We are now at mid semester, which means that we are slightly past the mid point for the senior degree project. I realize now that my project has gone from being highly programmatic and systemic to being far more organic and while still being a system in and of itself no longer reliant on the system of the internet. In the beginning my project was about utilizing the idea of a semantic web to create visual comparisons of data. I started to dislike this idea because it seemed too limiting, considering that the semantic web requires a reformatting of all the current data available on the internet. The idea began to seem too intangible for me to grapple with, and I came to the realization that creating something that is (from a back end perspective) algorithmic, without actually writing the algorithm it will fall mostly on deaf ears since the idea in and of itself is not of much interest without a working demonstration.
It was this nagging feeling that the end result would be lack luster in its current state that, while experimenting, lead me to pursue other opportunities that arrose from my initial tests and ultimately convinced me abandon all but the faintest of vestiges of my original project proposal. In no way do I think this is a bad thing or something to be frowned upon, quite contrarily I believe it to have been an evolution for the better. Further more I believe that any project that turns out as initially planned has the potential to become stale.
This image is one of the key points in my process. What this battleship image does is visualize how a user searches, and while working on it and labeling the different components of a search initiated by a person I was thinking about what the person with the other board would be doing. What if they were searching for the same thing, in this case ships, but on the internet it could be anything. What if you were paired with people searching the same thing you are so that you could help each other find the best information or most pertinent information. What we would have is a collaborative searching experience that would in theory be much richer since it is no longer solely algorithm based, but now it's person based.
This was the other pivotal step in my process, the making of this paper fortune teller turned into this. It is a tool container that assists users in their interaction with the site and stays with the mouse and can be called up at any time. They can use the various tools within (that change based on need) additionally it becomes an access point from outside of inforage to create a new search.
Moving forward I am continuing to refine the visual style of inforage and trying to structure the complex set of tools in a clear and easy to use way. I will attempt to strip out all unnecessary components from the look so that no visual clutter gets in the way, and the site becomes beautiful due to it's simplicity.