Hi! My name is Dominikus Baur and I'm a Data Visualization & Mobile Interaction Designer from Munich, Germany. I love crafting well-behaved systems where you won't even notice that thin interface between you and your data.
I blog about touchable visualizations, data visualization in general and mobile and touch-based interaction design.

You should talk to me: do@minik.us @dominikus


Selfiecity and OECD Regional Well-Being win KANTAR Information is beautiful awards

In yesterday's KANTAR Information is beautiful awards both Selfiecity and OECD Regional Well-Being scored big: we won Gold and Silver in the 'Website' category! Congrats to the teams and the other winners!


Animated transition for details-on-demand on mobile

Here's a nice little chart interaction technique built by Simon Rood in FramerJS that I stumbled upon on Facebook. On a desktop, showing details-on-demand is pretty much always done using hovering, but on mobile it's still tough (see my JSConfEU talk). Simon's animated transition looks like a smart way to do it:



JSConfEU talk online: Web-based vis on mobile

Back in September I gave a talk at the great JSConfEU 2014. The conference was three days of nerdy Javascript-details - highly enjoyable! My talk was on data-vis on mobile devices and I tried to shed light on some of the gritty details that Moritz Stefaner and I discovered over the various responsive projects we did. It also gave me the chance to conserve my beard in video-form for all eternity.

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Metrico review

Digital Dreams recently released Metrico, a game for the Playstation Vita, whose marketing focused on its infographics-inspired aesthetics. The game boasts a minimal and geometric style and is filled with all your favorite charts - yes, even pie charts! From a game perspective, however, Metrico is less than stellar and it would be a disappointment if this was the best Infographics: The Game we ever got.

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HTML5 Geolocation and User Experience

The W3C introduced a new client-sided way to detect a visitor's location with the HTML5 Geolocation API. For the OECD Regional Well-Being project, we decided to give this new way of learning about a visitor a try and get them started with the visualization in their home region. However, actually providing them with a nice user experience while moving through this somewhat complex process proved to be difficult. In this post, I'll discuss our issues and workarounds.

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OECD: Regional Well-Being

Well-being exists on a scale from the individual to whole countries. In the OECD Regional Well-Being project - a part of OECD's Better Life Initiative - we dive deeper into this hierarchy: the interactive, web-based visualization shows various aspects contributing to quality of life for over 300 regions all over the world. In this post I'll discuss the project as a whole and its design decisions (with more technical posts coming up).

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selfiecity

In the selfiecity project we explored the depths of a seemingly shallow data set: 3200 selfies from five cities around the world. We were wondering what exactly was there in a selfie and how these spontaneous self-expressions would reflect cultural backgrounds. A combination of manual and automatic analyses gave us fascinating insights which we represented visually in a series of charts and graphs. At the project's core there's also the selfiexploratory, a tool to interactively explore all selfies and their metadata in the browser.

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DSD Talk: Big Pictures in the Small

Last week I was invited to the 5. Data Science Day in Berlin, organized by The Unbelievable Machine Company. We spend one day with fantastic speakers from various areas, discussing the implications of mobile devices on data science and visualization.

In my talk - 'Big Pictures in the Small' - I focused on a more high-level picture why visualization will go mobile and what form that will take. In addition to our smartphones, we've grown accustomed to a whole zoo of other (portable or stationary) computing devices. I discuss how that's eerily similar to computing environments of the past and how we need more excuses to do data science on couches. Also, be warned that this is only a re-recording of my talk. So if you're into disembodied voices mispronouncing English words - today's your lucky day ;)

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How touch visualizations turn us into lean-back analysts

The main purpose of most computing interfaces is efficiency. There's nothing more annoying for anybody using a computer than sluggishness, the inability to produce the right results or seemingly unnecessary waiting time. At any point in time during the computing experience, the person in front of the machine has a goal in mind and wants to make steps towards it. We've grown so accustomed to this efficiency that anything that slows us down is seen as a problem and we only have little patience for any distraction. And if we fall into the trap of clicking on a hyperbolic link on the web ('Data analysts hate her! Mom discovers one weird trick for finding insights') or lose ourselves in hour-long TV tropes or Wikipedia binges, we feel the sting of guilt throughout.

Jacob Nielsen has called this very purpose-driven behavior lean-forward: We're deeply engaged and treat computers and the web as an active media. This is in contrast to TV, books or magazines, which is about passive consumption, entertainment and lean-back.

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How to make fast animated HTML5 visualizations

One thing that people tend to forget in today's HTML5-ed world is how extremely fast Flash actually was and still is. Constructing complex chains of tweened animations and having them run in real-time was absolutely doable and represented a major advantage compared to other in-browser graphics frameworks such as Java. And, as wonderful as HTML5 is, we're still at least a couple of years behind in that regard. HTML5 is not the magic bullet that saves your device from high battery or CPU consumption and, yes, you can create memory leaks in Javascript and crash your browser.

I had to learn the restrictions of HTML5 with the revamp of the OECD's Better Life Index. In this blog post I will describe some of the approaches and solutions that we used to get the HTML5 version of that visualization on equal footing with its Flash ancestor.

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