Diversification of sources & Journalism with context

The Problems

In the early stages we identified three problems: People act based on false information, people spread false information, conflicts occur between groups with different information sources. Later we were able to reduce the number of problems to two: information bubbles which commonly lead to conflicts and a lack of awareness regarding source validation which is one of the main reasons for people acting upon and spreading false information. Our focus was not the intentional spreading of false information (lying) but the arbitrary spreading of information as it takes place in everyday social interactions.
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The Solutions

Out of the large initial number of prototypes two approaches ended up looking very promising. During the last days of the project my team partner finalized the source-restructuration while I focused on the map-interface.

YouTube-interface for resolving bubbles

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The users can explore videos through a map-like interface. They will see:

- His usual area of interaction indicated by a position marker

- Lines that point to their latest interactions

- Channels and their subscriber-number visualized by differently sized points

- Subscriber-overlap indicated by the distance between the points

- Video recommendations that differ in subject and specificity based on the current zoom-level
Zooming in will lead to more specific recommendations. Shown in this example using Sports -> Archery
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In user interviews we discovered that many users are frustrated with the personalized recommendations on sites like YouTube and Netflix. Users often turn to those services when they are bored in which case they are specifically looking for new influences. The combination of map-interface and zoom-mechanic makes it possible to quickly explore a wide range of subjects while also controlling how deep each topic should be entered. Through the position-marker and the connection-lines the users can see if they are consuming inside a bubble. If users know they are inside a bubble they have a stronger desire to change that. This information about the own behavior is integrated in a useful interface that helps the user to reach other goals. This way the user is constantly confronted by this information without any intentional effort. The same platform can be used to monitor and to adjust video-consumption habits.

Journalism with context

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sketch by Felix Arnold

Sources are shown at the start of an article so the user can roughly judge the quality of the article before reading it.
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sketch by Felix Arnold

The sources are categorized to help users jude the relevance of individual sources. This Way assessments based purely on the quantity of sources is avoided.
Pirmary
Secondary
Opinion
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sketch by Felix Arnold

Sources are linked right next to their corresponding text section to allow for fast validation of specific statements.
Journalists have a stronger incentive to conduct comprehensive research. They are directly confronted with the quality of their research.

Prototype to final concept

To develop a relevant product we constantly tested our prototypes with young adults an preformed revisions based on their feedback. To get deeper insights we also questioned Prof. Dr. habil. Georg Kneer for his expertise in sociology and media theory. Petra Boschen providet us with the perspective of a professional journalist.

Her you can see the prototypes of the first generation that had the strongest impact on the final concept.

Slider

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The main problem with this one was that users didn't really know what “Similar”(left) and “Different” (right) meant for them. They also expressed a desire to filter out subjects they don't care about. The map-visualisation solves both of those problems while still confronting users with a wide range of topics.

Map

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Original diagram by Graphika

The map-visualization did help users to monitor their behavior but it required a lot of initiative and the motivation to open it faded quickly. The final implementation solves this by helping the users to reach their additional goal of getting rid of their boredom.

Source-Tree

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sketch by Felix Arnold

In its initial form the source-tree was hidden behind a click and only users who were already searching for sources would see it. Die final version informes about the validity of an article before it is read. The original tree only provide information about the number and connection of sources which could lead to the impression that an article is well researched only because it has many sources. The final version works around this by categorizing the sources into primary, secondary and opinion sources.