The Making
of a

Working
Internet
Interface

for TV

or How to Broadcast the Web   

 


In our attempt to connect TV and Internet contents as well as formal aspects of the two, we developed a storyboarding technique, which was set up to
a) help in the pre-production process and
b) serve as a WWW-documentation of the broadcasts (additional information, link collection etc.).

To move from the background to the foreground, so to speak, we had to find the missing link. This meant to connect what was happening in the studio 'live' with the Internet / WWW, representing the Internet on TV without showing the usual browser on a computer screen placed in the TV studio.

The leading questions concerning this task were a) 'how' could the Internet, its structure, its logic and functionality as well as its inherent aesthetic be presented on TV,
b) what would be the best way to implement this in a studio situation where it could become part of the setting itself - an Interface to cyberspace for the programme in general.

An initial search for Internet or cyberspace topologies revealed some promising work by individuals and institutions in their effort to 'map' the Internet (see table below):


.
Phase 1:
Looking for examples

.

Internet-Sources

Images
Commentary
Mapnet , a tool to display different global networks...

... i.e. their global structures and reach. Parameters may be defined according to which one or more given networks may be represented on the world map, which can be moved around and zoomed in. .
Smithonian Museum: Revealing Things a virtual exhibition with an interesting Interface.

It offers an associative tree interface (on the left), and an image driven menu (column in the middle). Both change their outlook according to the activated link or image. The chosen artefact is described and displayed in the window on the right. The Interface is a Java applet which appears as an extra window on the Smithonian site.

Cyber Atlas, an exhibition at the Guggenheim museum



where two images representing an associative Cyberspace where on display.

Visual Thesaurus by plumbdesign built with software from Thinkmap

 



This thesaurus was one of the most promising examples we found, showing synonyms, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, or relating nouns to the word in the center. New words could be entered through a little box in the menu at the bottom.
The Brain from Natrificial
.. using the same structure as the Virtual Thesaurus to organize the desktop of a computer (available only for PC's). It was designed to give the user of a computer the freedom to organize, file and store his or her data according to a personal 'mental map' and not following the rules set by Windows 95/98 for instance. One can open files, applications and websites from this Interface which makes it the best practice example we came across.

The Geography of Cyberspace of the Cyber-Geography Research, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), University College London.

 

Mapping the Internet, WWW and Cyperspace.
A paper by Martin Dodge, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis University College London.  

Their website provides a big collection (The Atlas of Cyberspace) with various kinds of Internet visualizations having different foci such as...

Conceptual | Artistic | Geographic | Traceroutes | Census | | Topology | Info Maps | Info Landscapes | Info Spaces | ISP Maps | | Web Site Maps | Surf Maps | Historical ].

.
Phase 2: Developing an Interface for TV use

.
First sketches for an Interface using the ideas found on the web (and displayed above)

 

Peter Ostholt, a member of the EPS-team, put down a first interactive proposal of how an Interface for TV use could look like and work using the best practice examples we found, especially the Virtual Thesaurus and The Brain. He also gave a description of how such an Interface could practically work.

Final Interface as designed by company b and used in the WDR programme Quarks & Co....

 

Quarks&Co, November 17th 1998, programme 'How we die', partly based on a script written by the EPS-team in accordance with the editors

See HERE for Movie-Clip