One Interface to Rule them All (part 5)

In this post, I want to take a step back from tossing out MetaMee flow diagrams of how an ideal portal/dashboard/master interface might look and function, and just deal with a single issue. Layering.

(If you’re just coming into this discussion, here is the background: part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4)

When it comes to interacting on-line, I want to stratify. Classify. Layer. There is only so much of my personal information, or my data stream, that I might want to give out in any one instance (or in general). And I’d like to be able to classify and layer and filter how much of what I see from other sources, so that I’m not inundated. Also, I’d like to be able to flexibly group people into categories, and promote/demote them into levels of “friendship” and disclosure. Tweetdeck takes a nice, simple step in this direction by allowing the user to create groups and follow sub-streams. Now take that concept and expand it.

In the graphic above, the concentric circles represent user-defined (via Settings) layers of information to be disclosed, allowing me to tune my I/O (input/output) interactions with the web in a more controlled and defined fashion.

For instance, I might decide to have 4 layers or classifications of “friendship” – intimates (close friends and family), friends, professional acquaintances, and on-line buddies (whose Tweets I like but whom I’ve never met). So, I subscribe to tweets/plurks from, say, Amber Naslund (and I do, actually). She is classified as an on-line buddy – never really met her, but she seems like a sharp and interesting person. Then maybe we find some common ground for a more detailed exchange and conversation, maybe even help out with a business need. Then perhaps we finally meet at a conference or something. Amber might well be progressively “promoted” toward my inner circle of friendship, and perhaps I’ve decided to publish some of my media (or other information) only to those in the inner two layers. Isn’t this pretty much how we operate in real life?

Philosophically and pragmatically, I think we do this all the time. Now I’d like to have a software tool – a master dashboard – that applies layering to on-line life, before I drown in information!

Links to the entire One Interface to Rule them All series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

plus…The Ideal Social Media Interface

Related post: Share Media vs. Tell Media

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