Research Output
A Picture Paints a Thousand Words but Can it Paint Just One?
  Imagery and language are often seen as serving different aspects of cognition, with cognitive styles theories proposing that people can be visual or verbal thinkers. Most feedback systems, however, only cater to verbal thinkers. To help rectify this, we have developed a novel method of crowd communication which appeals to those more visual people. Designers can ask a crowd to feedback on their designs using specially constructed image banks to discover the perceptual and emotional theme perceived by possible future customers. A major component of the method is a summarization process in which the crowd’s feedback, consisting of a mass of images, is presented to the designer as a digest of representative images. In this paper we describe an experiment showing that these image summaries are as effective as the full image selections at communicating terms. This means that designers can consume the new feedback confident that it represents a fair representation of the total image feedback from the crowd.

  • Date:

    04 June 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    ACM Press

  • DOI:


  • Library of Congress:

    QA76 Computer software

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    005.4 Systems programming and programs

  • Funders:

    Heriot-Watt University


Robb, D. A., Padilla, S., Methven, T. S., Kalkreuter, B., & Chantler, M. J. (2016). A Picture Paints a Thousand Words but Can it Paint Just One?. In DIS '16 Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, (959-970).



Design feedback; image browsing; similarity; clustering; semiotics; image summarization; visual communication; perception; emotion; mood; crowdsourcing

Monthly Views:

Available Documents