Browsers to Support Awareness and Social Interaction

Abstract

Information sharing, computation and social interaction are main features of the Web that has enabled online communities to abound and flourish. However, this trend has not been coupled with the development of cues and browsing mechanisms for the social space. On the flip side, active contributors to social spaces (i.e., Web communities) lack the means to present a public face to visitors that can be important for social organizations. Social browsers that combine social visualization and tools can enable newcomers and visitors to view and explore information and patterns. We present two social browsers for two Web communities. The CHIplace People browser provides an abstract graphical view of the CHIplace community based on the self-described work roles of its membership. The Portkey eTree browser uses a life-like tree ecosystem metaphor to reflect the people, activities and discussions occurring on the Portkey Web site.