Designing websites with an eye for detail and focus on usability; making infographics to tell stories in an unique way; being able to develop websites that are scalable and build with the highest standards; organizing events that shake the world – these are the things that keep the people at YN busy. Edial Dekker from YN talks to YourStory about this Berlin based consultancy and their trip to India in March this year.Introduce yourself and Your neighbours (YN )
My name is Edial Dekker and I am a partner of Your Neighbours, we are a studio based in Berlin that's focused on storytelling and design. My role in the company is to make sure the show is running.
How was YN conceived?
One and a half years ago, we moved from Amsterdam to Berlin. We packed all our laptops in our van, travelled 700 kilometers east and registered as a company. Now we are with 5 persons have established a dense network of clients and talented people. At the moment, we're looking for more people to join us.
What are the services you offer as a digital consultancy?
Besides interaction design and visual design, we're also doing a lot of data visualizations. We take large quantities of data, and find new ways to visualize the information so that it can tell new stories. One of our projects that we are currently working on in this field is City Crawlers Berlin. Another thing that we are interested in is the future of cities. So, we're co-organizing an event around this topic, called Cognitive Cities Conference.
Tell us more about your data visualization projects
We take large quantities of raw data (either from a web service, excel sheet, sensor or somewhere else), and make graphical representations of the data. We do this to find new, untold and invisible, stories. By looking at the data, we can find outliers (an observation that is numerically distant from the rest of the data) or patterns. This can help companies, organizations, journalists and others in a lot of ways. For example, we were interested in the 'gentrification' of Berlin. One way to do that, is to look at magazines, blogs and other places where people share 'cool' places.
But another way to do this, which is a lot more interesting to us, is to look at data. So we used the data from Foursquare (a mobile application that let's it's users reveal where they are to their friends), to get this data. So now we know exactly which places get visited and when, just by looking at the data. Of course, the data is far from 100%, but it does show very interesting things. For example, we can also find out which day is most likely the day that people will eat Pizza, or have cocktails. This is all very interesting data and helps us to get a better understanding of the city. You can see some examples of the data visualizations of Citycrawlers here.
Another example is the Geotaggers' World Atlas' by Eric Fisher (also in the City Crawlers project). He plotted a map with the 'most photographed places' of Berlin, using geo-data from Flickr. This shows a very interesting perspective on the city as well, and highlights some unique places, some that you cannot find in a tourist guide for example.
Some more stuff we did (that is online) are:
- Visualizing the sales numbers of the Dutch entertainment industrie, see here
- Visualizing the amount of Red VS Yellow cards of soccer (in all world cups), here
- Visualizing all nuclear warheads in the world, here
- Visualizing the 'social media buzz' of WCIT2010, a huge event that was held in Amsterdam last year, here
Going ahead do you want to diversify into something more? What do you have in the pipeline?
At the moment, we are very much trying out new ways to do storytelling in interesting ways. We're not looking at only online things, but also less connected things in the offline world. We're also very much interested the use of mobile sensors, so will continue to find new ways to implement them.
Generative art is also something that has out focus at the moment. For one of our clients, that we cannot name at this moment, we're trying to make a 'generative branding' that reacts on real-time data. How this will look like is a little hard to tell at this phase, but we're very much interested in the way a company, or a brand, is interconnected within a lot of different networks and data. As mentioned earlier, we also do quite many things for other agencies and their clients.
The future of cities (and the role of data), is also a topic we hope to more with in the future. As part of this, we are co-organizing the Cognitive Cities Conference, which is an event that will happen on February 26 and 27 in Berlin. At this event, we will host speakers, workshops and a lot of different interactive sessions - to explore the future of cities. I posted an article today about this topic, here.
In regards to our company, we are very much looking forward to extend the team. So at the moment, we have two open job positions for designers.
What brings you to India this year?
The main reason why we go to India is to move out of our own comfort zone. We want to see how people work and live in a different part of the world. We are very much interested in learning things from the Indian culture, and hope to grasp the sense of excitement and energy that we heard so much of. We're not directly looking for software partners or anything, but you never know. The main reason to go to India is because the place is unknown to us, mysterious and energetic.
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