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»Ick kieke, staune,
wundre mir …«
Coming soon: Kurt Weill Center Dessau


understands mental models.
Case: Ada Digital Health


Seven minutes per patient. Operate or rehabilitate? Have I missed something? A quick diagnosis leaves little room for doubt, much less for a second opinion from a colleague.

To significantly reduce the risk of a misdiagnosis, you have to understand the mental models a doctor uses. Dr. Martin Hirsch
As Head of research and development at the Berlin start-up Ada, the neuroscientist Dr. Martin Hirsch is a forward thinker. First and foremost, he is interested in visual diagnostic reasoning, a thought process that plays a key role in critical decision-making.

2What we did

Plural intensively unpacked mental models and medical diagnostic processes. We conceptualised an interactive tool that visualises the reasoning process in an intuitive interface doctors can immediately relate to. Not surprising if you take into consideration that the UX is based on the internal dialogue doctors are repeatedly trained in from the start of their education. It compares observations and assumptions until the diagnosis is sound.

The interface consists of a central work space plus two columns, one for symptoms and one for possible diagnoses. © 2015 Plural

3What did we achieve?

Scores of sketches, considerations, designs and tests later, it was clear: The diagnostic reasoning UX will form the backbone of a full spectrum of services for doctors and patients that we design with Ada.

After watching the introduction video and a demo session both GP groups were already able to use the system on their own. (...)
This is especially interesting because the GPs themselves described the system as “sophisticated”.
Dr. Claire Novorol
The intuitive functionality did not only impress in clinical trials, the jury of the international Usability-Awards were also convinced by it. In addition Ada (still named Medx at the time) was awarded the German Federal government and German industries’ innovation prize and selected as a Landmark in the Land of Ideas 2015.

Ada is an awardee of the Usability Award and a Landmark in the Land of Ideas 2015.
takes archives from storage to stories.
Case: The Research Table


Museums and archives can often only present a fraction of their collection. The walls don’t have enough space to showcase everything and not all of the works are significant enough to warrant their permanent display. But curators need an overview of the full collection in order to illuminate its undiscovered potential. Visitors also benefit from the access it offers to intellectually sophisticated themes and contexts.

2What we did

Plural’s interactive Research Table clearly visualises hidden connections between archival data. The visualisations contextualise the collections and their geneses, blazing new trails for academic work. The objects’ diverse ranges of references are also of interest to visitors who can access a fascinating network of works, artists and their touchpoints. The relationships between collections and objects also become clear.

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Timelines, resumes, contexts, maps, institutions.

3What did we create?

In the past curators had to work with complicated databases to access information about artworks. The digital Research Table’s elegant, award-winning interface makes accessing and working with the information a breeze. It’s even possible with a tablet and museum visitors can take the Research Table’s multimedia content with them on tours in interactive audio guides.

Find out more:

Research in an ›analogue‹ archive: The Kahn Archives, Detroit © 2014 Plural
turns users into visitors. Concepts for a digital museum.
Case: Kunstsammlung NRW


For an institution associated with the exclusive and original, free online access to its collection may seem like a threat. However, even museums have caught on to the opportunities digitalisation affords.

It’s no longer a question of “if” but rather “how.” In particular: How do we engage visitors who are ever-increasingly ‘users’? The impact these individuals can have on an institution’s international reputation should not be underestimated.

2What we’re currently working on

Along with the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen we are unpacking how an excellent collection can expand its legacy in the digital realm. To play off the high standards in education and mediation, we are sounding out individual approaches and various content formats for presenting the collection.

We exploit the new and future digital possibilities to best serve the complexity of our expanding knowledge pool. We consciously opt for formats that make the messages presentable, regardless of their complexity.From the Kunstsammlung NRW’s digital strategy
Drawing on background research about museums in the Anglo-Saxon world and our understanding of culture and workflows in German museums, we teamed up with the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen to develop a digital strategy. Our goal: To formulate a strategy that encompasses the increasing demands for user-friendly services with an impressive interface.

In short: It’s not about designing a new website. It’s about designing digital services.

Tailored access for various user groups. © 2015 Plural, Dario Coelho

3One more thing

‘Anti White Cube’ is the future of museums: International research is starting to recognise that artworks are nodes in a complex web of untold stories

The German Federal Cultural Foundation selected the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen and Berlin’s National Gallery for an ambitious research project: “Museum Global” will highlight several new thematic, historical and political perspectives on artists and artworks. Together with Plural, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen will sound out the possibilities digitalisation holds for “Museum Global.” We can’t wait.

Plural designs diverse scenarios for how artworks can be contextualised. © 2015 Plural, Dario Coelho
Cover Image: The Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen’s K20 © Katja Illner
helps to think, collaborate, and communicate visually.
Coaching: Work visually!

1Work visually!

The ability to clearly articulate complex matter is invaluable, especially if the audience is unfamiliar with the topic. A simple, concise presentation illustrates new results and brings thought and hypothesis into a more traceable form.

To formulate thinking models graphically helps to structure, reflect and succinctly summarize thoughts. A precise model facilitates mutual understanding in interdisciplinary collaboration. It enables successful communication with supporters and contacts in politics, business and the media.

In one to two days of coaching in German or English, we find the right form to effectively pin down the essence of hypotheses and research results: for posters, project websites and professional publications, as well as for science communication and grant applications.

2Structure, reflect and present

Representing a complex, abstract topic in a linear text is hard enough. It is even harder to convey the topic interdisciplinarily. Careful work on the concrete presentation pays off: An intelligent model compresses multi-dimensional topics in a multi-layered way. It facilitates and inspires cooperation.

Also, in presentations of the research institute it helps to convey science clearly. Even abstract topics become accessible to non-experts and to the interested public.

Mögliche Anlässe:

Poster presentations for lectures, congresses and open days as well as project websites or strategy presentations of the institute

Doctoral programs to refine research approaches

Transferable skills training to encourage transdisciplinary researchers through shared thinking models


3Research and Communication Models

In the workshops and coaching sessions, we design concise visualizations, posters and research websites that carefully balance content accuracy, comprehensibility and perceptual-psychological aspects of design. The goal is their use as:

Memorable model for conveying abstract topics

Thematic „map“ as a guide for your own lecture

Prototypical thesis model for critical-constructive reflection

A memorable model remains in the minds of the audience even after a variety of presentations. During the lecture, the schematic presentation of the central aspects serves as a „map“ for the lecture. During the coffee break, listeners can explore details on the poster or use it as a starting point for discussions.


4Productive change of perspective

The scientific „modeling“ with graphical parameters, concepts and texts does not only represent the research work: To design means to structure and reflect, which often leads to further hypotheses.

Visualization translates the content from verbal grammar into visual language: Almost automatically, the visual logic opens up new perspectives on the subject.

5Gestalt Psychology Skills

The workshop provides a basic understanding of the meaningful use of graphical variables and the psychology of Gestalt laws. This enables the participants to design and clarify models of thinking and to gain new perspectives on their hypotheses through the formation of variants.

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