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Massification of the Intangible: An investigation into embodied meaning and information visualization
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics.
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The thesis addresses two related problems. It is argued that the materiality of physical artifacts serves the purpose of expressing abstract information. In contrast, the intangibility of IT is of such a kind that it poses different conditions for expressing abstract information. The background problem concerns conditions and possibilities of designing information visualization artifacts that retain the experiential qualities typically associated with physical artifacts.

Massification design is introduced as a design ideal that aims towards a design of visualization artifacts that cater to the need of intersubjective understanding of abstract and intangible information. Massification design is further articulated as an ideal where the designed artifact as such bears witness of its own meaning. This ideal is put in contrast to design that depends on arbitrary, interpretative conventions for people's understanding of visualization artifacts. It is argued that design striving towards this ideal should be theoretically informed.

The main problem of the thesis concerns to what extent the theory of embodied realism can serve as an informing theory for massification design. In order to investigate embodied realism as a candidate for informing massification design, two design projects are presented.

Based on the design projects and associated evaluations, it is suggested that an embodied realist foundation for massification has the capacity to constrain and suggest form for expressions of abstract information. Suggestively, embodied realism may also inform design in such a way that it affects the experience of using the artifacts. The evaluations also suggest that design that draws on embodied meaning may come in conflict with conventional ways of expressing information. To further investigate a foundation for massification it is there is a need to investigate foundations that stays sensitive to conventional expressions. Additionally, it is suggested that massification design can be understood as striving towards authentic experiences of IT.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2003. , 270 p.
Research reports in informatics, ISSN 1401-4572 ; RR-03.01
Keyword [en]
Informatics, computer and systems science, Information visualization, theory driven design, embodied realism, massification design, human-computer interaction
Keyword [sv]
Informatik, data- och systemvetenskap
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-145ISBN: 91-7305-544-1OAI: diva2:141108
Public defence
2003-12-03, MA121, MIT, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2003-11-10 Created: 2003-11-10 Last updated: 2009-06-11Bibliographically approved

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