Home > Professional activities, Uncategorized > CHI 2012: Visual Thinking and Digital Imagery Workshop

CHI 2012: Visual Thinking and Digital Imagery Workshop

I attended the workshop on Visual Thinking and Digital Imagery at CHI 2012, led by Eli Blevis and a collection of others. Unfortunately, Eli couldn’t be there in person, so he Skyped in. Lots of time was spent presenting images and image sets that were meaningful in the design process—my group presented an image-based claims set featured in many papers (most extensively a Human Technology journal paper, but with the best usage report in a DIS conference paper). There were lots of other image sets presented; the workshop page has a complete set of position papers and image sets from the participants.

But one idea stood out from the group discussions at the workshop: The organizers boldly sought to rethink what a professional paper could look like—centered around images as a means of communication. One thought was to create a paper that was mostly images, perhaps 80% or more! The images would encourage thought, support comparisons, and provoke emotions. The text would not so much explain as guide. The thought was that such a paper might be accepted, but more probably it would be rejected…but perhaps leading to a panel or other avenue to shake up the “normal” way of doing things.

Images as a primary communication mechanism are popular but not widely used or understood. For example, the full-page photos in the ACM Interactions magazine provoke thought and discussion, but do not attract many submissions. But it is worth considering whether images should be shoehorned into an established format like a professional paper—or whether there’s another format that could gain greater acceptance.

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