Publications Published works


Unravelling the Human Perspective and Considerations for Urban Data Visualization

— IEEE 14th Pacific Visualization Symposium (PacificVis), 2021

Effective use of data is an essential asset to modern cities. Visualization as a tool for analysis, exploration, and communication has become a driving force in the task of unravelling our complex urban fabrics. This paper outlines the findings from a series of three workshops from 2018-2020 bringing together experts in urban data visualization with the aim of exploring multidisciplinary perspectives from the human-centric lens. Based on the rich and detailed workshop discussions identifying challenges and opportunities for urban data visualization research, we outline major human-centric themes and considerations fundamental for CityVis design and introduce a framework for an urban visualization design space.


Kleiderwirklichkeit und Bildfindungen im 19. Jahrhundert. Ihre Nachnutzung und Transformation im musealen Kontext

— Hrsg. netzwerk mode textil, in: Jahrbuch nmt 2020, S. 7-17, 2021

Ausgehend von den beiden Illustrationen zur Bekleidung eines Oberösterreichischen Bauern und einer Bauersfrau aus der Bauernkriegszeit, deren materielle und visuelle Quellen des Grafikers Alois Greil hier rekonstruiert werden konnten, entwickelte sich ein Bildbeleg für die Beständigkeit einmal formulierter Bildideen ländlicher Trachten. Aufbauend darauf unterstützte diese Visualisierung von Wissenssystemen die ganz dem Geist der rezipierenden und erneuernden Praxis der Tracht verpflichtete Tätigkeit des Volkskundlers Franz C. Lipp und bildete die Basis eines vestimentären Weiterlebens in rekonstruierten Museumsfigurinen, Kostümen und Vereinskleidungen. Die ausgewählten Bilder verdeutlichen den kommunikativen Prozess, durch den sich Erinnerungskultur, Identität und Tradition formiert. Methodisch ergab sich eine Kombination aus bildanalytischen und empirischen Verfahren von kunsthistorischem und volkskundlichem Blickwinkel, wobei die Praxis Franz von Lipperheides und August von Heydens, stellvertretend für die Kostümforschung des 19. Jahrhunderts, und ihr Nachwirken herausgearbeitet werden konnte. Als Forschungsergebnis ergab sich der Fakt, dass hier wesentlich mehr zeittypische Wertschöpfung mitwirkt als postuliert wurde.


Relational perspectives as situated visualizations of art collections

— Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, 2021

With relational perspectives, we examine the potential of traversing cultural collections along the richness of individual facets and relations through the process of developing an exploration-centered visualization. Cultural collections can contain thousands of artifacts, of which each typically possesses a diverse set of properties and individual facets constituting a unique relationship to the rest of the collection. Therefore, to create an appropriate representation of the complex data of each underlying artifact, oftentimes, it is not only interesting to get an overview of the entire collection from one perspective, but to explore the specific context of an artifact and the various relations it may have to other items. To investigate the potential of relational perspectives, we selected an art collection as a particularly promising case study. By following and reporting from a collaborative and iterative design process with an art museum, we developed a web interface that contrasts a collection overview with three situated visualizations each exposing a different kind of relational perspective on the art collection from an artifact.


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.



Co-Designing Visualizations for Information Seeking and Knowledge Management

— Open Information Science‚ 4(1), pages 217-235, 2020
Creativity is a crucial factor in finding novel and useful visualization and interaction techniques, but its emergence is contingent on the right conditions. The focus of visualization research has traditionally been on techniques, and to a lesser degree on the process of creating them with domain experts and end users. This paper focuses on the collaborative design of visualizations for information seeking and knowledge management. The difficult, yet common challenge in any visualization project is to find meaningful visual representations and useful interaction techniques to carry out complex analysis tasks. The unique difficulty for preparing co-design activities for visualization lies in the gap between the abstract nature of data and the concrete form of visual representations. To bridge this gap, our co-design framework for visualization places particular emphasis on actors, activities, and artifacts as categories that expand the focus of visualization design beyond the traditional triad of users, tasks, and data. Drawing from general co-design principles, the framework is developed and validated during the course of two case studies in the context of information management systems and library collection databases. Based on observed patterns during the case studies, practical tactics provide advice on carrying out co-design in information visualization.

Iconicity as Simultaneous Plurality. Beyond the Restraints of Formal Knowledge Organization Systems

— In: E. Bisanz (ed.): Applied Interdisciplinary Peirce Studies, Peter Lang., 2020

In this paper the relevance of Charles Sanders Peirce’s work in the realm of digital knowledge organization (KO) as a contribution to the challenges of the knowledge or information society is demonstrated. In particular his groundbreaking ideas about the diagrammatic aspect of relational logic are crucial and present him as a pioneer of Strukturwissenschaft (Formal Sciences). Following an operational definition of iconicity it is argued that knowledge organization systems (KOS), which formally describe the properties of objects and their relations to each other, always have an iconic dimension that is even more obvious in digital environments. To point out this aspect the development from traditional KOS to digital formal languages is elaborated in order to introduce the area of appliance. The sophisticated metadata structure of the cultural heritage database Europeana as well as simple visualizations including the relations of artists serve as examples in this paper. The leading question is: How can this research facilitate the development of KOS going beyond existing formal constraints? With the logician Sun-Joo Shin it is argued that iconic ambiguity is in fact a simultaneous plurality and does not necessarily end up in contradiction. Referring to Peirce’s Existential Graphs (EGs) Shin proposed a productive differentiation between formal and graphical logic based on the parameters of accuracy and efficiency while Iconicity is enabling the possibility of multiple readings.


The Close-up Cloud: Visualizing Details of Image Collections in Dynamic Overviews

— 6.2-6.13, in: International Journal for Digital Art History; No 5, 2020

This paper introduces a visualization technique designed to uncover iconographic patterns prevalent within a collection while at the same time allowing close viewing of these particular details. Challenging an institutionalized understanding of overview and detail as inherently opposed, the intention of this research is to develop a visualization method that accounts for the iconographic abundance of a collection and encourages its casual exploration. Expanding digitization efforts have led to a growing number of rich cultural heritage datasets that are successively being published online. At the same time scholars are exploring the potential of computational methods to expand the scale and scope of art history. In this context, data visualization is often equated with a distanced perspective diminishing the intricate and intriguing details of individual artifacts. In collaboration with a museum of applied and decorative arts, we have devised a novel interface concept for the exploration of image collections such as historical glass plate negatives. Inspired by photographic plates on a light table, the resulting Close-up Cloud translates the art historical method of close viewing into the digital by combining it with a dynamic representation of quantitative iconographic patterns across an entire image collection.


Zwischen Distanz und Nähe. Formen der Betrachtung und Bewegung in (digitalen) Sammlungen

— in: A. Geipel, J. Sauter & G. Hohmann (Eds.): Das digitale Objekt – Zwischen Depot und Internet (Deutsches Museum Studies Vol.7, pp. 115-123. Munich (Germany): Deutsches Museum Verlag., 2020

Digitale Sammlungen besitzen den Anspruch, die Sammlung in ihrer Gesamtheit zu veröffentlichen; sie entstammen ursprünglich intern erstellten und genutzten Datensätzen aus einem abgeschlossenen Sammlungsfundus; sie zeigen die Objekte nicht im Ausstellungsraum, sondern als einzelne Digitalisate; und sie ermöglichen eine Vielfalt an Zugängen. Trotz der zunehmenden Komplexität und Reichhaltigkeit der musealen digitalen Angebote und der damit anwachsenden Datensätze ist der Zugang zu diesen Sammlungsinterfaces noch oft auf Such- oder Filtermöglichkeiten und eine Anzeige über KachelBildergalerien beschränkt. Ausgehend davon, dass jede Repräsentation von Daten immer nur eine eingeschränkte Annäherung an eine objektive Wirklichkeit darstellen kann, ist die besondere Beleuchtung von Datensätzen unter unterschiedlichen Aspekten erstrebenswert. Neben gezielter Fokussierung auf einzelne Datendimensionen, halten wir in Bezug auf digitale Sammlungen kultureller Artefakte speziell den Wechsel zwischen unterschiedlichen Stufen von Distanz und Nähe für besonders ergiebig. Distanz und Nähe haben in Bezug auf Sammlungsvisualisierungen jeweils gänzlich unterschiedliche Qualitäten, welche die wissenschaftliche Exploration und das kulturelle Erleben der Sammlung bereichern können und beschreiben nicht nur besondere Arten der Betrachtung kultureller Bestände, sondern ebenso verschiedene Modi der Bewegung durch die digitale Sammlung, zwischen den Objekten und entlang ihrer Arrangements. Zwischen Distanz und Nähe liegen somit nicht nur verschiedene Granularitäten, sondern ebenso eine Vielfalt an Ansichten, die jeweils besondere Formen der Analyse und Erkenntnisgewinnung anregen.


A Visual System for Grammar Instruction in Foreign Language Learning

— ECLL2020 Conference Proceedings, 2020

Complementary to verbal explanations, visual techniques are often implemented in grammar instruction to help learners process information. Highlighting using typograhic features can help distinguish the structure in focus from its context, aiding information seeking and drawing attention to important features. Additionally, visual encoding can associate graphical traits to grammar categories to support the identification and recognition of related structures and language patterns.
An analysis of current grammar books for German as a foreign language has shown, however, that a combination of multiple encoding techniques representing coexistent grammar categories can be challenging to make sense of. The absence of a global design strategy within a book generates inconsistent and sometimes conflicting grammar representations, which can lead to misunderstandings and create a hindered and fragmented learning experience.
In order to avoid such conflicts, this research presents design guidelines to combine both techniques efficiently and introduces a visual system developed for German as a foreign language. In addition to indicating a word’s class, similar to Montessori Grammar Symbols, this system uses text appearance and symbols to indicate further grammar features relevant for non-native speakers, such as grammatical gender, case declension, verb tense, etc. By maintaining a consistent visual character, such support fosters structure recognition and comparison as well as pattern identification throughout all grammar representations. Initially developed for the German language, this systematic approach of associating grammar categories with visual features could be adapted to create new systems for other languages.


The Fold: Rethinking Interactivity in Data Visualization

— DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly. 14:3, 2020

We propose the philosophical notion of the fold as an evocative vocabulary for the design and critique of interactive data visualizations. An expanding range of application areas, such as digital art history and literary studies, illustrates the potential of data visualization for research and education in the humanities. Coinciding with the increasing currency of data as evidence in the humanities, this research addresses a growing interest in data visualization for visual analysis and argumentation. For example, cultural collection visualizations promise a range of possibilities for visual and interactive representations of digital cultural heritage, used both for free exploration and focused research. Based on the concept of the fold, prominently advanced by Gilles Deleuze, this paper outlines a critical framework that draws attention towards the complexity of the underlying data. The fold offers a way to analyze and conceptualize visualizations through the lens of three integrated operations: explication, implication, and complication. It is an opportunity to think of interactive visualizations as portals into coherent, elastic, and ultimately infinite information spaces. Accordingly, it rejects the separation between interactivity and visual encoding and draws attention to the transitions between multiple states of a visualization. We identify design patterns of the fold in data visualizations, devise a framework for the critical interpretation of interactivity in data visualization, and demonstrate the implications for the digital humanities.


Reading Traces: Scalable Exploration in Elastic Visualizations of Cultural Heritage Data

— Computer Graphics Forum (Proc. EuroVis). 39(3), 2020

Through a design study, we develop an approach to data exploration that utilizes elastic visualizations designed to support varying degrees of detail and abstraction. Examining the notions of scalability and elasticity in interactive visualizations, we introduce a visualization of personal reading traces such as marginalia or markings inside the reference library of German realist author Theodor Fontane. To explore such a rich and extensive collection, meaningful visual forms of abstraction and detail are as important as the transitions between those states. Following a growing research interest in the role of fluid interactivity and animations between views, we are particularly interested in the potential of carefully designed transitions and consistent representations across scales. The resulting prototype addresses humanistic research questions about the interplay of distant and close reading with visualization research on continuous navigation along several granularity levels, using scrolling as one of the main interaction mechanisms. In addition to presenting the design process and resulting prototype, we present findings from a qualitative evaluation of the tool, which suggest that bridging between distant and close views can enhance exploration, but that transitions between views need to be crafted very carefully to facilitate comprehension.


Ikonizität als Erkenntnismittel – Vollständigkeit, Verständlichkeit und Kontextualisierung als Grundprinzipien der Visualisierung

— in: Konferenzband zur DHd 2020 Paderborn - Spielräume: Digital Humanities zwischen Modellierung und Interpretation, 2020

Das hohe Aufkommen und die vermehrte Relevanz digitaler Information haben den Bereich der Erschließung, Organisation und Vermittlung von Wissen nachhaltig verändert. Vilém Flusser wies bereits 1978 auf das „Ansteigen der Wichtigkeit von zweidimensionalen Codes“ (Flusser 1998: 22) in unserer Kultur hin, womit er die Kommunikation mittels Oberflächen im Gegensatz zu den linearen Medien der „eindimensionalen Codes“, wie das Alphabet meinte. Diese Oberflächen sind graphisch konstituiert und auch das Web selbst ist ein visuelles Medium auf struktureller Ebene. In diesem Sinne konstatiert auch Horst Bredekamp: „Die hochtechnisierter Gesellschaften durchleben eine Phase der kopernikanischen Wende von der Dominanz der Sprache zur Hegemonie des Bildes.“ (Bredekamp 2000: 102). Die Beschreibung und Analyse des Phänomens Bildlichkeit erfordert eine Bildtheorie, die sowohl in der Lage ist, traditionelle Bildformen als auch digitale Bilder zu adressieren und alle gesellschaftlichen Anwendungsbereiche, von künstlerischen über alltäglichen hin zu wissenschaftlichen Ausdrucksformen einzuschließen oder wie John Michael Krois es formuliert: „Eine Bildtheorie können wir dadurch testen, dass wir nachschauen, ob sie die sonderbarsten Eigenschaften von Bildern verständlich machen kann.“ (Krois 2011: 140)


Die Falte: Ein Denkraum für interaktive und kritische Datenvisualisierungen

— in: Konferenzband zur DHd 2020 Paderborn - Spielräume: Digital Humanities zwischen Modellierung und Interpretation, 2020

Wir schlagen den philosophischen Begriff der Falte als Denkraum für die Gestaltung und Interpretation interaktiver Datenvisualisierungen vor. Visualisierungen geisteswissenschaftlicher Sammlungen bieten spannende Möglichkeiten für interaktive Repräsentationen, welche die Sammlungen und ihre zugrundeliegenden Objekte zugänglich machen, sie aber ebenso kritisch beleuchten sollten. Dies führt nicht selten zu komplexen und teils widersprüchlichen Anforderungen an die entstehenden Visualisierungen. Das von Gilles Deleuze ausgearbeitete Konzept der Falte eröffnet einen Denkraum, der die Aufmerksamkeit nicht nur auf die Vielfalt visueller Repräsentation, sondern auch auf die vermeintliche Objektivität der zugrundeliegenden Daten lenkt. Darüber hinaus bietet die Falte eine Möglichkeit, Visualisierungen durch die Linse von drei integrierten Operationen zu analysieren und zu konzeptualisieren: Explikation, Implikation und Komplikation. Durch diese Linse betrachtet werden interaktive Visualisierungen zu Portalen, welche Zugang zu kohärenten, elastischen und letztlich unendlichen Informationsräumen anbieten können.



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. […]


Narrelations — Visualizing Narrative Levels and their Correlations with Temporal Phenomena

— DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly. 13:3, 2019

We present findings from interdisciplinary research at the intersection between literary studies, information visualization, and interface design. Despite a growing interest in text visualization among literary scholars, so far, narrative visualizations are not designed to support the particular tasks involved in narratological analysis and often fail to reveal nuanced narratological features. One major outcome of our iterative research and design process is Narrelations, a novel visualization technique specifically suited for analyzing and interpreting narrative levels of a story and temporal aspects of its narrative representation. The visualization provides an overview of the nesting and distribution of narrative levels, integrates the representation of temporal phenomena, and facilitates the examination of correlations between these aspects. With this research we explore how collaboratively designed visual encodings and interaction techniques may allow for an insightful analysis at a high level coupled with a close inspection of text passages. We discuss prior work relevant to our research objectives and explain the specific characteristics of narrative levels and temporal aspects of narrative representation. After describing the research process and design principles, we apply the visualization on a test corpus of eight annotated German short stories and demonstrate its heuristic value for literary analyses and interpretations. In particular, we explore the intricate connections between the literary content of the novellas and their narrative form.


Close-Up Cloud: Gaining A Sense Of Overview From Many Details

— In Book of Abstracts of the Digital Humanities conference (DH) 2019: Complexities. Utrecht (The Netherlands), 2019

After two decades of steady increases in image resolution through technical advances in image sensors, we are now also witnessing a significant growth in comprehensively tagged image collections. Concurrently cultural institutions have been digitizing their collections, while cultural scholars have been investing considerable efforts into the annotation of images to denote iconographic details and historical context. Despite these developments, existing interfaces to access image collections do not harness the possibilities provided by rich visual details of high-resolution images and detailed tags associated with them.

A particularly promising development, however, is the growing research interest in visualization to support the analysis and exploration of cultural heritage data [Windhager et al., 2018]. In this context, art historians are experimenting with digital methods, in particular visualization [Bailey and Pregill, 2014], to explore their potential for expanding the scale and scope of art history [Drucker, 2013; Manovich, 2015]. In these experiments, digital methods tend to be equated with a distanced perspective on the phenomenon [Moretti, 2013] with the result that many visualizations provide high-level overviews that diminish the intricate and intriguing details of individual artifacts [Hochman and Manovich, 2013; Hristova, 2016].

With this research we present an approach towards visualization that is challenging the understanding of overview and detail as something inherently opposed. We introduce a technique that clusters iconographic details of images in order to reveal visual patterns prevalent in a collection.


Scalable Exploration. Prototype Study For The Visualization Of An Author’s Library On The Example Of ‘Theodor Fontane’s Library’.

— In Book of Abstracts of the Digital Humanities conference (DH) 2019: Complexities. Utrecht (The Netherlands), 2019

This article presents a prototype for the explorable and scalable visualization of an author’s library and its reading traces. It aims to combine design-oriented approaches to the visualization of cultural collections with philological, archival and library research questions.

The visualization concept developed in the project places a special focus on continuous navigation within an author’s library that can be zoomed and filtered at several granularity levels and that allows the exploration of individual objects as well as their comparison. It focuses on the experience and comprehensibility of the collection as a whole and the reading and usage patterns reflected in it, as well as provides access to individual phenomena.


Relational Perspectives as Situated Visualizations of Art Collections

— In Book of Abstracts of the Digital Humanities conference (DH) 2019: Complexities. Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2019

With relational perspectives we explore the potential of a new type of approach for the exploration of cultural collections. Cultural collections can contain thousands of artifacts, of which each typically possesses a diverse set of properties constituting a unique relationship to the rest of the collection. Therefore, to create an appropriate representation of the complex data of each underlying artifact, oftentimes it is not only interesting to get an overview about the entire collection from one perspective, but to explore the particular context and relations of individual items. To investigate the potential of relational perspectives we selected an art collection as a particularly promising case study. By following a collaborative and iterative design process with an art museum, we developed a web interface that contrasts a collection overview with three perspective-dependent views to examine the viability of this approach and to expose the diversity of each artifact.


Skalierbare Exploration. Prototypenstudie zur Visualisierung einer Autorenbibliothek am Beispiel der ›Handbibliothek Theodor Fontanes‹

— in: Konferenzband zur DHd 2019 Frankfurt & Mainz - Digital Humanities: multimedial & multimodal, 2019

Der Beitrag stellt einen vom Theodor-Fontane-Archiv der Universität Potsdam in Kooperation mit der Fachhochschule Potsdam entwickelten Prototyp zur explorier- und skalierbaren Visualisierung einer Autor*innenbibliothek und der darin enthaltenen Lektürespuren vor. Ziel ist die Verbindung gestaltungsorientierter Ansätze zur Visualisierung kultureller Sammlungen mit philologisch-, archiv- und bibliothekswissenschaftlichen Forschungsfragen. Das im Projekt entwickelte Visualisierungskonzept legt einen besonderen Fokus auf die kontinuierliche, auf mehreren Granularitätsebenen zoom- und filterbare Navigation innerhalb einer Autorenbibliothek, die die Erkundung einzelner Objekte ebenso zulässt wie deren Vergleich. Die Erfahr- und Erfassbarkeit der Sammlung als Ganzes und der sich in ihr abbildenden Lektüre- und Benutzungsmuster stehen dabei ebenso im Zentrum wie Zugänge zu Einzelphänomenen.



Density of Knowledge Organization Systems

— In: Knowledge Organization for Digital Humanities, Proceedings of the 15th Conference on Knowledge Organization WissOrg’17 of the German Chapter of the International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO), 2018

In this paper the category of density is introduced as a parameter
for the measurement of the level of semantic contextualization
of Knowledge Organization Systems. Based on previous research
regarding the detailedness of description on a metadata level the
concept of network density and iconicity of a system as an indicator
for the accessibility and usability will be considered. Hence this
approach takes the iconic dimension of Knowledge Organization
Systems (KOS) in addition to their sentential foundation into account.
In particular the metadata structure of the cultural heritage
database Europeana and its diagrammatic dimension serves as an
example. The theoretical foundation of this research is provided
by Charles Sanders Peirce’s concepts of signs and his concept of


Zwischen Repräsentation und Rezeption – Visualisierung als Facette von Analyse und Argumentation in der Kunstgeschichte

— Computing Art Reader. Einführung in die digitale Kunstgeschichte., 2018

Digitale Technologien verändern nicht nur die Rezeptionsmöglichkeiten musealer Bestände im Kontext von digitalen Ausstellungen und Vermittlung, sie haben gleichzeitig zu einer methodischen Erweiterung geisteswissenschaftlicher Forschung beigetragen. Der vorliegende Beitrag untersucht in diesem Zusammenhang die Potenziale von Visualisierung für die kunstgeschichtliche Forschung, Lehre und Wissensvermittlung. Neben einer Begriffsklärung und Einführung in die Grundprinzipien computergestützter Visualisierungstechniken illustriert der Beitrag anhand von existierenden Beispielen aus der Praxis die erörterten Mechanismen und Anwendungsmöglichkeiten. Der Fokus liegt dabei auf den Potenzialen, die Informationsvisualisierung für die Repräsentation und Rezeption von kunsthistorischen Daten und Bildquellen bereithält. Hierbei wird der Einsatz von Visualisierung als Analysemethode innerhalb eines Forschungs- und Erkenntnisprozesses sowie als Mittel zur Präsentation von Ergebnissen und bildgestützter Argumentation beschrieben.


Mapping governance of adaptation to climate change in Switzerland

— in: Regional Studies Regional Science. 5:1, 2018

Climate change severely affects Alpine regions. Adaptation to climate change is needed in order to deal with these impacts, but the implementation of national adaptation strategies is inhibited by multiple obstacles. Regional strategic frameworks are just emerging, adaptation is of little priority to local agendas and policy mainstreaming is limited on all administrative levels. This paper provides a better understanding of the governance of adaptation to climate change in Switzerland, an example of a federal system with a strong focus on subnational levels and multilevel governance. We conceptualize governance as a network of policies, measures, actors and knowledge, and visualize their interactions using D3.js, a data-driven JavaScript library. The findings illustrate the typical division of labour in federal multilevel governance systems. The national level provides a strategic framework and funding and conducts coordinating measures at subnational levels, especially the local-level implementation of concrete measures. Conducting comparable mappings for other countries would allow interesting comparisons and insights into common barriers and opportunities to adaptation to climate change.


Shifted Maps: Revealing spatio-temporal topologies in movement data

— Proceedings of the IEEE VIS Arts Program, VISAP'18, 2018

We present a hybrid visualization technique that integrates maps into network visualizations to reveal and analyze diverse topologies in geospatial movement data. With the rise of GPS tracking in various contexts such as smartphones and vehicles there has been a drastic increase in geospatial data being collect for personal reflection and organizational optimization. The generated movement datasets contain both geographical and temporal information, from which rich relational information can be derived. Common map visualizations perform especially well in revealing basic spatial patterns, but pay less attention to more nuanced relational properties. In contrast, network visualizations represent the specific topological structure of a dataset through the visual connections of nodes and their positioning. So far there has been relatively little research on combining these two approaches. Shifted Maps aims to bring maps and network visualizations together as equals. The visualization of places shown as circular map extracts and movements between places shown as edges, can be analyzed in different network arrangements, which reveal spatial and temporal topologies of movement data. We implemented a web-based prototype and report on challenges and opportunities about a novel network layout of places gathered during a qualitative evaluation.


Off the Grid: Visualizing a Numismatic Collection as Dynamic Piles and Streams

  • Flavio Gortana
  • Franziska von Tenspolde
  • Daniela Guhlmann
  • Marian Dörk
— Open Library of Humanities: Remaking Collections, 2018

This research explores the merit of alternative arrangements of cultural artifacts to expose the aesthetic abundance of a cultural collection. The conventional display of museum objects in online interfaces tends to neglect the physical gestalt of the collection. For example, coins typically end up in tabular grids of thumbnail pages in online collections mimicking their rigid placement in storage drawers of a depot and glass cabinets in exhibitions. The overall aim behind this research was to devise visualizations that do justice to the material and semantic richness of an entire collection, while providing a casual mode of access that is inviting to people with no background in numismatics. To do this, we undertook an iterative design process, which involved a close collaboration with numismaticians and playful ideation with actual coins. Carefully negotiating expert knowledge and lay curiosity, the resulting visualization represents the collection’s dimensions using thousands of thumbnails as visual data points. The coins can be arranged into various layouts such as piles representing, for example, metal types, or streams visualizing the ebb and flow of coins over the centuries. In the interface, one can play with the coins in a manner that would be unthinkable in a physical exhibition and that has not been tried in a digital display. The article reports on the overall research and design process of this project, the resulting interface concept and prototype, and the feedback received during two evaluations.


Visualization of Cultural Heritage Collection Data: State of the Art and Future Challenges

— IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 2018

After decades of digitization, large cultural heritage collections have emerged on the web, which contain massive stocks of content from galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. This increase in digital cultural heritage data promises new modes of analysis and increased levels of access for academic scholars and casual users alike. Going beyond the standard representations of search-centric and grid-based interfaces, a multitude of approaches has recently started to enable visual access to cultural collections, and to explore them as complex and comprehensive information spaces by the means of interactive visualizations. In contrast to conventional web interfaces, we witness a widening spectrum of innovative visualization types specially designed for rich collections from the cultural heritage sector. This new class of information visualizations gives rise to a notable diversity of interaction and representation techniques while lending currency and urgency to a discussion about principles such as serendipity, generosity, and criticality in connection with visualization design. With this survey, we review information visualization approaches to digital cultural heritage collections and reflect on the state of the art in techniques and design choices. We contextualize our survey with humanist perspectives on the field and point out opportunities for future research.


Die bibliografischen Daten der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek entfalten

— Dialog mit Bibliotheken, 2018

Wie sieht die Zukunft der Recherche in digitalen Bibliothekskatalogen aus? Wie können umfangreiche und heterogene Sammlungsbestände mit Hilfe von Datenvisualisierungen besser zugänglich gemacht werden? Kann man durch eine digitale Bibliothek flanieren und dabei den Bestand auf ganz neue Art entdecken? Diese Fragen standen im Zentrum eines Forschungsprojekts, das ein interdisziplinäres Team von Forscherinnen und Forschern des Urban Complexity Lab der FHP im vergangenen Jahr in Kooperation mit der DNB durchgeführt hat. Dieser Artikel stellt das Hauptergebnis des Projekts vor: DNBVIS, der Prototyp eines experimentellen Kataloginterfaces. Anschließend werden die Vorgehensweise und wichtigsten Erkenntnisse des Projekts zusammengefasst.


Zur Weiterentwicklung des “cognition support”: Sammlungsvisualisierungen als Austragungsort kritisch- kulturwissenschaftlicher Forschung

— in: Konferenzband zur DHd 2018 Köln - Kritik der digitalen Vernunft, 2018

Interfaces und Methoden der Informationsvisualisierung  dienen insbesondere in Bezug auf abstrakte und komplexe Gegenstände der Unterstützung, Verstärkung und Augmentierung der menschlichen Kognition (Arias-Hernandez et al., 2012). Sammlungen des kulturellen Erbes (Galerien, Bibliotheken, Archive und Museen) sind Paradebeispiele für solche komplexen Gegenstände: sie organisieren und bereiten tausende Objekte auf und stellen diese gemeinsam mit assoziierten Informationen für Forschung und Öffentlichkeit bereit. Viele dieser Sammlungen sind mittlerweile digitalisiert im Netz zugänglich, womit lokale Sammlungs-Interfaces und große Aggregatoren zu Portalen von neuen Informationsräumen werden, in denen Kultur erlebbar und verhandelbar wird.

Ausgangspunkt unseres Vortrags ist eine aktuelle Studie zu Sammlungsinterfaces, die Methoden der Informationsvisualisierung nutzen um kognitive Operationen wie Exploration, Navigation und Analyse auf verschiedenen Ebenen einer Sammlung zu unterstützen. Im Vortrag werden wir einige der durch die Studie gewonnenen Erkenntnisse vertiefen und die Frage ins Zentrum stellen, wie Visualisierungsinterfaces auch jene kognitiven Operationen fördern können, die im kulturwissenschaftlichen Kontext als “kritische” tradiert werden. Analog zu existierenden Definitionen (vgl. Jaeggie & Wesche, 2009; Foucault, 1990; und Butler, 2001) verstehen wir Kritik als jene Form der Kognition, die einen Gegenstand – und das ihn konstituierende Forschungssystem – in seiner Umwelt kontextualisiert und einer Bewertung unterzieht. Dabei bündelt die Operation i) analytisches und exploratives Wissen über Struktur und Dynamik ihres Gegenstands, ii) eine Bewertung im Sinne einer differenzierten Vermessung von Aktualität und Potentialität des Gegenstands, iii) eine Offenlegung und Argumentierung der instrumentalisierten Maßstäben und Normen, sowie oftmals eine iv) Ableitung von Handlungsoptionen zur (Selbst)berichtigung und (Selbst)Steuerung des fokussierten und des fokussierenden Systems.

Mit direktem Bezug auf Fragestellungen des Calls entwickeln wir ein Analyseschema, um dieses Potenzial für Visualisierungssysteme zu kulturellen Sammlungen zu erkunden und diskutieren Designstrategien, um entsprechende Funktionen zu stärken.


Der Sammlung gerecht werden: Kritisch-generative Methoden zur Konzeption experimenteller Visualisierungen

— in: Konferenzband zur DHd 2018 Köln - Kritik der digitalen Vernunft, 2018

Das Versprechen hinter Digitalisierungsprojekten in sammelnden Institutionen ist oft die Erweiterung des Zugangs zum kulturellen Erbe, sei es für die Forschung oder im Sinne der Vermittlung. Bei kritischer Betrachtung fast aller Benutzerschnittstellen für Sammlungen scheint es aber an Ansätzen zu fehlen, reichhaltige Informationsräume einladend bereitzustellen. Diese Diskrepanz zwischen Digitalisierung von Sammlungen und ihrer digitalen Verfügbarmachung lässt sich dadurch begründen, dass Kultureinrichtungen selten über die nötige Kapazität verfügen, eigenständig Benutzerschnittstellen zu konzipieren und umzusetzen. Die Zielstellung des dreijährigen Forschungsprojektes Visualisierung kultureller Sammlungen (VIKUS) an der Fachhochschule Potsdam1 war die Erforschung graphischer Benutzerschnittstellen zur explorativen Sichtung von Kulturobjekten. Im Projekt wurden in Kooperation mit Kultur- und Technologiepartnern Erkenntnisse zur visuellen Exploration digitalisierter Sammlungen gewonnen (Glinka et al. 2017a), die Entwicklung nachhaltiger Technologielösungen behandelt (Glinka et al. 2017b) und in experimentellen Settings kritisch-generative Methoden erprobt. Zu letzterem zählt die Übertragung der Forschungsfragen in den Kontext eines interdisziplinären Lehrformats, welches wir in unserem Beitrag diskutieren. Wir gehen insbesondere auf den produktiven Zusammenhang zwischen Kritik und Konzeption von Informationsvisualisierungen ein und zeigen auf, welche Potenziale ein bewusster Bruch mit disziplinären Konventionen und Sehgewohnheiten mit sich bringt.



One view is not enough: High-level visualizations of a large cultural collection

— Information Design Journal. 23:1, 2017

As cultural institutions are digitizing their artifacts and interlinking their collections, new opportunities emerge to engage with cultural heritage. However, it is the often comprehensive and complex nature of collections that can make it difficult to grasp their distribution and extent across a variety of dimensions. After a brief introduction to the research area of collection visualizations, this paper presents a design study visualizing an aggregated collection from diverse cultural institutions in Germany. We detail our iterative design process leading to prototypical implementations of four stylistically and functionally coordinated visualizations, each one focusing on different facets of the collection.


Psychogeography in the Age of the Quantified Self—Mental Map Modelling with Georeferenced Personal Activity Data

— in: Michael P. Peterson (eds.). "Advances in Cartography and GIScience. Selections from the International Cartographic Conference" - Springer International Publishing, 2017

Personal and subjective perceptions of urban space have been a focus of various research projects in the area of cartography, geography, and related fields such as urban planning. This paper illustrates how personal georeferenced activity data can be used in algorithmic modelling of certain aspects of mental maps and custom- ised spatial visualisations. The technical implementation of the algorithm is accompanied by a preliminary study which evaluates the performance of the algorithm. As a linking element between per- sonal perception, interpretation, and depiction of space and the field of cartography and geography, we include perspectives from artistic practice and cultural theory. By developing novel visualisation concepts based on personal data, the paper in part mitigates the challenges presented by user modelling that is, amongst others, used in LBS applications.


Memory Dialogue – Exploring Artefact-Based Memory Sharing

— alt.CHI, 2017

With the proliferation of personal and social computing there is an increased interest in the field of human-computer interaction to support people’s memory practises. Yet, there is only a limited understanding of the role of artefacts in the social dynamics in memory. With memory dialogue, we introduce a methodology for exploring artefact-based memory sharing. Participants created physical or digital memory artefacts, exchanged them, and reflected on the process. Our qualitative findings show how this method can help uncover the complexity of shared memory. Participants largely chose bonding experiences and created artefacts as conversation starters about differences in their memories.


Tracing exploratory modes in digital collections of museum websites using reverse information architecture

— First Monday. 22:4, 2017

Museums are broadening their program beyond the physical institutions by providing digital collections online. In digital collections, objects are prepared and presented particularly for the Web and the ambition is to provide the entirety of a physical collection. To make these rich and comprehensive data sets accessible, an explore mode is increasingly offered. The present study considers this mode, first by making sense of the term “exploration” and suggesting four functional principles in support of exploration in digital collections — view, movement, contextualization, and participation. On this basis, we compare eight well-known museums with regard to the explore modes for their digital collections. We have devised a three-part methodology, reverse information architecture, to address the question: How is the function of exploration manifested in the structure and interface elements of digital collections? With this unique method we use the given content to investigate how far the four principles are implemented in explore modes of digital collections and, broadly said, how explorable they are. The introduced approach to studying digital collections could be opened up to other fields to analyze a variety of Web interfaces in general.


Past Visions and Reconciling Views: Visualizing Time, Texture and Themes in Cultural Collections

— DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly. 11:2, 2017

We present a case study on visualizing a collection of historic drawings along its metadata structure while also allowing for close examination of the artifacts’ texture. With regards to the specific character of cultural heritage at the intersection of research, education, and public interest, the presented visualization environment aims at meeting the requirements of both researchers as well as a broader public. We present the results from a collaborative interdisciplinary research project that involved a cultural heritage foundation, art historians, designers, and computer scientists. The case study examines the potential of visualization when applied to, and developed for, cultural heritage collections. It specifically explores how techniques aimed at visualizing the quantitative structure of a collection can be coupled with a more qualitative mode that allows for detailed examination of the artifacts and their contexts by displaying high-resolution views of digitized cultural objects with detailed art historical research findings. Making use of latest web technologies, the resulting visualization environment allows for dynamic filtering and zooming of a collection of visual resources that are arranged along a contextualized timeline. We share insights from our collaborative design process and the feedback and usage data gathered during the deployment of the resulting prototype as a web application. We end with a discussion of transferability of carefully crafted and collaboratively negotiated visualizations of cultural heritage and raise questions concerning the applicability of our approach to related strands of humanities research.


Von sammlungsspezifischen Visualisierungen zu nachnutzbaren Werkzeugen

— in: Konferenzband zur DHd 2017 Bern - Digitale Nachhaltigkeit, 2017

Die Entwicklung digitaler Werkzeuge lässt sich als wichtiger Teilbereich in den Digital Humanities identifizieren (Davis und Kräutli 2015; Schnapp et al. 2009). Entsprechende Forschung und Projektarbeit steht dabei komplexen Herausforderungen gegenüber. Nicht nur die Frage nach verfügbaren Daten, methodologischer Fundierung und technologischer Umsetzbarkeit, sondern auch die Frage nach deren langfristigen Verfügbarmachung sind wiederkehrende Themen der letzten Jahre. Eine zentrale Rolle für die Sicherstellung von Qualität und Anwendbarkeit der digitalen Werkzeuge ist die Einbindung von Forscher_innen der jeweiligen geisteswissenschaftlichen Disziplinen im Entwicklungsprozess (Drucker 2013). Gleichzeitig lässt sich die zentrale Bedeutung von Interfacedesign, Nutzungsanleitungen und Benutzerfreundlichkeit als wichtige Faktoren für die Etablierung von digitalen Werkzeugen im Forschungsprozess feststellen (Gibbs und Owens 2012). Doch selbst wenn diese Herausforderungen bewältigt werden und ein digitales Werkzeug (erfolgreich) entwickelt wurde, stellt sich weiterhin die Frage, wie die langfristige Nachnutzung im Sinne einer digitalen Nachhaltigkeit sichergestellt werden kann. Am Beispiel des Entstehungsprozesses einer sammlungsspezifischen Visualisierung und deren Weiterentwicklung zu einem nachnutzbaren Werkzeug werden einige zentrale Aspekte der beeinflussenden Faktoren und Lösungsansätze vorgestellt. Unser Beitrag stellt sich somit der Frage, wie sichergestellt werden kann, dass digitale Tools auch über die Laufzeit von Förderprojekten hinaus (und unabhängig von spezifischen Use-cases) dauerhaft nutzbar und weiterentwickelbar sind.



Museale Bestände im Web: Eine Untersuchung von acht digitalen Sammlungen

— in: Konferenzband zur 23. Berliner Veranstaltung der internationalen EVA-Serie: Electronic Media and Visual Arts, 2016

Museen erweitern ihr Vermittlungsangebot immer mehr über die physische Einrichtung hinaus, u.a. durch die Bereitstellung Digitaler Sammlungen im Web. Digitale Sammlungen zeichnen sich dadurch aus, dass die in ihnen gezeigten Objekte speziell für das Web aufbereitet und präsentiert werden. Der Anspruch besteht dabei darin, die Gesamtheit der musealen Sammlungen zur Verfügung zu stellen. Um diese umfassenden Datensätze zugänglich und ein Schlendern durch die Bestände zu ermöglichen, wird innerhalb der Digitalen Sammlungen zunehmend ein sogenannter Explore-Modus angeboten. Auf der Basis einer Untersuchung des Begriffes der Exploration wurden im Rahmen dieser Arbeit acht bekannte Museen im Hinblick auf die Explore-Modi ihrer Digitalen Sammlungen miteinander verglichen und analysiert. Es wurde eine dreiteilige Methode mit dem Namen Reverse Information Architecture entwickelt, um die folgende Frage zu beantworten: Wie manifestiert sich die Funktion der Exploration in der Struktur und den Interface-Elementen der Digitalen Sammlungen? Mit der entwickelten Methode wird der Inhalt der Websites analysiert, um zu untersuchen, inwiefern Konzepte der Exploration in den Digitalen Sammlungen umgesetzt werden.


Visualizing the spatiality in fictional narratives

— VIS4DH: 1st Workshop on Visualization for the Digital Humanities at IEEE VIS, 2016

This work is part of ongoing research on the visualization of spatial relationships in fictional works. Our aim is to arrive at aesthetic representations of fictional narratives set in actual places such as cities. Novel City Maps offers two map views, one inspired by transit maps and the other by conventional street maps. The former uses the aesthetic of abstract transit maps to reveal the co-occurrence structures between important places in a story. The street map view is designed as a spatial fingerprint of a novel by highlighting the places occurring often in the story.


Staged Analysis: From Evocative to Comparative Visualizations of Urban Mobility

— Proceedings of the IEEE VIS Arts Program, VISAP'16, 2016

In this paper we examine the concept of staged analysis through a case study on visualizing urban mobility exhibited in a public gallery space. Recently, many cities introduced bike-sharing in order to promote cycling among locals and visitors. We explore how citizens can be guided from evocative impressions of bicycling flows to comparative analysis of three bike-sharing systems. The main aim for visualizations in exhibition contexts is to encourage a shift from temporary interest to deeper insight into a complex phenomenon. To pursue this ambition we introduce cf. city flows, a comparative visualization environment of urban bike mobility designed to help citizens casually analyze three bike-sharing systems in the context of a public exhibition space. Multiple large screens show the space of flows in bike-sharing for three selected world cities: Berlin, London, and New York. Bike journeys are represented in three geospatial visualizations designed to be progressively more analytical, from animated trails to small-multiple glyphs. In this paper, we describe our design concept and process, the exhibition setup, and discuss some of the insights visitors gained while interacting with the visualizations.


Linking structure, texture and context in a visualization of historical drawings by Frederick William IV (1795-1861)

— in: International Journal for Digital Art History; No 2, 2016

In this article we present a case study on digital representation of the art historical research and metadata brought together for a scientific collection catalogue by the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg. The resulting interface aims at linking the structure and texture of a collection of drawings by Frederick William IV of Prussia (1795–1861) with additional contextual information. The article describes the context of the larger research project and presents the resulting visualization and interaction techniques specifically designed for dynamic exploration along time and subjects.


Rewiring science-policy with visual information design

  • Owen Gaffney
  • Marian Dörk
  • Jason Dykes
  • Greg McInerny
  • Denise Young
— Future Earth Media Lab, 2016

Shanghai Metro Flow

— Leonardo, 2016

One of the main characteristics of cities is the large amount of people moving around. These flows are reflected in all the subways dashing through the city. With our work we strive to give an impression of this pulse of the city. We present Shanghai Metro Flow, consisting of an animated visualization composed of three scenes, each giving another perspective into the metro network, and an accompanying poster showing subway line details. Each visualization combines established techniques with a highly aesthetic form in order to attract people to observe and dwell on different aspects of urban mobility.



— Leonardo, 2016

Culturegraphy visualizes the exchange of cultural information over time. Treating cultural works as nodes and influences as directed edges the visualization of these cultural networks can provide new insights into the rich interconnections of cultural development such as movie references. All findings were made in a process that involved network scientists, a media theorist, and a sociologist. The role that visualization can play in bridging scientific communities was central to this work. In this sense, the resulting visualizations were process to bring researchers from different disciplines together. Traditionally using different methods, physicists increasingly ask similar questions as media theorists or sociologists as they study the dynamics in networks. Visualization can serve as a common language that brings fields together, shows differences, but also has its own idiosyncratic views.


Emosaic: Visualisierung von Emotionen in Texten durch Farbumwandlung zur Analyse und Exploration

  • Martin von Lupin
  • Philipp Geuder
  • Marie-Claire Leidinger
  • Tobias Schröder
  • Marian Dörk
— in: Konferenzband zur DHd 2016 Leipzig – Modellierung - Vernetzung – Visualisierung, 2016

Das computergestützte Extrahieren und Visualisieren von Emotionen in Texten ist eine etablierte Technik des “Distant Reading”. Die generelle Stimmung eines Textes kann schnell erfasst werden ohne den gesamten Text lesen zu müssen. Da Emotionen sehr komplex und die Eigenschaften zwischen verschiedenen Emotionen fließend sind, ist die visuelle Charakterisierung von Emotionen schwierig. Wir stellen Emosaic vor, ein Online-Tool welches Emotionen aus benutzerdefinierten Texten filtert und durch systematische und nachvollziehbare Farbumwandlung zur Exploration und Analyse innerhalb einer interaktiven Visualisierung bereitstellt. Die durch drei Dimensionen beschreibbaren Emotionen werden dabei in klar definierte Farbparameter übersetzt. Ein von uns entwickelter öffentlich zugänglicher Web-Prototyp zeigt anhand interaktiver Visualisierungen erste Analyse- und Explorationsmöglichkeiten dieser Methode (



Archival Liveness: Designing with Collections Before and During Cataloguing and Digitization

  • Tom Schofield
  • David Kirk
  • Telmo Amaral
  • Marian Dörk
  • Mitchell Whitelaw
  • Guy Schofield
  • Thomas Ploetz
— DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly. 9:3, 2015

We present “archival liveness” as a concept in design and the Digital Humanities and describe its development within a Research Through Design process. Working with a newly acquired archive of contemporary poetry we produced designs that both manifested and “geared in to” [Durrant 2011] [Gurwitsch 1979] the temporal rhythms of the work and infrastructure of archiving. Drawing on user-centred work with participants, often poets themselves, we focused on marginalia as a material feature of the archive, developing a drawing machine and live Twitter bot. Our work addresses institutional concerns for outreach and engagement while also acknowledging and exploiting the inevitably incomplete or live character of archival collections. For designers working with digital archives, we demonstrate the pragmatic and critical value of liveness as a focus of the design process.


Making three Cases for Casual Geovisualizations on Interactive Surfaces

— DEXIS Workshop on Data Exploration for Interactive Surfaces at ACM ITS, 2015

In this paper, we present three case studies on visualizing spatiotemporal data on interactive tabletops and surfaces for casual use. While there is a growing interest among citizens to make sense of their social community and urban environment, most existing geovisualization tools have been designed for experts such as planners and analysts. We introduce situation-specific visualization systems that were particularly designed for public exhibitions to balance powerful data exploration methods with inviting accessibility for laypeople. Finally, we discuss some of the lessons learned regarding people’s interest, interaction conventions, and information aesthetics.


Museum im Display. Visualisierung kultureller Sammlungen (VIKUS)

— in: Konferenzband zur 22. Berliner Veranstaltung der internationalen EVA-Serie: Electronic Media and Visual Arts, 2015

Im Rückgriff auf Ausstellungspraktiken im Museum stellt der Artikel Bezüge zwischen Erkenntnissen aus der Visualisierungsforschung und der Rezeption von Museumssammlungen in einem Ausstellungsdisplay her. Besondere Beachtung finden hierbei Makro- und Mikroperspektiven auf Sammlungen und Darstellungen im (digitalen) Display eines Museums. Visualisierungen können einen offenen und explorativen Zugang zu den digitalisierten Beständen bieten, der eher den Ausstellungs- und Vermittlungsaktivitäten des Museums entspricht oder diese ergänzt. Dabei werden die Potenziale der digitalen Präsentation herausgearbeitet und Anhand von Use Cases aus der Forschung illustriert, welche Ansätze in der facettierten und „kuratierten“ Inszenierung von Sammlungen umgesetzt werden können.


Probing Projections: Interaction Techniques for Interpreting Arrangements and Errors of Dimensionality Reductions

— InfoVis, 2015

We introduce a set of integrated interaction techniques to interpret and interrogate dimensionality-reduced data. Projection techniques generally aim to make a high-dimensional information space visible in form of a planar layout. However, the meaning of the resulting data projections can be hard to grasp. It is seldom clear why elements are placed far apart or close together and the inevitable approximation errors of any projection technique are not exposed to the viewer. Previous research on dimensionality reduction focuses on the efficient generation of data projections, interactive customisation of the model, and comparison of different projection techniques. There has been only little research on how the visualization resulting from data projection is interacted with. We propose a set of interactive visualization methods to examine the dimensionality-reduced data as well as the projection itself. The methods let viewers see approximation errors, question the positioning of elements, compare them to each other, and visualize the influence of data dimensions on the projection space. We created a web-based system implementing these methods, and report on findings from an evaluation with data analysts using the prototype to examine multidimensional datasets.


Micro Visualizations: Data-driven typography and graphical text enhancement

— InfoVis Poster, 2015

At the intersection of information visualization and typography lies the design space of micro visualization, a family of basic techniques enriching text in regard of its accessibility, comprehensibility, and memorability. We propose a taxonomy that differentiates specific types of visualizations applied to text design and layout. We elaborate two main approaches to aligning the visual appearance of a text and its content. The first explores the addition of graphical elements embedded into or adjacent to a text, while the other approach explores the visual modification of a text by means of typographic visualization. For this we evaluate how different techniques can be used as visual variables.


Are there networks in maps? An experimental visualization of personal movement data

— Poster at VIS, 2015

Shifted Maps proposes a novel visualization method to generate personal geovisualizations of individual movement data. The resulting visual appearance can be characterized as a map network consisting of visited places and their connections. The visited places are shown as circular map extracts scaled according to the time spent there and the movements between the places are represented as edges between the places. A key feature of the Shifted Maps visualization is the possibility to explore the data in three different arrangements based on geo-spatial position, travel time, and frequency of movements. By combining map and network visualizations of movement data, it becomes possible to analyze and compare spatial and temporal topologies.


Visualising the »Un-seen«: Towards Critical Approaches and Strategies of Inclusion in Digital Cultural Heritage Interfaces

— in: KuI (Kultur und Informatik) Cross Media. Busch et al. (Hrsg.) Berlin, 2015

In recent years, access to cultural heritage has been closely connected to digitisation. We argue the case for recognising this digital shift as an opportunity to create interfaces to cultural heritage that are, first of all, more inviting to the public. Secondly, we want to encourage critical approaches towards the representation of cultural production and allow for alternative or even conflicting narratives and interpretations to surface. We present related work, use cases, and concepts for visualisations and interfaces that invite the reconsideration of modes of categorisation, presentation and clustering. Our intent is to develop ways to scrutinise modes of exclusion, carry out critical evaluations and pursue interventional strategies. We discuss the specific potential of visualisation, annotation and dynamic expansion of digital cultural collections. Building on critical approaches in human-computer interaction, visualisation and cultural theories, we explore how the interface could be a means of reflection, critique and inclusion.


WordWanderer: A Navigational Approach to Text Visualisation

— Corpora 10(1),April, 2015

Text visualisations provide visual representations of documents or small corpora with the primary aim of supporting language analysis. We are interested in developing a more playful approach to language that can be characterised by the notion of wandering as an open-ended movement. To support such a casual form of engagement with text, we designed the WordWanderer system: a visualisation technique that extends tag clouds into a navigational interface for text. The tool supports the gradual movement between word ‘context views’, which represent the words that co-occur in the vicinity of the selected word, and word-‘comparison views’, which arrange words based on their association strengths between two selected words. We report on the encouraging feedback from a ten-day deployment of the interface and present promising directions for future design and research.



Traffic Origins: A Simple Visualization Technique to Support Traffic Incident Analysis

— PacificVis, 2014

Traffic incidents such as road accidents and vehicle breakdowns are a major source of travel uncertainty and delay, but the mechanism by which they cause heavy traffic is not fully understood. Traffic management controllers are tasked with routing repair and clean up crews to clear the incident and often have to do so under time pressure and with imperfect information. To aid their decision making and help them understand how past incidents affected traffic, we propose Traffic Origins, a simple method to visualize the impact road incidents have on congestion. Just before a traffic incident occurs, we mark the incident location with an expanding circle to uncover the underlying traffic flow map and when it ends, the circle recedes. This not only directs attention to upcoming events, but also allows us to observe the impact traffic incidents have on vehicle flow in the immediate vicinity and the cascading effect multiple incidents can have on a road network. We illustrate this technique using road incident and traffic flow data from Singapore.


Visual Filter: Graphical Exploration of Network Security Log Files

— VizSec, 2014

Network log files often need to be investigated manually for suspicious activity. The huge amount of log lines complicates maintaining an overview, navigation and quick pattern identification. We propose a system that uses an interactive visualization, a visual filter, representing the whole log in an overview, allowing to navigate and make context-preserving subselections with the visualization and in this way reducing the time and effort for security experts needed to identify patterns in the log file. This explorative interactive visualization is combined with focused querying to search for known suspicious terms that are then highlighted in the visualization and the log file itself.


Weaving a Carpet from Log Entries: a Network Security Visualization Built with Co-Creation

— VAST, 2014

We created a pixel map for multi-variate data based on an analysis of the needs of network security engineers. Parameters of a log record are shown as pixels and these pixels get stacked to represent a record. This allows a broad view of a data set on one screen while staying very close to the raw data and to expose common and rare patterns of user behavior through the visualization itself (the “Carpet”). Visualizations that immediately point to areas of suspicious activity without requiring extensive fltering, help network engineers investigating unknown computer security incidents. Most of them, however, have limited knowledge of advanced visualization techniques, while many designers and data scientists are unfamiliar with computer security topics. To bridge this gap, we developed visualizations together with engineers, following a co-creative process. We will show how we explored the scope of the engineers’ tasks and how we jointly developed ideas and designs. Our expert evaluation indicates that this visualization helps to scan large parts of log fles quickly and to defne areas of interest for closer inspection.


Isoscope — Visualizing temporal mobility variance with isochrone maps

  • Flavio Gortana
  • Sebastian Kaim
  • Martin von Lupin
  • Till Nagel
— VIS, 2014

Isochrone maps are an established method to depict areas of equal travel time, and have been used in transportation planning since the early 20th century. In recent years, interactive isochrone maps allowed users to select areas of interest, or explore temporal mobility patterns for different modes of transport. However, conventional isochrone maps depict one traffic situation at a time. Our visualization approach unifies isochrone maps with time-varying travel data, and instead of showing multiple isolines for different travel times, we show multiple isolines for different times of day in order to reveal time-dependent spatial travel variance. In this paper, we present Isoscope, a web application that provides an interactive map for casual exploration of urban mobility patterns. Through its aesthetic visual form and its simple interface we strive to support people casually investigating travel time in their own city. We will describe our design goals, elaborate on the design and implementation of our prototype, and discuss limitations and future extensions of the system.


Culturegraphy — Visualizing Cultural Network Dynamics

— AHCN, 2014

Culturegraphy visualizes cultural information exchange over time. Treating cultural works as nodes and influences as directed edges, the visualization of these cultural networks can provide new insights into the rich interconnections of cultural development. The graphics represent complex relationships of movie references by combining macro views summarizing 100 years of movie influences with micro views providing a close-up look at the embedding of individual movies. The macro view shows the rise of the self-referential character of postmodern cinema, while the micro level illustrates differences between individual movies, when they were referenced and by whom. The visualizations provide views that are closer to the real complexity of the relationships than aggregated views or rankings could do.


Touching Transport – A Case Study on Visualizing Metropolitan Public Transit on Interactive Tabletops

  • Till Nagel
  • Martina Maitan
  • Erik Duval
  • Andrew Vande Moere
  • Joris Klerkx
  • Kristian Kloeckl
  • Carlo Ratti
— AVI, 2014

Due to recent technical developments, urban systems generate large and complex data sets. While visualizations have been used to make these accessible, often they are tailored to one specific group of users, typically the public or expert users. We present Touching Transport, an application that allows a diverse group of users to visually explore public transit data on a multi-touch tabletop. It provides multiple perspectives of the data and consists of three visualization modes conveying tempo-spatial patterns as map, time-series, and arc view. We exhibited our system publicly, and evaluated it in a lab study with three distinct user groups: citizens with knowledge of the local environment, experts in the domain of public transport, and non-experts with neither local nor domain knowledge. Our observations and evaluation results show we achieved our goals of both attracting visitors to explore the data while enabling gathering insights for both citizens and experts. We discuss the design considerations in developing our system, and describe our lessons learned in designing engaging tabletop visualizations.


Monadic Exploration: Seeing the Whole Through Its Parts

— CHI, 2014

Monadic exploration is a new approach to interacting with relational information spaces that challenges the distinction between the whole and its parts. Building on the work of sociologists Gabriel Tarde and Bruno Latour we turn to the concept of the monad as a useful lens on online communities and collections that expands the possibility for creating meaning in their navigation. While existing interfaces tend to emphasize either the structure of the whole or details of a part, monadic exploration brings these opposing perspectives closer together in continuous movements between partially overlapping points of view. We present a visualization that reflects a given node’s relative position within a network using radial displacements and visual folding. To investigate the potential of monadic exploration we report on an iterative design process of a web-based visualization of a highly cross-referenced book and its six-month deployment.


Exploring the Promises and Potentials of Visual Archive Interfaces

— iConference, 2014

A photo archive contains diverse narratives that only get partially exposed in digital interfaces. In this paper we explore a potential framework for archivists and designers to create photo archive interfaces that are sensitive to the ethos and social context of its content. We outline our approach to engaging with archival projects and present the results of a pilot workshop, which raised a range of complex questions about the design of visual interfaces. Our aim is to practically and conceptually expand how a visual interface would let a visitor access, explore, and interpret the contents of an archive. To do this we are interested in the different associations that people weave between the artefacts of an archive.


Visually Exploring Books Along Their Subject Headings

— iConference, 2014

We present a visualization of subject headings that typically accompany books as flat textual metadata. The purpose of the visualization is twofold: first to expose the implicit structure in subject headings as an overview of a library collection and second to present a visual web of keywords to invite exploration of books. Taking a tag cloud as a starting point, the visualization extends it to a networked tag cloud that respects the hierarchy that is implicit in subject headings. By allowing an information seeker to successively build a subject filter, while seeing the results at each step, we hope to improve the searcher’s orientation in a comprehensive book collection.



Blended Prototyping Design for Mobile Applications

— Design Modelling Symposium, 2013

Our work investigates concepts and methods for the design, creation, and application of prototypes for mobile software. It analyzes and compares existing prototyping approaches and develops a new prototyping paradigm called Blended Prototyping.

The general function of a prototype is to generate insights into an idea, which is not fully realized yet. These insights identify mistakes at an early state, and therefore help to avoid expensive misguided developments. A prototype’s value depends on its ability to communicate the exact questions, relevant at the given development stage. Existing prototyping approaches have problems to facilitate collaborative design discussions in bigger teams. Moreover, prototypes generated by these approaches can often just be implemented with such limited functionality, that they can solely be used in early development stages.

Blended Prototyping addresses these issues in using pen paper sketches as a central design element for the prototyping process. It promotes creative work in an interdisciplinary collaborative design and development process. To be applicable in the earliest design phases already, blended prototypes can be created as quickly and easily as possible; they allow however enough complexity to be relevant for the development for as many prototype iterations as needed.

This text describes the Blended Prototyping approach and its implementation in a first running version. It displays important design and interaction processes used in the platform and discusses the results generated by a first practice study with an external development team.

Rethinking Prototyping: Proceedings of the Design Modelling Symposium Berlin


Interaktive Karten und Geovisualisierungen

  • Frank Heidmann
— Interaktive Infografiken, 2013

Karten dienen seit Jahrtausenden als Repräsentationen räumlichen Wissens. Aufgrund ihrer herausragenden Fähigkeit zur Visualisierung von Geoinformationen gehörten sie allzeit zu den begehrtesten Artefakten der jeweils Herrschenden. Neben der Visualisierung von Geoinformationen dienten sie zur Kommunikation politischer und oftmals ideologischer Standpunkte im Zusammenhang mit dem Raumbezug (Crampton 2010; Meng 2009; Monmonier 1996).


A Visual Survey of Arc Diagrams

— VIS, 2013

Surveys are a common way of providing an overview over a family of visualization techniques. In this poster we focused on arc diagrams, which are an established method to visualize relations between nodes in a simple path graph, and are laid out in one dimension. We collected a wide range of examples of arc diagrams with different characteristics. Following Jurgensmann and Schulz’s poster on tree visualizations we present our collection as a visual survey. As a result, our poster acts as visual reference and as inspirational source.


Unfolding — A Library for Interactive Maps

  • Till Nagel
  • Joris Klerkx
  • Andrew Vande Moere
  • Erik Duval
— SouthCHI, 2013

Visualizing data with geo-spatial properties has become more important and prevalent due to the wide spread dissemination of devices, sensors, databases, and services with references to the physical world. Yet, with existing tools it is often difficult to create interactive geovisualizations tailored for a particular domain or a specific dataset. We present Unfolding, a library for interactive maps and data visualization. Unfolding provides an API for designers to quickly create and customize geo-visualizations. In this paper, we describe the design criteria, the development process, and the functionalities of Unfolding. We demonstrate its versatility in use through a collection of examples. Results from a user survey suggests programmers find the library easy to learn and to use.


Indexicality and Visualization: Exploring Analogies with Art, Cinema and Photography

— C&C, 2013

In this paper we offer a critical discussion of data visualization by adapting theories of indexicality as discussed in semiotics and art history. An indexical statement is broadly one whose meaning is dependent on context. We examine how indexicality has informed practices in cinema, photography, and contemporary art and make comparisons with data visualization. Specifically, we explore how these analogies can result in generative concepts that can inform the design and study of data visualization.


Critical InfoVis: Exploring the Politics of Visualization

  • Marian Dörk
  • Christopher Collins
  • Patrick Feng
  • Sheelagh Carpendale
— CHI, 2013

As information visualization is increasingly used to raise awareness about social issues, difficult questions arise about the power of visualization. So far the research community has not given sufficient thought to how values and assumptions pervade information visualization. Taking engaging visualizations as a starting point, we outline a critical approach that promotes disclosure, plurality, contingency, and empowerment. Based on this approach, we pose some challenges and opportunities for visualization researchers and practitioners.


Accentuating Visualization Parameters to Guide Exploration

— CHI, 2013

We present a new method for displaying visualization parameters to guide casual data exploration. When visualizing datasets with large parameter spaces it can be difficult to move between data views. Building on social navigation and degree-of-interest visualization, we propose the concept of accentuation as the selection and emphasis of visualization parameters based on social and semantic signals. We describe how we designed an accentuated visualization interface, and discuss open challenges and directions for future research.


Unfolding — A Simple Library for Interactive Maps and Geovisualizations in Processing

  • Till Nagel
  • Frank Heidmann
  • Erik Duval
  • Joris Klerkx
  • Andrew Vande Moere
— GeoViz, 2013

Many thematic maps and geovisualizations nowadays are being created by designers, journalists, and other non cartographers. Yet, with existing tools it is often difficult to create interactive data visualizations tailored for a particular domain or a specific dataset. We present Unfolding, a library to simplify the creation of interactive maps and geovisualizations. Unfolding provides an API to quickly create and customize visualization applications. In this paper, we introduce the design and functionality of our library. We demonstrate its usability through a collection of examples, and confirm the apparent need of such map library by describing its acceptance in the community.