visualize your email conversations

Notice: the Themail user study is closed
You cam learn more about the results on this paper

What is Themail?
Themail is a visualization of the contents of a person's email archive. The application is designed to be used by the owner of the email archive and it addresses two main questions:

1) What kinds of things do I talk about with my various email contacts?
2) How does my email conversation with person A differs from my conversation with other people?

Themail screen shot.
Each column of words refers to emails exchanged in previous months with the selected person.  The more salient and unique a word is in your conversation with a specific person, the bigger that word appears in the visualization. Each circle represents an email message you have exchanged with the selected person.

Screen shot of the contents of a mailing list over time. Notice how the color of the bubbles in the background differ from the previous screen shot - here they are mostly gray, representing emails that were not sent directly to ego. 

Users can select any of the words in the visualization, causing the email messages that contain those words to be displayed. 

How does it Work?

consists of two separate applications:
1. Themail processor  (the backend application that generates the data that will be visualized)
2. Themail visualization

Themail processor reads your email archive and generates a series of text files containing all of the data that will be used by the visualization program. These files are located on your C drive: C:\themail. 

Every time you run the Themail visualization, it reads the data in the themail directory and generates a visual representation of that data. 

What data does Themail use?
When you run the Themail processor application, it asks you for your email mbox files (mbox is one of the formats in which email archives are kept). You may point the application to as many or as few archive files as you like and, in that way, you decide what data the application will process.

Are any data being transmitted outside my computer?

No. Both the Themail processor and the Themail visualization programs run locally on your machine. Neither one of these applications is connected to the Internet and neither one of them transmits data externally.


Contacting us:
 If you have any questions or concerns about the project or the study, feel free to contact us at: 
themail_study [at] media [.] media [.] mit [.] edu