The potential of UX and interaction design and data visualization for collections research and management software

Francesca Kaes, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany, Lisa Dannebaum, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany

This session will present the software design ‘Culture Collaboratory’, a virtual workspace for interdisciplinary collections research and management developed at Humboldt University Berlin (Germany). While existing collections management software often relies on static database interfaces, Culture Collaboratory follows a more interactive approach and functions as a platform for collaboration and exchange. Underlying this approach is the premise that collections as well as individual artifacts can only be fully understood by approaching them from multiple disciplinary angles. Accordingly, the virtual workspace brings together researchers spanning disciplines from art and cultural history to conservation and material science. In order to integrate such diverse disciplines and their respective methodologies onto one shared interface, ‘Culture Collaboratory’ uses both a radically user-centered approach as well as innovative and sophisticated data visualization. Aiming to demonstrate the potential of such an approach, the session will present different functionalities and use cases implemented in ‘Culture Collaboratory’. These examples reflect the needs of the disciplines in their day-to-day routines and workflow. Moreover, they demonstrate that data visualization is an effective tool to make diverse information and research data accessible and understandable while retaining their complexity. This way data visualization helps to convey the complex nature of cultural artifacts without overly simplifying their multifaceted contexts of meaning. Finally, this session will highlight to attendees how user-centered interfaces and visualizations may enhance workflow and thus benefit research success and output.