5-8 February 2014, Amsterdam

Wednesday, February 5

Circle of Visual Interpretation Workshop

Wednesday 09:30 HKU Hilversum room 1134
Morning workshop by Dave Wood

Workshop using a visually interpretive method that reveals to interaction designers what users experience in ways that personas can’t communicate.

It is difficult to know for certain that the experience of one user will be the same as that for other users, and if other users sense the same things or encounter the world in the same way as each other. Yet interaction designers have to find a way of designing new interactions to suit their target audiences. Alan Cooper argues quite rightly that, “if you’re going to do user-centered design you’ve got to understand the user.”

This half-day workshop will give you, the interaction design professional, direct, hands–on experience of a new low cost methodology you can employ to reveal the meaning of user experiences through interpretation of the user’s experience itself. This emergent methodology will augment your personas within the normal ideation phase of your design process, creating a deeper understanding of what your users actually do, think, feel etc. rather that what they consciously think they know.

The practical workshop’s activities encourage the application of a method to reveal actual user experience through ‘the eyes of the users’ by applying a technique of hermeneutic-semiosis - which means visual interpretation through semiotics.

Themes in workshop include:

  • The Essence of Experience;
  • Hermeneutic-Semiosis;
  • The Circle of Interpretation.

Dave will lead you through a process of revealing user experience through a visual hermeneutic circle of interpretation to reveal what was previously hidden. This creates visual stimuli for interaction designers that reveals the essence of what is really happening with the user, in ways that personas and mental models cannot do. Through this new visual interpretive methodology a fresh perspective that illustrates the core phenomenological essence of an experience can be interpreted from the user’s own points-of-view.

During this half-day workshop, we will use a very practical method card approach rather than a dry academic approach. The underlying hermeneutic-semiosis theory that (synthesising aspects of Pragmatism, and Martin Heidegger through C.S. Peirce’s semiotics) acts as a framework for the practical exploration. 

You’ll come away with a clear understanding of the principles behind the methodology, and practical ideas that can inform your future interaction designs in new ways. It will also open up the debate as to how Visual Communication can be utilised more in the design of better interactive user experiences.

In the workshop you will:

  • Discover how the methodology works through easy-to-use method cards;
  • Participate in structured practical activities from the method cards to help show how you can apply it to your projects;
  • Understand how to reveal more from your user research to achieve a fuller picture of your users, based on their actual points-of-view;
  • Feedback your thoughts from the exercises and help further develop the methodology.

Activities include:

  • Identifying themes of an experience—training participants to identify invariant themes in an experience from within user research;
  • Revealing essence of experience—applying the principles of the method to reveal hidden user experience;
  • Visually interpreting the experience—using a visual hermeneutic circle to refine the revealed experiential essence. 

Dave Wood

United Kingdom
Dave Wood

About Dave: In the last decade he has become more interested in researching the user experience and re-positioning the design discipline of Visual Communication over the design of future interactions. His interest now lies in understanding the user's experience in the interaction and exploring how this can be communicated to other designers. A member of the Interaction Design Association, he has presented and published his research at international design conferences and in academic journals. Dave is currently in the practical phase of a practice-based Visual Communication PhD at Edinburgh College of Art, so check out his academic profile and blog