Email has grown to be a huge part of our lives and is very much commonplace. We can connect with others in just a few clicks. With all the email sent per day, how can we understand these connections? How can we visualize the type of email we’ve been sending? Can we tell a story somehow with the thousands of emails we’ve sent, received, and deleted?
These 21 email visualizations investigate. I’ve split them up into six categories – exploratory, analytic, mapping, metaphor, networks, and abstract.
We almost always think of email in list-form – read, unread, spam – but here are a group of visualizations that show you email differently and encourage users to explore their inbox.
It’s the mountain of email by Fernanda Viegas from the IBM group.
I posted about this in 6 Influential Datasets that Changed the Way We Think. When did Enron start going under?
Themail splits your emails into keywords and phrases.
How can we look at email from a quantitative perspective?
Rhythms of Relationships
Dynamic Coordinated Email
Email mysteriously floats around in some network, but here are some maps that try to attach location to our messages.
Small World Email Networks
Of course there’s going to be tons of Google Maps mashups. I’ll just put this one – once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.
Created by Eyebeam in collaboration with Stamen.
Instead of messages, we can think of email with metaphors. Oftentimes, metaphors make complex ideas easier to understand.
Each plant is an email.
Spam isn’t just the best canned meat ever, it’s also now a plant.
It’s like animals. Emails are animals that cluster in herds.
In attempt to make email fun, 3D Mailbox places it in a virtual world.
We’ll send an email and make a connection. These visualizations show those virtual connections.
Returning to theme of data-driven art, here are some email-driven pieces and artworks. They’re not graphs and charts and not really anything concrete. Instead, they look for the inner beauty in something that feels so mechanical.
Phew, that was a lot, and yet, I’m 100% sure that I missed some, so if you know of any that aren’t listed, leave a link in the comments below.
This is amazing. I have thought about visualizations of many services that we use on the computer but never the email inbox. It’s brilliant because it would likely allow us to view how we communicate with other people in a dramatically different manner, and then narrow down to how we communicate with each person as well. Thank you for posting this Nathan, very impressive.
Great post again! Another very intersting and promising email application is Xobni (http://www.xobni.com/learnmore/), which is not so much about visualization but seems to come with good analytics. Certainly worth knowing about it.
@Fabian: interesting, and definitely worth looking at.
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Thanks…very useful research and analysis.
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Haha I like that algae looking spam plant. Speaking of spam…Hai and I (both glued to our email) both sent our outcries about the spam problem. Jose worked some magic and now I am getting pretty much no spam!
Some time ago I had an application that showed a Ryanair jet landing everytime I received an email. I think it might be 3D viz you have there. I had to get rid of it because my apartment sounded like LAX on a holiday weekend.
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May I offer another two content-based visualizations for your consideration?
1. http://zesty.ca/zest/out (see http://zesty.ca/zest)
I hope you find them interesting.
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Wonderful site and beautiful stuff here.
Brilliant. Well done!
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