KSA Document Design & Research
Taking Our Stakeholders Seriously:
Re-Imagining the Dissemination
of Research in Information Design
It is an exciting time for research in information design. Researchers are now in the rather luxurious position of being able to draw on nearly a century of findings about rhetoric, writing, visual design, psychology, culture, and human communication. Not only are researchers expanding on past work, but they are also developing hybrid lines of inquiry that cross disciplinary borders and break methodological stereotypes. The last few decades have been marked by growth not only in the number of studies1 carried out, but also in the forums for sharing this work, for example, journals, electronic mailing lists, and conferences.2 On the surface, research in information design appears healthy and vigorous.
Scratch the surface, however, and it becomes evident that not everyone would characterize the state of information design research as healthy, especially if positive feedback from the field's many stakeholders is an index of vitality. E-mail posts made to Web-based electronic mailing lists in the field (e.g., TECHWR-L and InfoDesign-Café) suggest that practitioners of information design are negative to lukewarm in their feelings about research in the field. Practicing information designers argue that research is out of touch with the everyday problems of____________________