The Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link (WELL) is one of the oldest and tightly knit online communities, serving approximately 10,000 users worldwide since its inception in 1985. Services offered on the Sausalito, CA-based WELL include email and discussion groups on a wide variety of topics, all of which are currently accessible by a command-line interface. vivid designed a graphical user interface to enhance the quality of the WELL’s online experience and increase the WELL’s appeal to a larger audience.

The diverse community of WELL users includes artists, educators, and business people, as well as those deeply entrenched in computer culture. vivid’s primary goal in this project was to maintain the unique feel of the community while broadening access to users who found the text-based interface difficult to use. vivid accomplished this by studying the behavior of users online and examining the information flow among those users. From this research, vivid was able to develop an intuitive graphical interface that will allow the WELL to expand its scope of services and manage increased traffic as the community grows larger.

The WELL’s new interface was discontinued and to this day is still text-based.




Henri Poole: Producer
Nathan Shedroff: Interaction, Information, and Visual Design, Production
Jeff Wishnie: Interaction and Information Design, Production, Technical Development
Eric Gould: Interaction Design
Corrine Okoda: Illustration and Visual Design