|Apeer: A Group Communication Tool
| Please note: Apeer is a work in progress.
Consequently, this description is subject to change.
Though it can be ignored or dismissed, receiving a link through instant messaging (IM) is interruptive and can require a typed acknowledgement to avoid seeming rude. Group chats within IM require a further degree of engagement not always justified by an individual’s interest in the link. Emails can be similarly intrusive, might also require an acknowledgement, and may lead to group discussions that can quickly overflow an inbox. Weblog posts support topic-based discussions, but do not effectively show new activity across a set of topics at a glance.
Apeer is a social visualization for brief, topical discussions within groups. It builds common ground and creates social awareness by showing who has read what, and who has commented. The peripheral interface emphasizes salience by sinking unread topics and shows trails of activity below what’s most popular.
Click on the diagram to expand it to make it readable.
Below, a group of people submit topics of discussion that
We submitted Apeer to an academic contest sponsored by
Microsoft called ImagineCup.
Apeer began as the brainchild of myself and Chad
Thornton. At the time, I was a graduate student in Human-Computer
Interaction, and he was a graduate student in Interaction Design. Together
we developed the workflow and interaction design of the application. I
wrote the code for the client and Chad came up with the visual design
of the interface. We recruited three more graduate students at CMU, Patrick
Barry, Kevin Shiue, and Justin Weisz, to aid in the programming task.