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Contact Person

Judy Kay
Judy Kay -

Judy aims to create personalised computing that is embedded throughout the environment to support people in the broad range of activities that are important to their lives.

Project Description

Narcissus was designed to help turn groups into more effective teams. Working effectively in groups is hard, particularly for projects that span long periods of time; months or years. Groups can be derailed by a range of problems including poor leadership, poor communication, failure to monitor progress, and social loafing.

Groups using electronic support tools generate huge amounts of trace data, which has the potential to provide the group with insights into the effectiveness of their own operation. The Narcissus project exploits this data to support the groups. The approach is to use an interactive visualisation to mirror the activities of the group members, which gives them the opportunity to see the dynamics and progress of their group.

Narcissus has been implemented as a plugin for trac, a state-of-the-art tool for supporting groups. Narcissus has an additional side-benefit: it provides a new way to navigate a trac site, via a time- and person-centred view of the large number of wiki pages, files and versions and tasks.

What does the user see? The screen shot at the top right shows a Narcissus display for 5 people (anonymised). Each block of three lanes shows one person’s activity. Each square is for one day, with time starting at the bottom of the display. For each sqaure, the brighter the colour, the more activity for that person on that day. As indicated in the legend, purple is the wiki activity, blue is actions on the version control repository and green is for tickets which are used to define tasks to be done. Clicking on the square, provides details at the right. Clicking on links in these goes right to the actual contribution, making Narcissus a handy way to review a person’s work on a particular day. We have found it can really help the group facilitator identify potential problems in group operation before and to do this early enough to avert many problems.

User control and scrutability. In line with much CHAI work, Narcissus has been designed to ensure user control and it enables the user to determine just how it determines its activity model. The user can decide what level of activity is associated with each displayed activity level. Narcissus was designed as a way for people to reflect on their own activity. That means that in different situations, different people will want to make their own activity level settings.

Narcissus is available at the trac hacks site.
Source code is available at

Related Publications


Reimann, Peter; Kay, Judy

Learning to Learn and Work in Net-Based Teams: Supporting Emergent Collaboration with Visualization Tools Book Chapter

Jacobson, Michael J; Reimann, Peter (Ed.): pp. 143-188, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2010.



Upton, Kim; Kay, Judy

Narcissus: interactive activity mirror for small groups Inproceedings

UMAP09, User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalisation, pp. 54-65, 2009.



Bull, Susan; Kay, Judy

Metacognition and Open Learner Models Inproceedings

The 3rd Workshop on Meta-Cognition and Self-Regulated Learning in Educational Technologies, at ITS2008, pp. 7–20, Montreal, Canada, 0000.

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