A lot has changed since smartphones and tablets became popular (?) devices. In the beginning those devices were primarily considered for communication purposes and beyond that merely occasional and casual interactions. This has changed in the last decade, mobile, handheld devices have become an important cornerstone of our modern information architecture. The applications have extended to business, research, disaster management, sensor networks, and many other fields. There are many indicators that illustrate these developments: google queries from mobile devices have exceeded desktop queries, in some countries we are already speaking about mobile first countries.

This ongoing trend confronts us as designers, researchers and developers with new challenges.

Human Visualization Interaction

Over the last few years Information Visualization has gone beyond its academic and expert only roots. Visualizations have become a tool for mass communication. Visualizations that go beyond barcharts and scatterplots have for example made their way into digital as well as printed news products, they appear on tv or in reports like the IPCC report on climate change. As those techniques move into the public realm of information consumption, it becomes even more important than in the past, that we also look at how users are using, reading and understanding those visualizations.

Through our research we are not only trying to optimize the way we produce visualizations and make them more legible and easier to understand for experts and laymen alike, but we are also trying to push the boundaries of visual literacy.

Marker cluster example

Visualization & Science Communication

Over the last few years we have seen a trend of researchers trying to step down from their ivory towers and reconnecting with the public. The government and other research funding agencies are making it mandatory to embed scientific communication concepts into every research project. Those communication strategies are targeting the exchange with other experts, the communication of scientific insights to the public and the industry, to foster the faster application of research results into products and services.
Those needs are a xxx challenge for every researcher alike. Used to communicate among peers, the communication to other interests groups asks for a completely different set of tools. To overcome the challenge of communicating, often complex and abstract scientific concepts, visualization can play a translating role in helping groups with various backgrounds to benefit from those insights.

Interfaces at scale

Large Scale Multitouch Interface

In recent years, we designed and realized successful new forms of visualizing information for individual and collaborative exploration on interactive surfaces.

In the Interaction Design Lab we have available our self-developed large scale maeve table, three Multitouch cells, and one Microsoft Surface table.


While the primary focus of ubiquitous computing lies upon embedding smaller and smaller technologies into everyday products and activities, we also have an increasing number of large scale displays surrounding us. Those new interfaces challenge our understanding of public and private interactions as well as of existing interaction techniques, which are mostly derived from desktop applications.