Rich pictures: collaborative communication through icons

Tessa Berg, Robert John Pooley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A visual language of pictures, such as the rich picture used in the Soft SystemMethodology, offers a way of global communication that far exceeds the limitations of textand speech. Simple graphics can be rapidly communicated, processed and transmittedwithin a large and culturally diverse constituency. This paper looks at the benefits andinterpretative risks when using rich pictures for system understanding. The aim of thispaper is twofold: firstly to report upon an observation of a large scale collaborative diagrammingworkshop and compare the resulting pictures with a previous workshop study.Secondly, to develop further ongoing research which suggests rich picture construction canbe aided by providing an icon legend. This paper compares 2 rich picture workshops: thediagramming workshop at the Open University eSTEeM Diagramming Colloquium inMarch 2012 and a workshop held in Heriot Watt University in February 2012. Thecomparative results are set against the ongoing empirically grounded rich picture researchwithin Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. Preliminary results suggest there are a set ofdistinguishable icons and shapes that are generic across all rich pictures regardless ofdomain. Further analysis of the early results suggests a natural intrinsic grammar ismanifested within rich pictures in terms of relationships, icons, context and connectors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-376
Number of pages16
JournalSystemic Practice and Action Research
Volume26
Issue number4
Early online date19 Jul 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

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Visual languages
Communication

Keywords

  • Visual communication
  • Workshop
  • Icon
  • Language
  • Rich picture

Cite this

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Rich pictures : collaborative communication through icons. / Berg, Tessa; Pooley, Robert John.

In: Systemic Practice and Action Research, Vol. 26, No. 4, 08.2013, p. 361-376.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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