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Connected Communities

Medium: Web
Year: 2002
Client: Interaction Design Institute Ivrea
Team: Holly Coleman, Boris Müller, Josh On

In 2002, I participated in the Connected Communities research project at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea. The Institute is a major hub in the international network of interaction design. It is a school, a research laboratory and a production site and as such in the unique position to be experimental and informative. It is a place for framing debates, setting agendas, sharing knowledge, developing ideas and for education and learning.

However, the community of the Institute is not linked to a specific city of place. Rather, it is defined by interest, so it is spread out all over the world. So the aim of the Connected Community project is to find ways of connecting the people within it.

Community Browser
An important aspect of the Connected Communities Project is to create an awareness of a community. We believe it is not enough to know that there are a number of people with a similar interest out there. It should be possible to see them and to find oneself in the social context of the community.

This is the aim of the Communities Browser. Every member of the community is represented as an icon. So every member of the community can find herself / himself in a social context. It is possible to find out, who else is in the community and who shares similar ideas or works on the same projects. The personal profile, i.e. the sum of all activities and contributions of a member are accessible via the icon. So the Community Browser is both a tool for visualisation and navigation.

Launch the Community Browser

Mapping the Community
The structure of the Community Browser is directly based on the Institute’s Community Model. In the map of the Community Browser, the community evolves around the activities of the people at the Institute’s building, the Blue House. Everyone from the Blue House, who is an active member of the community, can be found in the innermost circle. Around this center, the Close Collaborators like the visiting professors or the explorers can be found. On the third ring are remote members of the community, like journalists, potential students or other members of the global interaction design community.

In each ring, members with a similar background or similar interests are brought together to form a group. This enables the users, to find themselves and to get in touch with other members.

{The Community Browser. Click to enlarge images.}

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