example of VTF


For an example of visual telefacilitation, let's look at the live text graphic coverage of a call in TV show. The format of the show was a moderated discussion during which viewers called in and asked questions of a panel.

In one sense the call in show was actually an audio teleconference between the callers and the panelists, with live video of the panelists added. The panelists and TV audience together were the telegroup being facilitated.

The content of the discussion was captured on a Web page in real time as the panel members responded to the questions that were phoned in. The Web page, serving as a live meeting map, was continuously updated throughout the show to reflect the latest comments by panelists, moderator and callers.

At the beginning of the show, the Web page was initially blank except for the title with phone number      this was the initial frame of the meeting map. And then text and graphics were added in real time as the event continued to represent the flow of ideas as the panelists responded to questions from the callers. Text and graphics accumulated throughout the show, culminating in the final frame.

During the hour and one half show, the meeting map was updated 89 times. We call this leisurely streaming text graphics, with a frame rate of approximately once every 60 seconds.

The visual representation was very useful for catching up if a viewer tuned in late, and also for keeping track of complex issues, allowing viewers to go back and double check what panelists had said earlier. This meant that the phoned in questions could be more relevant because the callers did not have to rely solely on their verbal memory of the panelists' positions.

It should be mentioned the video accompaniment of the show was the classic "talking heads" used in many audio+video teleconferences, which certainly enriched the communication and let the audience see "who" they were talking to when they called in      that is, what the panelists looked like. It should also be mentioned that the persistent high resolution text graphics of the meeting map added a whole other dimension to the panel discussion, in addition letting the audience see "what" the panelists were saying and had said during the course of the show.

And finally, the fact that the text graphic channel carrying the meeting map was successfully paired in real time with the audio+video channel carrying the TV show should help the reader to visualize the immediacy of live text graphics on the Web.

© 1997, 1999 PGC