was Cameron Marlow, the creator of Blogdex. Blogdex is like a search-engine spider that looks at weblogs and extracts and ranks the most popular hypertext links. Cameron expressed, “It’s a way of looking at Internet memetics, the way memes evolve and develop over time.” Another example is Yahoo Buzz, which reflects what subjects Yahoo users all over the world are searching for. Yahoo is able to break the information they collect from their users and determine subjects with the greatest percentage increase in buzz score from one day to the next, the buzz movers. Meanwhile Google has its own meme-like feature called Google Trends. Its “Hot Trends” section will reveal the hottest queries for that day.
V1. METHODOLOGY (identification of techniques and valuation of approach)
I then examined my research again and decided to focus on what I feel is the gathering place for memes, search engines. I felt that starting with educating on search engines is appropriate because they have become a large part of the web experience and because it is a place where the analysis of what people search become part of and a reflection of what our culture is interested in or want to know. With this goal in mind I focused my users to people who have brand loyalty to a search engine or people who are unaware of the possible search tools that are available. I began to research on search engines guides that are already on the web and discovered that many of the sites had lists after lists of search engines sites and many of the contents where text driven. After looking at web search engine guides like The Best Search Engine and Internet Search Guide, I decided that my design criteria would be to create a site where people can easily navigate through to learn about search engines. Moreover, I wanted information to be stripped to the essentials to avoid information overload. Furthermore, presenting the contents in a visually appealing manner and concept would not only set it apart from the other sites that guide but also induce a fun learning environment.
VII. IMPLEMENTATION (both idealized design and prototyped solutions)
The idealized design would be a website that dissected each featured search engine into categories. The site should also allow users to determine what type of information they are looking for to return the best search engine for them to use.
What emerged while executing the educational site about search engines was another rough idea of how a person can see the searches that they make in relation to the rest of the world. The concept for the trends builds on Google and Yahoo’s existing meme tracking features. The way it works is that the go board would be divided into different categories such as entertainment, news, sports, and so on with shades of color that indicated the degree to which the rest of the world are searching for those topics. It would visualize what the user searches by indicating it with go stones on the go board. Technical aspects would be interpreting what the rest of the world is searching through either Google Trend or Yahoo Buzz. The individual’s search results can be tracked by Yahoo’s Site Explorer.
VIII. RESULTS (analysis, critical reflection, real-world application)
With the education search engine site I received positive feed back on the design and look and feel of the overall them. However there are still issues such as filtering of information that have yet to be resolved. I made a choice to include for now general, blog, academic, and visual search engines because I felt they were common tools that should be learned and they are areas where many ideas gathered and spread and are still being molded and developed based on user feedback and needs. General search engines include popular search tools like Yahoo, Google, and Ask.com. Blog search engines were introduced because of their increasing importance. For example, “just a few years ago, the term “blog” didn’t exist. Now, many people follow their postings as they would a favorite television show. Others turn to them for news.” Academic search engines were introduced to combat the weakness of the questionable reliability of information generated by general search engines. However, filtering search engines in those categories is even a challenge because there are so many. I’ve for now determined what search engines to showcase based on expert evaluations and the popularity of their use. Through the general four categories introduced thus far, the aim is that users will have adequate tool to navigate through the web and vary their search depending on the information they use.
Another design challenge I encountered was trying to move the presentation of the contents away from lists of names. Visually I used their logos instead and I do think that helps with the visual recollection and memory because each logo is unique. However, though the first visual impact does not scream giant long listing, fundamentally it is still a list format. I think it is still an effective way to organized though I would have like to come up with another way of showcasing these contents.
VIIII. CONCLUSION & FUTURE WORK (contribution)
Some aspects of my site are still in working progress and needs to be flushed out. If it was to be developed further, I think the trends section is something that is interesting and can be developed further with the goal of increasing awareness of the content we are interested in and what the rest of the world is consuming. In one aspect I had envisioned this tool serving as a self monitoring guide when users see that they are not keeping up with current events and topics in relation to the rest of the web participants.
Additionally, I think people would like to see themselves and what their status is in regards to other people. Some of the current methods of how this is achieved are through Yahoo and Ask.com, where auto complete text feature of users’ searches reflect what others have looked up and are interested in finding. Visualizing a virtual space of search engines and searches may be where the future of search engine and online navigation is heading. For example, Yahoo Korea began to explore this with Webzari. Webzari represents websites as planets with size determined by the number of links they have. Planets’ attraction to one another is also determined by the number of links between them. The user is a space ship that navigates through the universe.
Though many researches have been conducted regarding search engines, such as their functionalities and services, development in understanding how we can better improve our search is still in progress. If this project was to be taken further, the goal would be developing new and more efficient ways of executing searches and visualizing search engines in a more accessible way that moves away from data in the text format into more creative ways of navigating to different search engines. Perhaps mapping engines to different virtual spaces on the web would be the future of search navigation.
III. Getting the Most Out of Your Search Engine, http://www.webreference.com/content/search/features.html#useful_features
A sexy tool-Grokker! ,http://blog.roodo.com/pennypan/archives/221497.html
Boswell, Wendy, Blog Search Engines, http://websearch.about.com/od/internetresearch/a/newsblog.htm
Cameron Marlow, Firefox autocomplete: how much?, 1/21/2007
Cameron Marlow, Google underscores filenames, http://overstated.net/2003/08/12/google-underscores-filenames#more-319, 8/12/2003
Cameron Marlow, Yahoo! Korea: Webzari,http://overstated.net/page/5, June 2nd, 2006
List of search engines, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_search_engines#General_search_engines
The BEST Search Engines, UC Berkeley, http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/SearchEngines.html, 10/02/07
Schwartz, Berry, Google Meme: Hot Trends Added To Google Trends, 5/22/07
Visual search, if:book, http://www.futureofthebook.org/blog/archives/2007/09/visual_search.html, 9/14/2007
Filed under: Interface Fall 07
I like the positive aspects of games that some of the audio touched on. It is interesting to think that games can involve non-passive thinking, while other entertainments such as movies and books and so on encourage observation, critical thinking and transfer knowledge. At the same time, even though it is educational (not in a traditional way), it can also be fun and gains a lot more attention and engagement. The case about using games to promote and teach behaviors and thinking that relates to social problems is really quit amazing. You can imagine books and propaganda and documentaries educating people and arousing public awareness and actions. I have the perception of games existing only in the virtual word so for people to apply skills and knowledge they learn in games to the real world and make it a reality is something quite amazing. I think this the transfer of virtual into real is made possible through the development of game software. People can now interact with real people through virtual space ad the reality of interaction, the concepts, and real-world situations, will only increase.
Role focused prototype is concerned about its relationship with the user, what purpose does the artifact serve, how it might change the user’s life, and explain what it is and is ot about. Look and feel is concerned about the aesthetic of the prototype, the user’s reaction to the appearance of it, and figure out what is attractive and unattractive for the audience who ultimately wants to deal just with the user interface and not the technology behind it. Implementation is focused more on how the artifact is goin to be made in the end. It can deal with developing artifacts that are more technology based. Implementation prototypes are often time consuming and complicated to build so they most often will appear in the end product. It is useful to show artifacts that ultimately need to be realized and not just conceptualized. Look and fell is good for things such as children’s toy and for observing how the audience reacts to it. Role is good for explaining to a broad audience the concept of the idea and what its experience should be. Things such as user scenario would be helpful for those not part of the design team but general public.
What I found compelling from the article was the fact that the quality of representation can affect our approach, making it either a reflective or experimental task. For example, world problems when left in its present state can be a reflective challenge but when converted to a diagram/numbers, it can be solved experientially and much quicker. From my experiences at parsons so far it seems that there is an emphasis on making the reflective into experimental, from text on complex information into quick, easy-to-understand representations. I think this is an area that generates a lot of creativity and innovation, where the person who is able to present an approach the same info in a new way is recognized. Although the products of these end viewers’ opportunity to think reflectively on the same subject matter when everything is so experientially laid out before them unless they have the ambitious and curious mind to push themselves or the subject matter further. However, the contribution of reflective to experiential representation is in the fact that it makes digesting information faster and easier, which is invaluable in the current society where there is so much information and knowledge to soak in. It helps people build the foundation they need to build new ideas in a much more efficient matter. Otherwise, just trying to learn and relearn knowledge in the form it was first conceived would probably not have lead to as much breakthroughs.
10/4/07 Audio 10 faces of Innovation
The line I remember the most was how Mead described her experience with observation was diving into it and not coming up for air until it was done. I was somewhat skeptical when I approached this assignment because though observing people is interesting, there is this conscious awkwardness when you know people know you are looking at them and taking pictures of them. I tried to look at things in a curious manner, even though some were things and events that were quite mundane, to hopefully discover new and interesting things about the people and the environment. In the audio, it mentioned that only after thoroughly understanding people and their needs, can we better solve their problems and wants, I can’t say I have found any serious problems during any observation, except for a person asking for things which may cause people to fell unease. Perhaps my documentation of my observation was unpleasant for some people but overall I received open and no negative feedback from what I notice. I think keeping an open mind like the audio suggested helped a lot since I tried to document things that at first I thought were common and mundane, but a story slowly evolved from it. It’s hard not to have bias toward the environment and surroundings though. Sometimes a space is more attracting and inviting and sometimes certain personalities/ characters are more interesting than others that you can’t help but follow them around to see what they might do next.
9/25/07 – Related to Pillow
My design of creating new uses fro the umbrella by providing a new way of looking at the object in another from than typically perceived. The pillow confronts the digital world that invades the space regardless of whether we are a willing participant or not. We cannot prevent other people’s electromagnetic waves from coming into our surrounding because we don’t see it or hear it. Similarly, in my design of the umbrella, I portray the noisy environment in dorm life and the frustrating conversations and party noise that penetrate the walls to neighboring rooms. The people subjected to this environment have no control of the noise level, and the murmurs unless they can shut the mouths of their neighbors somehow. The umbrella in my design acts as a magnification of noise and also as a repellent of noise. I think there is a subconscious desire to process things we hear but can’t hear very well and attempts at deciphering what the conversation is can be frustrating. Therefore, my umbrella magnifies noises and allow the person to listen in on what is going on in the other room, pick up rumors and gossips and such, acting like a cup against the wall. The alternate of that is to use it as a ear plug to block out noise at night when it is time to sleep but sleep is not for everyone at college.
I think the design would not work in our world because the umbrella design are substitutes for what is already in existence but it just combines 3 items into 1.
9/20/07 Aesthetically Controlled Interaction
Aesthetically controlled interaction focuses not only on usability or efficiency but integrates aesthetics and function that expects the appearance of the product to fit the functionality and role it was designed for. The outcome of the design when these two elements are integrated, rather than regarded as separate are more meaningful, creative, and ultimately not boring. It should consider the physical elements, the manner in which the users will interact with it, and what role/frustration it serves in our culture and everyday life. To achieve this designers can approach this through interaction webloging where they step out of what the object or interface is typically used for and design for extreme characters where they answer the needs and aesthetics of extreme characters.
These talks made design and technology more accessible in the sense that it demystified technology. To me technology has always been harder to grasp and understand. I always viewed it as the impossible and that although you can improve upon the current technology and design, it is near impossible to do something utterly different. However, the works of Bunker Roy who developed the after collection system and IDEO have really proven to themselves and the world and their critics that through blasting walls and through brainstorming and re-brainstorming, the right application of technology and smart use of knowledge that already exists, the impossible is not so impossible after all.
I think technology and design touches all aspects of outlives, which can be seem from Bunker’s application of it in a 3rd world country that drastically improves people’s life and given them opportunities that they never had before. On the other side, there is IDEO who work with more well off business partners that are also able to improve people’s life in an interactive and functional way that probes and inspires further investigation on technology, such as Prada’s changing room, as well as improve function and behavior in the workplace like Dilbert’s cubical.
Filed under: Interface Fall 07
vis prototypes of data trans
Filed under: Interface Fall 07
1. Push an unpopular blog or site
how: click on it thousands of time to see if it catches on
monitor flow of other people’s visit
ex: yahoo homepage blog
clicks today: 54094
Info flow: how things become mainstream
2. Meme Tags
– favorite videos
– meaningful numbers
– good deeds (negative and shocking memes spread more easily -> gain immediate response) –have a blog area for people to post good things they have done and allow other people to applaud them and see things that they can do to help as well
1. make a peice of work that illustration how info is sent and spread on the net
-> front view: one piece of info
-> side view: pieces of packages that are separated and spread out
Info is split into little packages when moving from one place to another and reassembled when it reaches there
2. Show how meme spread throughout the net through repetition and mutation
Original idea is making a physical object that has different website frames images and images that mutate as it moves along different. May be interesting represent something virtual in physical form.
Another option is making a website of it that has actual videos of memes and showcase how memes are repeated, spread, and mutate.
Filed under: Interface Fall 07
Apply motivations to a concept(s)
Write a narrative description of the project(s). What is it, who is it designed for, what is it designed to do, what kind of technology does it explore, why should we care about it, where will we see or what is the project’s life beyond the classroom, how does it make a difference?
After catching a virus on my computer through MSN Messenger recently, I curious in how viruses spread and move through networks. Many people are not aware of their vunerability and the impact of viruses, trogans, or worms until they catch it. My initial ideas were to design something that educates uninformed Internet users on harmful viral spread that they may be exposed to. It would discuss issues of how it is created, spread, blocked, and regenerated. The project could be posted on the web and serve as an educational and preventative piece in the spread of malicious infectious information.
In my research I came across the term meme which a unit of cultural information that represents a basic idea that can be transferred from one individual to another, and subjected to mutation, crossover and adaptation. Memes are important because they are the basic building blocks of our minds and culture, in the same way that genes are the basic building blocks of biological life. Memes can be ideas about freedom, justice, truth, communism, capitalism, religion, and any popular songs that gets stuck in your head. The spread of memes has become easier through technology and with that comes both good memes and memes with negative impacts such wiping out languages and cultures. However, Dan Dennett, a speaker at a TED talk, emphasized that deciphering what is good or bad memes is not the focus, studying how it spread and why and getting the facts is what is important. The trick is not to annihilate germs but foster public healthcare and the like that would encourage the spread of benign mutations of toxic varieties.
Talks Dan Dennett: Ants, terrorism, and the awesome power of memes
Tracking Bloggers With Blogdex
Blogdex is like a search-engine spider that looks at weblogs and extracts and ranks the most popular hypertext links. The creator Cameron Marlow said, “It’s a way of looking at Internet memetics, the way memes evolve and develop over time.”
PhotoMemes.org – Infectious Photo Projects
Site that lists photography-related memes on the web. Contents are interesting photo projects that focus on a uniquely contagious idea or theme like “A Day in the Life” and “Dogs in Cars.”
8 Random Things
Post 8 random facts about yourself and tag 8 other people
The Great Global Number Meme
People who are tagged take and post a photo of a number connected to themselves that follows on in numerical order from the previous one
2. spread memes through chain or website
3. observe flow of memes