Revealing the art within our daily patterns

We collaborated with data artist Laurie Frick to build a self-quantification application. The app tracks your everyday movements, expressing them as unique, personal data portraits.

001. Brief

Laurie engaged thirteen23 to create a self-quantification application with the goal of employing her unique look in an interactive context.

002. Solution

We designed and developed an application that combined location data with Laurie’s hand-drawn aesthetic to create personalized data-visualizations.

003. Outcome

FRICKbits was a perfect blend of art and technology that received an IXDA award and garnered national publicity for both thirteen23 and Laurie Frick.

The concept

Laurie’s work deals with the idea of individuals reclaiming their data and using it to create art. Our challenge was to translate this message into a new, interactive format, using Laurie’s physical artwork as a starting point.
Map austin

Data portraits

Laurie's artwork abstractly visualizes her own personal data. The app we created allows you to track your own data rendered using Laurie's visual style.
Each data portrait displays patterns created by your travels. To personalize the visualization, we emphasize your home base. That point always starts the animation sequence that reveals each portrait.
Vectors

Your patterns

To show individual location patterns, we connected different test datasets to create a network and establish a geometric structure of bits. We tweaked the algorithm to create density around your home and well-traveled paths.
Palettes

DIGITIZING ART

The bits from Laurie’s original work were made with watercolor and pen. Generating them in software was a challenge accomplished through close iterations between developers and designers.
Translating the original color palettes into a digital space also helped bring the character of the physical pieces to each data portrait.
Explorations

MAKING IT UNIQUE

We kept the focus on personalization by including dozens of color palettes to choose from. Starting with five palettes from Laurie’s work, we computationally generated a set of palettes that were later fine-tuned by hand.
Map closeup

REAL DATA, MINIMAL UI

To emphasize that the bits were anchored by real location tracking data, we included a view with a detailed map of all data points we had collected.
To compliment our visualizations, we designed a minimal UI that could get out of the way of the data portraits themselves.
Evolving

ALWAYS EVOLVING

FRICKbits creates an abstracted image of daily routines that is more about an impression than a literal visualization. As you continue to use the application, your data portraits subtly change to reflect new habits and patterns.
You can create your portrait by downloading FRICKbits for iOS in the App Store.

Recognition

  • x15
  • The Atlantic
  • Motherboard
  • TheNextWeb
FRICKbits gives everyone the opportunity to turn self-identity gathering into a creative endeavor.
— AUSTIN MONTHLY