Monadic Exploration Seeing the whole through its parts

Monadic exploration is a new approach to interacting with relational information spaces that challenges the distinction between the whole and its parts.

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Year
2014

Website
The initial view of the monadic interface shifts well connected elements towards the inside
The initial view of the monadic interface shifts well connected elements towards the inside

Building on the work of sociologists Gabriel Tarde and Bruno Latour we turn to the concept of the monad as a useful lens on online communities and collections that expands the possibility for creating meaning in their navigation. While existing interfaces tend to emphasize either the structure of the whole or details of a part, monadic exploration brings these opposing perspectives closer together in continuous movements between partially overlapping points of view. The resulting visualization reflects a given node’s relative position within a network using radial displacements and visual folding.

Once a search term is entered the displacements represent search relevance. Hovering over an element highlights its neighbours
Once a search term is entered the displacements represent search relevance. Hovering over an element highlights its neighbours

Selecting an element arranges the rest of the collection based on the varying attraction values
Selecting an element arranges the rest of the collection based on the varying attraction values

Publications Associated Publications

Monadic Exploration: Seeing the Whole Through Its Parts

— CHI, 2014
Monadic exploration is a new approach to interacting with relational information spaces that challenges the distinction between the whole and its parts. Building on the work of sociologists Gabriel Tarde and Bruno Latour we turn to the concept of the monad as a useful lens on online communities and collections that expands the possibility for creating meaning in their navigation. While existing interfaces tend to emphasize either the structure of the whole or details of a part, monadic exploration brings these opposing perspectives closer together in continuous movements between partially overlapping points of view. We present a visualization that reflects a given node's relative position within a network using radial displacements and visual folding. To investigate the potential of monadic exploration we report on an iterative design process of a web-based visualization of a highly cross-referenced book and its six-month deployment.
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Marian Dörk
Rob Comber
Martyn Dade-Robertson

Year
2014

Website