Recent research presentation roundup

Battle for Health Diagram

Sue Walker gave a keynote talk at the Design4Health conference organised by Sheffield Hallam University, 3–6 September 2018 entitled ‘Getting the message across: communication design and healthcare’. Here she discussed the role of communication design in explaining the science behind illness and disease; providing materials to assist with treatment and care, visualising data to measure quality improvement, and influencing behaviour change. She concluded by reinforcing one of the themes running throughout the conference – the importance of cross-disciplinary collaboration and early design intervention in bringing about effective, efficient and user-centred communication of information relevant to healthcare providers and recipients.

One of her slides that caused interest (pictured above), was produced by the Isotype Institute for Stephen Taylor’s Battle for health (London: Nicholson & Watson, 1944). This chart shows the effectiveness of different communication channels in getting the message across about diphtheria immunisation, which was a pressing issue in the 1940s.

At the same conference the IDAPPS team (Information Design and Achitecture in Persuasive Pharmacy Space) presented a paper and displayed their work (some of which is shown below), designed to build public understanding about and engagement with how to protect against antimicrobial resistance, more of which can be seen here.


Alison Black presented CIDR’s research on information design for dementia care and described the development of print materials and their subsequent transfer to digital formats at the conference Living well with books, organised by the Centre for Material Texts at University of Bristol, 5–7 September. This multidisciplinary conference brought together researchers with topics as diverse as reading in bed, the architecture of libraries,  what children and adults can gain from making books, current and past literary culture from Bolton to Cuba, and the future (positive) prospects for books in the context of other media. Research presentations were combined with practical workshops for participants to experience book making practice (picture below).

Bookbinding workshop at Living Well with Books conference

Jeanne-Louise Moys gave a talk at a day symposium, ‘Information design problems and solutions’, organised IIID/Simplification Centre, 9 September in Bath. Her talk ‘Learning to do vs. Doing to learn’, examined the importance of research and cross-disciplinary collaborations in information design education. She also drew on her experience in inclusive design projects to note the importance of ensuring information design plays a transformative role. The symposium was well attended by information design researchers, including Matthew Lickiss, practitioners, and people working in sectors that use information design. Our postgraduate researchers, Andrew Barker, Josefina Bravo and Rachel Warner were there, and MA information designer Richa Verma, as well as many Reading alumni.



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