Project Scope:
Design a socially translucent system that conveys, allows, or delivers social-centered information by providing visual, verbal, or other interactive cues about the presence and activity of the participants. An example would be the systemís ability to convey attentiveness, emotional conditions, peer pressure, or other forms of communication that are often times implicit, as well as ambiguous, but very real. These psychological conditions are not easily conveyed in the virtual world of computer-mediated communication.
Project Assessment:
This was an eye-opening experiment for David, as he had not joined a "social networking" web site at the time.  The team agreed that Facebook ( would be an ideal median to develop for, as its growth since 2007 has been exponential.  The idea of capturing user emotions between humans and computers is where computing in general is heading.  Mankind currently considers computers as "objects", but just as we can now envision state-of-the-art androids evolving to having emotions (ie, "Data" from the Star Trek series), so, too, can we begin envisioning computers, software, and the Internet itself having similar traits.  This is one direction David sees Web 2.0 evolving.  More-and-more electronics are being introduced with Internet capabilities (ie, cell phones, televisions, refrigerators, etc.), and humans now have emotional attachments to such devices, perhaps to a point where a device itself provides a return emotion.

David kept referring to a favored song by Rush entitled "The Spirit Of Radio", to where the lyrics state how a person gets cheered up by listening to music from the radio.  Yet, the first line of the song ("Begin the day with a friendly voice, a companion unobtrusive, plays that song that's so elusive and the magic makes your morning mood.") makes one wonder:  Did the radio "choose" the elusive song for the user because of an emotion gathered from the user's emotion of having to wake up early to get ready for work?  Thus, did the radio (or the electronics necessary to generate radio waves) perceive and show emotion?  This generalization is repeated throughout the song itself - most intriguing!

Moodini was designed to capture a generalized user emotion for a given location, and then be able to see a generalized mood indicator over a given area (city, state, nation).  We used the 2008 presidential election as our target demonstration.  It would be intriguing to have seen something like this introduced to Facebook, to see raw emotion recorded worldwide.  Our professor, the Associate Dean of the IU School of Informatics, agreed, and would like to see such an application & study performed.  And yes, David has now become a Facebook addict, and more importantly, has see Facebook's power, potential, and yes, danger it can bring to society.

Usability Methods Used:
  • Problem Space Definition
  • Conceptualization
  • Pre- & Post-Project Questionnaire & Interview Evaluations
  • Establish Usability Requirements (based on field analysis)
  • Design & Create Low- and High-Fidelity Prototype
  • Cognitive Walkthroughs
David was one of three members of this team, along side an emergency triage doctor and an Indianapolis Public School librarian.  David was the only members with a technical background, so he created all HTML prototype interactions that mimicked basic Facebook functionality.  A team member was enrolled in an early Flash programming course, and volunteered to construct the actual Moodini interface, with David incorporating it into his web site.
Project Deliverables:
Moodini Final Report (pdf - 33pgs - 4.9MB)
Moodini Final Presentation (pdf)
Interactive Prototype Web Site (link)