Aesthetics, Cosmopolitics and Design









Designing diagrams for social issues

Michele Mauri, Paolo Ciuccarelli

Politecnico di Milano

Keywords: Communication design, information visualisation, issue mapping, controversy mapping, digital methods


Emerging approaches in social sciences and new media studies involve inquiry into social issues via the web. By collecting, analysing and visualising digital traces (i.e. posts, tweets, comments), a “issue map” can be created in order to make visible and understandable the network of the actors involved and their position in any public debate. Drawing on experiences gathered during a European project, we identified a two-phases-approach for the creation of issue maps. In the two phases - exploration and communication - visualisations play a key role, with two different connotations: in the first, they act as analytical devices used by researchers. In the second, they become communicative artefacts for a larger public. In this paper, we describe how we defined this approach, outlining the theoretical background and its connections with communication design. We highlight the main criticalities found in designing the issue maps before finally presenting our results. 

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Mauri, M., Ciuccarellia, P. (2016). Designing diagrams for social issues . Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

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