Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Visual MatchMaking Makes For Best Personal Intro

Visual MatchMaking Makes For Best Personal Intro
= breakthrough tool
Online Service
Available To Conference Organizers

A very interesting visual environment allowing for easy match-making and facilitating networking and partneship opportunities at major conferences is what is neatly hidden under the hood of this slick new Visual Matchmaking Networking Environment called intro.

Developed by Mixed Grill in collaboration with Macromedia and others, intro has already been used at several major conferences (including TED and the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference) to provide participants with a technology that gives them the best of the Web, data visualization and their own ability to express their preferences and personal traits in to meet other new people.



intro has been designed for conferences and for conference attendees. Its designers have taken extreme care and attention in cleaning up its look and its ease of use. As mentioned, intro allows conference participants to connect with other people with same interests, personality and skills.

The interface design is extremely well done and the overall impression is one of solid, well thought out tool.

Two weeks before the conference starts you, as a participant to the conference using this technology, receive an email that provides you immediate access to this service.

Once logged in, the user is invited to go through 5 simple steps in which he/she defines his/her interests, preferences, buzzwords to start off topics with others and personal traits, both in terms of personality (independent, open listener, etc.) as well as profesional interests (collaboration, networking, wireless, film, etc.)


Two interesting features make up Step. 2 "Create Conference Profile":

a) Talk to me about. Here the participant is invited in submitting buzzowrds that are relevant to topics that he would like to discuss when meeting other people. It is an open "spark plug" available for ingiting new conversations.


b) Describe Yourself. This is a set of interactive sliders allowing the participant to define interactively is traits by way of associating them with some general statements about the conference or about typical groups attending it.


Particularly effective are steps number 4 and 5 where the user is actually invited to drag and drop in a so-called visual sandbox the elements on the screen best describing his/her own personal and professional characterisitcs.

Once all this information has been provided to the system the "affinity engine" allows the user to navigate in a visual space in which he/she is represented by an orange cross in the center and like-minded people with lots of affinities are pictured as small icons at varying distances around him/her.

By hovering the mouse over the icons you can visualize the person name and also see their face. Each participant has an associated profile card with his/her information therein collected, and with a video message introducing oneself.

contact person.jpg

Various simple controls allow the user to change the few variables allowing him/her to see people having more affinities relative to each one of his/her key selected traits.

The visualization process makes identifying people that would be interesting to talk or network with a fun, enjoyable and easy to do task.

According to its developers intro was developed in less than eight weeks utilizing some of Macromedia best and newest technologies including:
Communication Server
Cold Fusion
Flash Remoting

The application integrates seamlessly a rich messanging service which can integrate both text and audio/video messages to be sent to any other participant.


intro, is certainly an effective pioneer in this arena and it marks a new path for other companies to follow. This is an immensely interesting area and the ability to ride first and intelligently effective models and ideas can mean a lot in maintaining a market leadership that today is as feeble as a water fountain in the desert.

At the pace things are moving it won't be long before intro and other applications will extend by orders of magnitude our abilities to synergize and identify in a matter of minutes partners, friends and new collaborators.

If one stops seriously to think about it this is indeed a fascinating and powerful realm into which the intelligent application of new media technologies is ushering us.

To view an online recorded demonstration or a short trailer of this technology please see:

Both require a speedy connection to view the streaming Flash files as the first is 12 MB and the second 4.9 MB.

More information at:

Check also out Mark Sylvester and what the crazy team at Mixed Grill work are able to realize when given the appropriate tools.

Readers' Comments    
2003-08-27 08:59:48


this looks great Robin.
How can we apply something like this, a little later to collaboration and exchange for artists..perhaps an online conference for collaboration?
I wonder what the limitations are of only naming a few keywords when, often the connection between people is surprising and often the best stuff comes from people you wouldn't have thought it would.
I know this is a pre-amble to live..but I'm interested in it as a tool for online collaboration.
What do you think?

posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, August 26 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.




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