Voices Online is a project born from my wish for more transparency and vulnerability in online spaces.
I wanted to develop a tool responding to this need, that would allow us to express tone and human emotion
in our digital communication.
The first product of this project was a visual code. I developed a set of coloured shapes, each representing
a certain feeling, that could be combined and layered up to represent a multifaceted, complex individual emotional profile.
This generated icon could be applied online by users building their personal icon and sharing it to add
an extra layer of tone and emotional context to their publications online.
Placing myself as a consumer of internet communication, I can only hope that a tool allowing us to read online information more empathetically, taking in that added context of emotion, would impact the tone of online discourse to be more vulnerable, thoughtful and nuanced.
I reached out to my close online community about the feelings they most often experienced when sharing online, and collected their feedback.
I intuitively translated these emotions into expressive, colourful shapes, using a dot matrix to structure them into a system. "Impulsive" would be
a fiery orange, a shape split into multiple short bursts, whereas "Empathetic" exists as an embracing circular shape in a soft pink hue.
These individual shapes combine, either in 2, 3 or 4 layers, to create
a visual depth that represents the complex individual emotional profile of each user.
The next step of the project was the creation of a space where users could apply this visual language.
On this platform, they were invited to anonymously respond to a set of prompts relating to their experiences with privacy, community, and pressure in online spaces, identifying themselves only through their personal icon, representative of their individual emotional context.
The audience would build a collective archive of responses, creating an online space that encourages vulnerability and honesty about the complex feelings that come with being a human online.
On this platform, users are able to navigate different themed forums,
reading candid, anonymous responses, each informed by emotional context.
The audience can contribute to these forums within each page, entering their written response and completing it by selecting up to 4 traits that reflect how they feel responding to this topic.
Users can also explore this visual tool more closely, building a layered icon that perhaps reflect their personality more generally, rather than on a single topic.
They may wish to save it and share it online as a way to give their own audience an insight into their emotional profile, and how that might inform their online presence.