2008. MIT Media Lab.
Despite the rise in new clients like Slack that combine outside services with new expressions like animated gifs, the fundamental tenants of instant messaging have changed little in the past 20 years. Conversations are linear, immutable, and susceptible to errors in turn-taking and referent resolution. Problems of incoherency occur with high frequency, yet no design has emerged that alleviates these problems in discourse sufficiently to achieve commercial adaption. Signs aimed to bring new ideas into the space.
Signs is an instant messaging design philosophy and implementation. We aim to reduce confusion while increasing expressive power. In Signs, the mutation of persistent discussion spaces facilitates repair of sequencing problems and functions as a proxy for new communication acts.