screen shot

*Joint work with Andrew McGovern


Queuing, believe it or not, is a fascinating real life social activity, abundant in subtle social convention and cues. On the other hand, virtual queues, be they via telephone or online, are extremely frustrating places devoid of any information whatsoever. This project was an attempt to bridge this gulf between the physical and virtual, by implementing a visual online queuing system.

Enter an OnlineQueue now! (coming soon)


Virtual queues can occur anywhere online where there is a resource for which supply is outstripped by demand. The resource could be a help desk, web-cam, or some other service or attraction that forces users to wait orderly for their chance to monopolize it. There may be one instance of the resource or many. OnlineQueues alleviates frustration by visually providing the minimum data that should be available to anyone stuck in line. That is to say

  • queue length
  • number of fellow queuers
  • throughput/approximate wait time
  • the number of available resources (tech support staff, webcams etc).


OnlineQueues is more than a visualization. We wanted to experiment with the way in which the social customs of online activity would enhance, degrade and generally conflict with the long established norms and taboos of queuing. For example, given the opportunity in an online setting, would queuers start chatting to their fellow queuers? Would they like the ability to make certain information about themselves and their character instantly available to others? Would they be more or less inclined to punish queue jumpers, or even permit this activity in some instances?

To this end, OnlineQueues has an active mode, allowing all those who switch it on to be able to interact with each other via

  • chatting
  • interrupting conversations
  • filling in an online profile
  • attempting to jump line!

Take a look at the project poster.

Go back.