The process of choosing from a range of options should be a joyful experience, like surfing on a glassy wave. The process of choosing from a range of options should be a joyful experience, like surfing on a glassy wave.

Early concept with curved lines.

This experimental option space helps users to schedule their evenings. The graph-like waves represent different levels of activity and extroversion. Events and locations are classified in relation to the users personal profile and positioned as data points along the lines. Users see a pre-selection of options, with the selection matched to their personality profile and current mood. They can now decide if they want to tune their activity levels up or down by selecting a calm (low) or more energetic (high) activity or location. 

The farther in the back a line runs, the less familiar are the places or activities suggested by the recommender. In the foreground users find results classified as obvious or typical for their profile, which does not mean that the farther entries do not suit their personality. They only require the willingness to try something new, encouraging users to grow beyond themselves and discover new places they’ll love.

The diagrams turned out to be too inflexible in the implementation. Although the presentation was intuitive and stimulating, the exact positioning of the data points would require specific calculation models and thus severely restrict the design of the graphs. Nevertheless, this work formed an important basis for later reflection on the use of option spaces.

So far, complexity is not thought and implemented creatively. Tables and lists will eventually be insufficient, they prevent us from experiencing the full range of possibilities. A concrete preselection on the basis of personal profiles and machine learning along with contextual visualization could prove more useful if we want users to make satisfying choices.

In a later version we went back to a more concentional interface while keeping one curved line as “path” through the evening. The evening was divided into several connected sections, each of which can be edited individually. Changes to a section may affect the adjacent program items, the recommender always makes sure that the process is consistent. Distances between locations are taken into account, as well as temporal processes and even the atmosphere. All in all, this concepts follows the vision of a “perfect evening” which of course is different for everyone.

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