Wahl 2Q17 was a joint effort by data visualization freelancers Moritz Stefaner, Dominikus Baur and Christian Laesser, with the Google News Lab (Isa Sonnenfeld, Jörg Pfeiffer and Simon Rogers) and project advisor Alberto Cairo.

Our goal was to visualize the Google search interest around the German elections end September 2017.

Over the course of the project, we launched a lot of different smaller and bigger visualizations, from daily to yearly views of the top searched terms for the candidates on our project site 2Q17.de

Photo by Adrian Williams on Unsplash

I’m currently thinking (and reading) a lot about the implications of a data-driven society. Data collection is taking a foothold in our daily lives, through social media but even more so through the internet of things. All of a sudden we’re split into two beings: our good old physical selves and outsourced digital versions in the cloud.

Pundits like to emphasize the benefits of big data and algorithms to all of us (I assume with economic motivations). We’ll get the end of theory and become better parents, friends and employees. These assurances usually leave the rest of us with a…

(This is part 2. Read part 1 on augmented reality visualizations here.)

Every time I read some article on Augmented Reality or see it pop up in a movie/TV show, it looks like this:

Still from Keiichi Matsuda’s HYPER-REALITY

Nothing screams future like neon colors and flashy animations. And I don’t excuse myself for that: even in my last article on how to bring data visualization to AR, my examples were high in the neon department to make it obvious at first glance that This Is The Future:

(This is part 1. Read part 2 on creating silent augmented reality here.)

Photo by Samuel Huron

Data visualization on mobile devices seemed promising, since the time of the first iPhone: very capable portable computers! Innovative touch interaction! Highly localized content! Hundreds of visualizations for mobile devices exist, both as apps and part of daily news content. But there’s one major problem that mobile visualizations couldn’t shake yet:

There’s just never enough space.

Mobile displays are necessarily small to be portable, and then there’s also fingers in the way. Usually with data visualization, more screen space means better analysis: Data can be shown at…

Apple’s ad campaign for Planet of the Apps might be about more than outrage

A few days ago, Apple launched their first TV show “Planet of the Apps” to great fanfare. It’s more or less a spin-off of “Shark Tank” with teams of developers pitching their app ideas to an all-star jury with such tech icons as Jessica Alba and Gwyneth Paltrow. The winners receive funding from a VC firm, enabling them to live their dream of developing software.

While few people might have been aware of the show’s existence, this weekend’s Twitter outrage over a (by now pulled) ad…

What we think about as static — visualizations or any other medium — does not, and even: cannot exist. Reading and understanding turns everything interactive.

Let’s take a simple example to make my point, one “static” visualization that is almost cliché: Napoleon’s march by Minard.

This graphic has been thrown around so many times since Tufte brought it up in his landmark book that you’d be hard-pressed to find a visualization course that doesn’t mention it.

Let’s look at it — once more:

Charles Joseph Minard: Carte figurative des pertes successives en hommes de l’Armée Française dans la campagne de Russie 1812–1813

If you’re like me and you spent far too much time on this stuff, you’ll probably just…

“The death of one man: that is a catastrophe. One hundred thousand deaths: that is a statistic!” — Kurt Tucholsky, Französischer Witz (1925)

Photo by Delfi de la Rua

After writing about the potential death of interactive visualizations, I want to touch on why they’re still absolutely worth it.

We as humans are notoriously bad at forming a balanced and comprehensive picture of anything more complex than our shoe strings. We’re plagued by various cognitive biases that span everything from an extreme interest in things that confirm our existing ideas and beliefs to prefering lots of completely useless data to less, more focused information. …

(This is a write-up of the talk I gave at INCH Munich on March 11 )

(edit: Gregor released a new blog post, clarifying some of the aspects and made some great points on the benefits of interactivity)

Last year I was lucky enough to go to the Information+ conference in Vancouver where Gregor Aisch, who works at the New York Times, gave a talk about the publication’s graphics and their impact. And the scary resumé of the talk was: Barely anyone interacts with the New York Times’ graphics. The New York Times makes arguably some of the best interactives…

Even this headline.

Recently, I’ve stumbled upon this interesting article about evolution or atheism or something (I don’t quite remember what it was), but I do remember that it tugged at my heartstrings in just the right way. The first few sentences just brought the point beautifully across, a point which my mind - thoroughly stressed-out by the neverending roar of social media updates - just gladly accepted. Yes, these few sentences rang true to my predispositions and were so palatable as to provide me with some relief from the constant onslaught of rings and popups and reminders and all the other noise…

Dominikus Baur

data visualization and interaction designer and developer. background in germanisms. https://do.minik.us

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