Mid-December 2014 Statistics Switzerland launched its first digital publication for tablets (iOs. Android) and (and!) browser, in French and German. The name for this publishing category is ‘DigiPub‘.


In App Store and Google Play

DigiPubs are provided via the SwissStats App available on Apple Store and Google Play (Windows to come later ).



In the browser 2015-07-17_webviewer.

The challenge: Storytelling in times of tablets

Storytelling in the time of tablets and mobile people performs in a new field.
The idea and the message are old – let‘s call it the book paradigm.
But it‘s a book in new clothes. New aspects must be taken into account: new possibilities, skills, tools and processes.



After evaluation, the choice for a performant and sustainable publishing instrument fell on: .folio, an open format, part of Adobe‘s Digital Publishing Suite DPS.

.folio provides:

  • Standardised navigation
  • Wide range of presentation possibilities
  • Integration of internet content
  • Runs on most platforms, also browsers
  • Publication in the major stores
  • Production based on layout programs, editing systems or web content management systems
  • Open format (ZIP archive with PDF, HTML, XML inside).


 Rethink publication !

Electronic publication offers everything needed to make a story appealing. But this means: Rethink publication!

Authors and also publication specialists (publishers, visualisers, layout designers) are challenged

  • in terms of concept with regard to the content that is to be communicated
  • in terms of the presentation due to the possibilities that the medium is opening up
  • in terms of collaboration with specialists.

New ways of working, processes and also changing job descriptions are the result and necessary.


The Concept

The whole story about choosing and developing DigiPubs is in the following presentation:

2015-02-19_dotfolioDownload presentation (format: Powerpoint): Dotfolio.pptx

Download presentation (format: PDF): dotfolio.pdf



Social Media – Infographical Information

Social Media are state of the art.

But which one to use, which one to follow? Mobile,  desktop?

See the infographics by jeffbullas.com about Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin.

Pages-vs-Plus1–> more

And it’s mobile and it’s Africa!



Two People – One Opinion

‘Social Media Are Here to Stay’

sm-part1Interview, Credit Suisse Bulletin, September 27, 2012. IPad Edition


HTML5: Flow map of internal migration in England & Wales

At the start of this year, I wrote a brief post on how we’ve been looking closely at the emergence of HTML5 as a visualisation platform. This week, we’ve published the first fruit of those labours – an interactive flow map of internal migration data for England & Wales:

Migration flowmap of England & Wales

The aim here was to really stretch the technology and give it a tough visualisation challenge to see what it’s capable of. The underlying data used in the map contains over 60,000 migration flows – yet we have still managed to produce an interactive application that will run on an iPhone.

I will aim to write some more details later on the development process and the good and bad experiences of transitioning from a platform like Flash. But the majority of solutions to our problems came from a general realisation that HTML5 doesn’t really exist at all, but is more an amorphous mixture of inter-related technologies and javascript libraries that are becoming increasingly cohesive as a development platform. So – take a bow jQuery and Modernizr – these libraries in particular have really helped us to exploit HTML,SVG,Canvas,CSS, XML and javascript technology in a single, integrated document. There’s a way to go yet, but these initial results are extremely promising.

One other element I’m pleased on with this work is that we went beyond simple visualisation of the flow data here – every time you interact with the map to generate a flow visualisation, the browser performs a test to identify ‘significant’ flows (highlighted in orange, to attract your attention), based on a procedure first suggested in 1977 by Professors Peter Hagget and John Holmes. The speed with which that test is performed is real testimony to the improvements in javascript performance made by web browser developers in recent years. That we are now able to perform near real-time tests on statistical data of this volume in a web browser raises another interesting suggestion – that the key to many exciting visualisation challenges might lie in re-examining the past…

Javascript and SVG: Back to the Future

Happy New Year! One of the things I am looking forward to in 2012 is yet more improvements in the no-longer-humble web browser. The move towards ‘web apps’ has made browser manufacturers focus on the speed at which users can interact with a page (usually this is done via javascript). This has brought with it remarkable improvements to the usability of complex, interactive data graphics.  By way of example, I’d point you to the following page, making sure you are using a modern browser (Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari or IE9+). The graphic uses open SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) content (not Flash) to show an interactive map of commuting patterns within Greater London (just mouseover the map to see dynamically-generated ‘flows’)


Commuting map of London

One of the reasons Flash has been so popular in recent years has been its better performance when dealing with complex animated/interactive content. But this map is easily handled by modern browsers (under Google Chrome, in particular, it flies along) – the excuse to use Flash for this kind of content is diminishing. Even better, because the content is based on open W3C technologies, it will work on any compatible browser, including mobile devices (e.g iOS 5+, Android 3+). Given the recent abandonment of mobile Flash by Adobe and the momentum towards greater mobile browsing, the rise of open standards for data graphics seems irresistible. And as a final bonus, there are some great visualisation libraries being put together which will make producing data graphics using these technologies even easier.

Here at ONS’ Data Visualisation Centre, we loved SVG a decade ago – so we’re really looking forward to re-working some of our existing Flash-based graphics back towards HTML5/SVG in the coming year – I’ll try and reflect on some of the experiences of doing this in a later post.

Mobile is not the future. It’s now.

Mobile access to the internet is growing at a tremendous speed. That’s a real challenge for information providers.

What tell us statistics about mobile use? An efficient interactive infornation offer and a quite interesting way of chart building provides

Our Mobile Planet


ecosystem challenges

We live in ecosystems

The original highly biologically characterized definition is meanwhile modified. The term of ecosystem is used for a multitude of environments we live in and we interact with. There are  i.e. information-communication ecosystems where people get and discuss informations..

So the news aggregator netvibes calls the ‘Dashboard Widget Directory’ with its widgets to be integrated in netvibes as well as in Mac OS X, Google and Windows Vista a ‘ecosystem‘.

Here are some statistical widgets of netvibes’ ecosystem:

Statistics Spain, Census Bureau population estimates, Statistics Switzerland widget and netvibes universe.

App stores

Others are building ecosystems where people can get their software applications for specific platforms – be it for desktop or tablets or mobile phones. Apple opened its app store for mobile devices some time ago and for personal computers in January, Google did the same for Chrome and even the Windows platform has its app store (who knows this?).

Some say there’s a ‘war of ecosystems’. CEO Elop of Nokia expressed this clearly and dramatically before announcing the collaboration between Nokia and Microsoft:

“The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems, where ecosystems include not only the hardware and software of the device, but developers, applications, ecommerce, advertising, search, social applications, location-based services, unified communications and many other things. Our competitors aren’t taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we’re going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem.”

(Is Nokia burning? The internal memo from Stephen Elop to all Nokia’s employees. 9.2.2011)

Challenge for Content Providers

So why could all this be of importance for content providers like newspapers or statistical offices?

It’ s important because the paths to reach the customers and information seekers are dramatically changing. And there are not only platform-oriented ecosystems which are in (commercial) war and are trying to convince people to follow them. There are also application-based ecosystems like facebook running on all platforms which try to attract and to bind people.

Some time ago a browser-based information accessible on all platforms was the only and sufficient solution. Diversity in offers was necessary to fit the needs of diverse user categories (like ‘tourists,  farmers and miners’), reaching from storytelling with text and visualisations up to databases and access via api or web sevices.

Now in times of apps running outside browsers the question is a bigger one: In which ecosystem(s) with what kind of apps should we be active in order to be seen and to deliver the information people should know