Tobias Kauer Information Visualization

Tobias Kauer is a PhD student at the Centre for Design Informatics (University of Edinburgh) and an associated researcher at the Urban Complexity Lab (FH Potsdam). His research focuses on participatory data visualizations and how to represent the discourse around the data within a visualization.

Tobias obtained his Master’s degree in Urban Futures from the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. After working as UX designer and team lead for a Berlin based design studio, he joined Nokia Bell Labs (Cambridge, UK) as a visualization researcher and practitioner. He worked on the visualization of urban beauty & vitality, street ethnography, conflict timelines and peace agreement data. His research explores the integration of qualitative and contextual data into visualization interfaces.

Projects Contributions

Publications Published Works

The Public Life of Data: Investigating Reactions to Visualizations on Reddit

— ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2021

This research investigates how people engage with data visualizations when commenting on the social platform Reddit. There has been considerable research on collaborative sensemaking with visualizations and the personal relation of people with data. Yet, little is known about how public audiences without specific expertise and shared incentives openly express their thoughts, feelings, and insights in response to data visualizations. Motivated by the extensive social exchange around visualizations in online communities, this research examines characteristics and motivations of people’s reactions to posts featuring visualizations. Following a Grounded Theory approach, we study 475 reactions from the /r/dataisbeautiful community, identify ten distinguishable reaction types, and consider their contribution to the discourse. A follow-up survey with 168 Reddit users clarified their intentions to react. Our results help understand the role of personal perspectives on data and inform future interfaces that integrate audience reactions into visualizations to foster a public discourse about data.


Participatory Deep Maps: Towards Discursive User Engagement With Data Visualizations

— CityVis: 2nd Workshop on Urban Data Visualization at IEEE VIS, 2019

This paper introduces the concept of deep participatory maps, an approach to democratizing the way local knowl- edge is collected, shared, and discussed using interactive data visualizations. While geovisualizations provide a useful frame of reference for mapping spatial data and local knowledge, generally, they remain artifacts of a uni- directional creation and communication process: from the data source to the audience. This process is curated by the cartographer, visualization designers, or any other author. Typically, this results in a singular perspective onto the underlying data and the represented issues. […]