Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Abstract: Visual Communication and the Aesthetics of Use: A Visual Phenomenological Methodology

I'm coming to a point where my transfer from MPhil to the full PhD is imminent. I have been drafting my transfer document for what feels like aeons in between writing and presenting papers, teaching and assessing. The last step is here and below is the newly written abstract for the transfer document. Once the transfer has happened I'll archive the document on this blog.

Visual Communication and the Aesthetics of Use:
A Visual Phenomenological Methodology

MPhil Transfer Document

As a part-time ECA postgraduate student I am proposing my transfer to complete a practice-based PhD in Visual communication. My researched thesis is an inquiry into a new practical Visual Phenomenological Methodology to aid interaction designers to design better interactions. This is proposed by using visual hermeneutic interpretation of collected “sensory data” to reveal to a designer the phenomenological structure of a studied experience. The development of a hermeneutic phenomenological framework to generate visually interpreted “inspirational data” will enable interaction designers to design from a fresh perspective of proximity to their users. By understanding the experiences a user actually has within an interaction, the designers can inform their future design decisions based on users' aesthetic perception of what they (want to) experience.

In synthesising Visual Communication methods with phenomenological research methods, Visual Communication can demonstrate its worth in the development of the ‘aesthetics of use’ beyond the ‘aesthetics of surface’. The creation of such a design methodology would cultivate a closer alignment between HCI and Visual Communication, repositioning it as a fresh influence over Interaction Design much earlier in the idea-generation and modelling phases. This paper will present my thesis in a context that argues for a successful transfer from MPhil to PhD in order to complete the doctorate. In this paper I succinctly introduce the framework and area of study before explaining my research plan. This plan includes research questions, methodology, timeframe and proposed PhD chapter titles. It will end with a discussion of work completed to date including peer reviewed papers and practical project work. The appendices include more detail on aspects of the practical work beyond the scope of the main paper.

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