Feeding the Suite Spot

The SUITE SPOT (as seen at Webstock) takes live data feeds from blogs, Twitter, Flickr and SMS messages then ‘repurposes’ all of this into an exploratory scene.


The feeds might look  simple enough on screen but deciding what appears on the timeline, where and when were all challenges faced during the design and development.

The result is a single timeline for the Webstock community to explore feeds, but content can actually appear on several different spots within the timeline.

This is because  we considered the Webstock community and where they might look for content.

Here’s a few scenarios for our hypothetical user, Charlie Bird, who was, hypothetically, out dancing last night with Webstock celebrity Jane McGonigal:

“I just contributed a feed…”

Charlie Bird is a prolific Twitter and has just  submitted his feed to the SUITE SPOT.  He also  could have sent a SMS message or uploaded some photos (of his dancing with  Jane)  to Flickr. We expected that Charlie Bird would expect to see his content appear right away on the SUITE SPOT timeline. We allowed this so his feed will appear within a few minutes.

“I was out dancing with Jane last night…”

But what if Charlie’s Flickr photos were taken the previous evening? Should they also appear in the timeline at the time the photos were actually taken? We thought so. So a photo taken at, say 11pm, on Tuesday night (but uploaded to Flickr 9am the next morning) will appear in both timestamps on the timeline. This assumes Charlie Bird has a modern digital camera – these add a ‘time-taken’ timestamp with every photo.

“I just want to see all stuff related to Jane…”

We can do that! This works with content which has been tagged and has relevance to Webstock or one of the speakers. So Charlie Bird’s photo of him dancing with  Jane  might be tagged [Webstock09, JaneMcGonigal, CharlieBird].

We created an administration system to decide which tags people are likely to use when tagging content.   To broaden the information displayed about each speaker we included tags for their company, projects and interests. We also prioritised  tags so some have more weight. For example, a photo tagged [Webstock09] AND [JaneMcGonigal] has a higher chance of being displayed on the SUITE SPOT than a photo only tagged [JaneMcGonigal].

Pictured: These tags relate to the speaker and their presentation timeslot.

Because Jane McGonigal is presenting at around 9am on Thursday morning we can then display all content tagged [JaneMcGonigal]. If the content is also tagged [webstock09] then we make this a higher priority and bump-off less relevant feeds.

The result

The feeds on display at any one time  are a mixture of realtime feeds (Twitter, TXT messages and direct messages) and subject-related content (Flickr and blog posts).

This ensures that the SUITE SPOT always displays feeds relevant to what people are saying “right now”  as well who’s presenting “right now”.