About Life Wall


The Life Wall came about in September 2011 as Austin Tate was exploring social web and community tools for introducing students to one another on the Edinburgh MSc in e-Learning. WallWisher was used to let people post media clippings to show their interests. But other forms of exchange were also useful. Google Maps was used to show where people were from across the globe.


Life Wall is an exploration of use of tags and clippings, links and annotations in a number of visual and layout styles to look at your life story, things you have done, people who have influenced you, etc.. Elements are included to encourage reflection and recall. Emphasis elements encourage reflection on the impact on your life of the things you include. The Life Wall encourages archiving of older and non-computer-based material.

Life Wall is designed to be placed on two main displays, designed for presentation on 2 X side-by-side HD displays (1920x1080), but should be viewable on other screens.

As with all forms of social media, ensure you only show what you wish and do not disclose information which could pose a security risk.

Alternative name: Life Story

Life Lines and Life Style

While the Life Wall was created at the start of work on the 2011/12 MSc in e-Learning at the University of Edinburgh, and prior to significant reading of educational related texts, there were a number of times when readings related to the Life Wall concept. Some are noted here.

Ulmer, Greg (2003) "Internet Innovation: from literacy to electracy", Longman, New York. Discussed a concept of "Mystory". Ulmer's mystory takes the form of a short series of web pages in which students make hypertextual compositions which represents a personal attempt to record the factors organising an individual's experience of the world through a form of self-portrait.

Life Lines and Life Style

The displays are designed to be flexible and customisable. A CSS style sheet ("Life Style" - life.css) is used to allow for simple changes of font, style and colours of headings, bullets, etc.

  1. One display panel can include a pin board for media clippings, images, videos, audio files, etc. WallWisher is one possible choice for this panel. Elements of this might include Wordle keyword displays. An embedded Map Display could also be very suggestive of places visited and events that have occured.
  2. A second display supports a tag cloud with tags meaningful to you, and with a relative weight in terms of style. A regular style is adopted for each "Life Tag":
    tag weight : url link : hover text : visible text
  3. A left column may show an image of you, and provided suggestive links, which you can customise or remove. Suggestions include:

Life Wall Panels

Some ideas for alternative forms of Life Wall panels or displays include:

Life x N

The Life Wall concept could also be used for a couple. Developing the wall with your partner could be a fun (or surprising) experience and let you recall joint memories. Extensions to an entire family "Life x N" are possible.

As people age and their memories get poorer, it can be very pleasant, and even therapeutic, to use visual and story aids to memory recall. The construction and discussion of a Life Wall with an older family member may be one useful aid and let people have some quality time together.

Life Wall Pro

The Life Wall idea and presentation could also be adapted to professional purposes, e.g. to collect together and present a researcher's entire scientific contribution. It could allow then to look at their work and relationships. They could bring in professional contacts and the mappings between people, projects, organisations, tools, etc.

Displays could include professional social network and project relationship diagrams (e.g. CMU Catalyst), FOAF, knowledge asset roadmaps (Macintosh, Filby and Tate, 1998), etc.


Ann Macintosh, Ian Filby and Austin Tate (1998) "Knowledge Asset Road Maps" Proc. of the 2nd Int. Conf. on Practical Aspects of Knowledge Management (PAKM98) Basel, Switzerland, 29-30 Oct. 1998, (U. Reimer, ed.). Available from http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/project/oplan/documents/1998/98-pakm98-roadmaps.pdf


Ania Rolinska - https://picasaweb.google.com/108517349384950370363
Submitted on 2011/09/20 at 5:59 pm

This is a great idea, Austin and I really like the neatness of your wall, its logic plus the use of the wallwisher, the google map, an interesting way of allowing others to peek into your life and get to know you. A good way to reacquainting with yourself too. as you mentioned, there are so many things that might have faded in our memory. and perhaps noticing new instances of causality or synchronicity in life? Will be certainly following the development of your wall.

I'm very much in favour of self-exploration and for some time I have been thinking of building an online identity box or even creating mystory, something along the lines of Ulmer's project. Inspired by your Life Wall I might finally get down to it!

Sian Bayne
Submitted on September 22, 2011 at 7:42am

...this is a terrific idea... On the theme of social media, privacy and identity, you might find Danah Boyd's work interesting. Take a look at her publications at: http://www.danah.org/papers/

The use of the term "Life Wall" refers to the two words separately. A "wall" (as used in the same sense as in other social networking sites) of information about your "life". It is anticipated that other web sites and products may use the same terms in other ways. For example, Panasonic displayed a "Life Wall" at Expo 2010 in Shanghai.