democratizing visualization



communication interfaces

art & design


What if real-time conversations could be visualized?


    Chat Circles      
  Chat Circles is an abstract graphical interface for online chatting. Color and form are used to convey social presence and activity, and proximity-based filtering is used to intuitively break large groups into conversational clusters. The system also introduces a visual interface for conversation logs.

The system, launched in 1999, was pioneering in its use of abstract graphics for synchronous conversation. Its minimalist interface inspired a series of subsequent projects in the Sociable Media Group at the MIT Media Lab. For more information about the system, including its history, check out the Chat Circles project page.
  Chat Circles
  Visualizing Conversation
  The chat circles series: explorations in designing abstract graphical communication interfaces
with Karrie Karahalios and Judith Donath
  VisiPhone is a tangible communication object that opens a graphical as well as an audio portal through space. It is designed to provide a continuous, ubiquitous connection between people in different places. By making the audio visible, VisiPhone turns the speakerphone into a portal between spaces: the existence of the connection is recognizable even in moments of silence and the dynamics and inflections of the conversation are made salient by the expressive power of the abstract visualization.

Unlike traditional audio rendering systems, Visiphone explores the social and aesthetic aspects of visualizations of sound. For more information, check out the project page.