Prompt: Research, visualize, and theorize interests into a project that can be addressed through design. Using research, theoretical frameworks, and design to address the research and sub-questions.
Submitted in partial fulfillment for the degree of Master of Graphic Design at North Carolina State University.

Transnational families are characterized by their geographical dispersion. These families become fragmented and scattered due to social, economic, and political reasons but often continue to keep close relationships across borders. Transnational families lack a concrete connection to their families and home. This study proposes a dynamic, digital family archive that provides a space for transnational families to share, annotate, experience, explore, connect, and promote representation through family histories. Rather than attempting to draw out the truth, this study exploits family narratives to create a sense of connection. This research combines family narrative characteristics and multimodal digital storytelling to inform the design of an interface that provides a space for individuals to feel connected through stories – giving transnationals a space to weave together seemingly disparate past events into a story about where they have been, where they are, and where they are going. The research proposes multiple options to suggest how such a system might function.

Research Question: 
How can a dynamic and multi-dimensional digital archive interface promote representational belonging amongst distant, transnational family members using multimodal inputs to visualize and experience a narrative?

  1. How can the design of a visualized story reflect the behavior of its narrative construction using experiential space and time?
  2. How can the design of a multimodal input interface promote the telling and re-telling of family stories? 
  3. How can the design of an additive space encourage individuals to build on existing stories in the digital archive using graphical and textual features? 
  4. How might temporal and implied spatial distance in an interface help individuals navigate and find stories in an archival landscape?

*the use of the parentheses in the title is to denote transnational families struggling to remain connected between two things – close but not close enough.