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Contrasting portraits of email practices: visual approaches to reflection and analysis

By Adam Perer and Marc A. Smith


Over time, many people accumulate extensive email repositories that contain detailed information about their personal communication patterns and relationships. We present three visualizations that capture hierarchical, correlational, and temporal patterns present in user’s email repositories. These patterns are difficult to discover using traditional interfaces and are valuable for navigation and reflection on social relationships and communication history. We interviewed users with diverse email habits and found that they were able to interpret these images and could find interesting features that were not evident to them through their standard email interfaces. The images also capture a wide range of variation in email practices. These results suggest that information visualizations of personal communications have value for end-users and analysts alike

Topics: H.1.2.a Human factors, H.4.3.c Electronic mail KEYWORDS Email
Year: 2013
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