Mandic, Mirko (2006-04). Visualizing rhythms of intimacy in email communication. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • Email has developed into one of the most extensively used computer applications. Email interfaces, on the other hand, have gone through very few transformations since their inception. As the growing volumes of email data accumulate in users' email boxes, these interfaces fail to provide effective message handling and browsing support. Saved email messages provide not only a vast and pulsating record of one's electronic past, but also a potential source of valuable insights into the structure and dynamics of one's social network. In this thesis, we introduce a visualization approach to email that draws upon emailA?s inherently personal character and uses intimacy as a key parameter. We have developed faMailiar, a novel email interface that visualizes email in a chronological manner through two alternative, calendar-like views that present email activity on different time granularity scales. Visual mappings of email data and support for filtering help the user see rhythms and patterns in her social interactions. Zooming, panning and implicit semantic zooming facilitate navigation across large email collections. This thesis also describes our iterative, human-centered design method. Two user studies have been performed at different stages of the process, and we explain their purpose, results and implications.

publication date

  • December 2004