Project Type: Interactive Applications, Web Design


WrittenWorld is a communal free-form text world, overlaid on a street map of the user's physical location. It incorporates elements of online chat and graffiti to explore and create a bridge between the physical and virtual.

As our final project for Clay Shirky's Designing Conversational Spaces class, a collaboration between ITP and NYU's journalism department, we designed WrittenWorld as a web-based experiment that forked yourworldoftext. We placed a free-form text canvas on top of Google maps and added geolocation functionality to see what happens when you combine online chat with the pre-existing relationships that are inherent to physical location and real-world places.

This team was much more balanced than our team for Conversational Enclosures, in the sense that we had 3 developers and 2 journalism students, so I focused on the JavaScript code, and most of my time actually ended up being spent on features we never quite finalized in time to include them in our appearance in the 2011 ITP Winter Show. However, all of the code is available on GitHub.

Note: While the rest of us did no more work on this project after Clay Shirky's class ended, Zach continued with this project as his thesis.