Interface study of Zeroboard’s administrator panel

Achim Koh, Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies
Faculty Advisor: Maura Smale

Interface study of Zeroboard’s administrator panel

Zeroboard is internet forum software which was widely used in South Korea as a content management system. While the software was actively maintained from 1999 until 2009, its legacy on the country’s web and internet culture extends until now; many major online communities are still based on legacy Zeroboard (version 4) or XpressEngine, Zeroboard’s open-source successor.

This project is an interface study of Zeroboard; especially, this project closely examines the administrator panel as a control mechanism of websites. It positions the software’s functionalities as a shaping force of cultural artifacts—websites—and user behavior within the South Korean context. The force applies bidirectionally—in your personal website, you control; when you visit online communities, you are controlled. This project operates under a perspective that regards software as both environment and tool. Software both restricts and enables; it is through the negotiation of constraints and potentials that online behavior is shaped.

The project draws lines between the functionalities offered by Zeroboard admin page (group-member-board structure, sign-up preferences, member level system, category-based taxonomy, comments and the absence of replies, recommendation, etc) and traits of South Korean websites, both as artifacts and behavior. The goal is to put the software in a social historical context.

This interface study on Zeroboard is based on Korean Internet Tour Guide (, a research project that focuses on software that shaped the South Korean web, including ActiveX and Zeroboard. Korean Internet Tour Guide is a collaboration by E Roon Kang, Achim Koh and Wonyoung So.