Brighton Vino Jegarajan

The Kashmir Issue

An Alternative Narration of News and History

Project Team
My Role
Interaction Design | Interface Design | Back End Implementation | Front End Implementation

Problem Statement

The goal of the course with this project was to create a encyclopedic information resource of a complicated domain to facilitate easier and a more comprehensive understanding of the domain presented.

The artifact should provide overview and detail, with appropriate use of design strategies, such as well chosen labeling and tagging, use of standard nomenclatures where appropriate, semantic segmentation at multiple levels of granularity, and meaningful juxtaposition of information. The artifact should combine multiple sources and media types. It should also provide participatory features such as filtering, navigating, tagging, and/or contributing information.

Project Description

Although daily news may not be a complex domain to a regular reader, there could be a few scenarios when the reader is unable to understand the information provided in its entirety. Possible few such scenarios could be,

  • Lack of knowledge in related historical events
  • Events being spread over a longer timeline
  • Events spread over different geographical locations
  • Change of sentiments, stances and opinions of involved parties over a period of time impacting the event

The idea is to use the affordances of the digital media exploring the possibility of using visualizations, spatial presentation of news on a geographical map, affinity and alliance graphs, time-lines and others techniques and aids to enhance the comprehension of the news articles.

Competitor Analysis

The early stages involved extensive analysis of other similar products in the market, including Flipboard, Feedly, News360, etc. The salient features strengths and limitations of each of the product was marked on an affordance grid and a set of ideal features for the product to be designed was made.

  • Spatial Affordance: Consistent and structured presentation of information offering different perspectives and information aptly on visualizations, maps, affinity graphs, timelines, etc.
  • Encyclopedic Affordance: News articles covering spectrum of topics with details and media elements (photos, videos, etc). In depth information and other related and relevant events from history.
  • Procedural Affordance: Functionalities that allows user to explore the news by time, location and perspectives. Filtering articles to find the news article of interest
  • Participatory Affordance: Allows readers to share articles on their social circles. Reader can voice their opinions, share their views in comments or forums or discussion threads or polls.

Understanding a News Article

Based on the exploratory study the following were identified as the key stones around which the artifact was to be designed.

  • Understand the progress of events over extended period of time: Temporal spatial affordance - Timeline view.
  • Understand the geographical significance and spread of influence: Geographical spatial affordance - Map view.
  • Understand formation of allies and affinity groups and people involved: Visualize the news and events on affinity maps.
  • Allow the user context to determine the related news articles by the meta-information: Flexibility to determine related news.

The meta-information related with a news article were broken down and each of them was supplemented with visualization or a filtering mechanism that would provide a flexible navigation / filtering to the reader.

With the above mentioned guides, the wireframe mockup of the news reader was created and think-aloud technique was used with 6 participants to receive early feedback and design the iterations.

Low Fidelity Wireframe Mockups

  • The Kashmir Conflict - Landing Page providing a description for the issue and context for the tool.

  • Filters and Options: Allows the reader to narrow down to a particular article based on meta-information.

  • Interaction: Segments highlighted based on the meta-data of the article hovered over by the reader.

  • Detailed News Articles screen with the meta-data tagged on the right column.

  • Storyboard: The navigation flow across screens in the tool.

High Fidelity Mockups

  • The Kashmir Conflict - Landing Page providing a description for the issue and context for the tool.

  • Filters and Options: Allows the reader to narrow down to a particular article based on meta-information.

  • Interaction: Segments highlighted based on the meta-data of the article hovered over by the reader.

  • Detailed News Articles screen with the meta-data tagged on the right column.

  • Storyboard: The navigation flow across screens in the tool.

The Artifact

The concept was prototyped reading RSS Feeds from News Sources and using Textalytics API to extract meta-data like location, people from the articles. The tags and meta-data were stored in a MySQL DB and the front end was rendered on the browser using Google Map API for showing different origins of news articles.

The demonstration was limited to 3 of the 7 meta-information.

Project Video