Visualizing Open Processing by Sinan Ascioglu

Pick of the Week #84

Visualizing Open Processing is Sinan Ascioglu’s interactive data visualization of the activity of users on OpenProcessing.org in 2012.

Ascioglu is a User Experience and Interaction Designer from America. He launched OpenProcessing almost 5 years ago as a forum for users of Processing, an open source programming language and environment. Users can share and improve their sketches while tapping in to the community.

The visualisation of the Open Processing community demonstrates the intricate web of interaction and movements – split into commenting, following, tweaking or favoriting – of the site’s users, split into three categories of ‘Professors’, ’Students’, and ‘Regular Users’. In the visualisation, professors are blue, students are green and regular users are red. There are also other intuitive observations such as the inner circle representing comments posted by the user and the outer circle representing comments received.

As often seen with visualisations, they can be revealing and vital in understanding the way the network is functioning.

“Professors mostly interact with their students, who join the website following their professors. ”


“Whereas students are highly involved with each other.”

Along with interesting observations such as the fact that students take over the website during September at the start of the academic year, the visualisation has already demonstrated valuable information for the platform’s maintenance. Ascioglu showed that  the conversationalists  proved to be the ‘core’ users of the website together with influencers, which is “a good directional input to weigh equally on both uploading/following process and improving the interaction channels for conversations.”

He explains, “I used Google Analytics to track the website traffic, However, I have been always frustrated to see that these tools are great on displaying user-to-website interaction but they are very limited on providing any user-to-user interaction information. On social platforms like OpenProcessing, Twitter, Facebook, etc., it is extremely important for the designers to have a sense of the interaction between users, because it is what defines a social platform and makes these websites different from each other.”

“I designed a simple interface to filter through the data and navigate through the editorial section: A data visualization is at its best when it is telling a story, and even better if it is accompanied by an editorial piece. So I wanted to make sure I guide the user through the visualization to explain how it works and the patterns it includes. The rest is left for users to explore…”

Visualizing Open Processing can be found here

Text from  Sinan’s blog post on the project, which can be found here

Open processing can be found here.

#dataviz #socialmedia #design