My interest for doing research on physical data comes from the curiosity to give data meaning in the physical world, as I believe designs that have a foundation in data can create personal and unique experiences for the user.

We increasingly have access to new kinds of data. Wearables, mobile devices and Internet-of-Things sensors are enabling us to monitor our environment, understand our social connections, and track our personal health. Whereas data is more and more presented as a consumer product, most of these systems communicate data through classic information visualizations that are designed for domain experts. Moreover, personal data are most of the time ‘hidden’ in devices such as mobile phones and tablets, and users need to undertake explicit actions to reveal them [1].

People are trying to achieve something in their life, such as losing weight or creating habits, which all could be achieved by visualizing their data. What if this data could be physically present, but at the same time unobtrusive, in people’s everyday environments?

As a design researcher I want to explore how this might happen through the use of physicalizations, which are physical artifacts whose geometry or material properties encode data [2]. Physicalizations have been around for many centuries [3] demonstrating various benefits over conventional visualizations; they make data tangible and allow for exploration and interaction. Physicalizations can be anywhere and are always “on” which allows individuals to interact with their data in different ways [2]. A good example of this is my Final Master Project in which I examined how a shared physicalization of dietary choice and climate impact could create awareness and behavior change within a community.

1. Steven Houben, Connie Golsteijn, Sarah Gallacher, Rose Johnson, Saskia Bakker, Nicolai Marquardt, Licia Capra, and Yvonne Rogers. 2016. Physikit: Data Engagement Through Physical Ambient Visualizations in the Home. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1608-1619. https://doi.org/10.1145/2858036.2858059
2. Yvonne Jansen, Pierre Dragicevic, Petra Isenberg, Jason Alexander, Abhijit Karnik, Johan Kildal, Sriram Subramanian, and Kasper Hornbæk. 2015. Opportunities and Challenges for Data Physicalization. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems(CHI '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 3227-3236. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2702123.2702180
3. List of Physical Visualizations and Related Artifacts. Retrieved from http://dataphys.org/list/

Professional identity

I am a social person, flexible towards others, empathic and open for collaboration. I really enjoy working together and communicating with other disciplines. Furthermore, I attach great value in collaborating in a professional manner and provide clarity to others through my speech or visuals.

I am a critical person and balance every thought I have and decision I make and finally evaluate how this was done. I am very self-aware and a structured worker. Yet, the flexible I can be towards others, the critical I can be towards myself. This is a good characteristic as it helps me to bring the best out of myself. However, on the downside I can be too perfectionistic and can't find satisfaction sometimes.

I would describe myself as someone who is both analytical and explorative. This also explains why I gain so much satisfaction from creating data visualizations; on one hand it requires thinking and puzzling, while on the other hand it takes creativity and communication skills to convey complexity in a comprehensible way.

I would describe my approach as ‘analog’ as I have a preference for hands-on activities over digital activities. Whether I am planning something, creating a paper, a physical object or a website, I always start with sketching it out. Using pen and paper is for me the easiest and quickest way of securing thoughts and ideas: it's immediately there and will stay there.