A guided approach to conceptual design in the information design process
Conceptual design is often overlooked and underestimated by information designers who tend to be more focused on implementation and concerned with aesthetic qualities. Consequently, there is a lack of thorough thinking and understanding during the conceptual part of the design process that results in a recurrent development of unintelligible diagrams in information design practice. Bringing awareness to conceptual design can help designers realize its function and importance for the development of effective diagrams. To address this situation, this paper proposes the adoption in professional practice of a conceptual design tool with a guided approach, e.g., MapCI Cards. Working with this approach may aid information designers in the preparation of diagrams by guiding conceptual design tasks: understanding the diagram purpose and intended-audience, analyzing and simplifying information sources, identifying subject areas and information types, and defining their organization into a hierarchical structure. We describe this type of approach and discuss its usefulness for information designers, explaining how it could support their conceptual design decision-making. Then, we present scenarios in which working with the approach could be beneficial, followed by recommendations to use this approach in professional practice.
Keywords: information design, decision-making, conceptual design, diagrams, guided approach, understanding
Published online: 03 November 2015
Cited by other publications
Pontis, Sheila & Michael Babwahsingh
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 28 april 2020. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.
Baddeley, A.D. & Hitch, G.J.
(2008) Information design workbook: graphic approaches, solutions, and inspiration + 30 case studies. Beverly (Mass): Rockport.
(1991) Responsibility of forms: critical essays on music, art, and representation. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Baya, V. & Leifer, L.J.
(1996) Understanding information management in conceptual design. In Cross, N., Christiaans, H. & Dorst, K. (Eds.) Analyzing design activity (151–168). England: John Wiley & Sons.
Bektaş, E.; Heintz, J.L. & Wamelink, J.W.F.
(2008) A review of knowledge management in collaborative design: The necessity of project knowledge integration in large scale building projects. Innovation in AEC 2008. Antalya, Turkey (1–12).
(1983) Semiology of graphics, diagrams, networks, maps. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.
(2011) El Arte Funcional. Infografía y visualización de información. Madrid: Alamut Ediciones.
Chi, E.H. & Card, S.K.
(2004) Where are the design methodologists? Visible Language, 38(2), 196–215.
Costa, J. & Moles, A.
(1992) Imagen didáctica. 2nd Edn. Barcelona: Ed. CEAC.
(2000) Engineering design methods: strategies for product design. 3rd Edn. Chichester: John Wiley.
Cross, N., Christiaans, H. & Dorst, K.
(1996) Analyzing design activity. England: John Wiley & Sons.
(2011) Rich web content at newsroom speeds [Lecture] Graphic news in motion . One-day media workshop. The Honorable Society of Gray’s Inn. London 14 October 2011.
Dorst, K. & Lawson, B.
(2009) Design expertise. Oxford: Architectural Press.
(2002) The language of graphics, a framework for the analysis of syntax and meaning in maps, charts and diagrams. PhD thesis. Amsterdam: Universiteitt van Amsterdam & ILLC-publications.
(2001) Diagramming as a way of thinking ecologically. Visible Language, 35(2), 164–77.
(1993) Charting power, how cartographers and designers continue to shape our world view. Magazine of International Design, 1, pp. 68–73.
Information design exchange (idX) group
(2007) Development of international core competencies and student and faculty exchange in information design [Online] Available at: www.iiid.net/PDFs/idxPublication.pdf [Accessed 10 November 2014].
(1992) Design methods. 2nd Ed. New York: John Wiley.
(2012) Designing information: Human factors and common sense in information design. John Wiley & Sons.
Macdonald-Ross, M., & Waller, R.
Moles, A. & Janiszewski, L.
(1989) Grafismo funcional. Barcelona: Ed. CEAC.
(2005) Wayshowing: a guide to environmental signage, principles & practices. Baden: Lars Müller Publications.
Newman, M.W., & Landay, J.A.
(2010) Information design-principles and guidelines. Journal of Visual Literacy. 29(2), 167–182.
Pollock, E., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J.
(2012) Guidelines for conceptual design to assist diagram creators in information design practice. PhD Thesis, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.
. (in press). A design method: Guidelines for diagram content analysis (Chapter 8). In: C. Richards (Ed.): Diagrammatics. Gower Publishing: UK
Pontis, S. & Babwahsingh, M.
(2013) Communicating complexity and simplicity: Rediscovering the fundamentals of information design. In Ceccarelli, N. (Ed.), 2CO Communicating Complexity Conference proceedings (pp. 244–261). Alghero, Italy: Edizioni Nuova Cultura.
(1984) Diagrammatics: an investigation aimed at providing a theoretical framework for studying diagrams and for establishing a taxonomy of their fundamental modes of graphic organization. PhD thesis. London: Royal College of Art.
(2008) The back of the napkin: solving problems and selling ideas with pictures. New York: Portfolio.
(2005) Underground maps after Beck: the story of the London Underground map in the hands of Henry Beck’s successors. London: Capital Transport.
(1997) It’s all in the PROCESS. Adobe Magazine, 34–40.
(2003) Research methods for designing effective experiences. In Laurel, B. (Ed.), 2003. Design research, methods and perspectives (pp. 155–62). London & Cambridge (Massachusetts): The MIT Press.
Stasko, J., Görg, C. & Liu, Z.
(1998) Visual Explanations. Cheshire (Connecticut):Graphic Press.
Visocky O'Grady, J. & Visocky O'Grady, K.
(2008) The information design handbook. Mies: RotoVision.
(1979) The London Underground diagram. Icographic, 14/15, 2–4.
(1992) The power of maps. New York: The Guilford Press.
(1989) Information anxiety. London: Pan Books.
(2001) Information anxiety 2. Expanded & updated ed. Indianapolis: Que.