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Research at St Andrews

Pedagogy & physicalization: designing learning activities around physical data representations

Research output: ResearchConference contribution


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Trevor Hogan, Uta Hinrichs, Yvonne Jansen, Samuel Huron, Pauline Gourlet, Eva Hornecker, Bettina Nissen

School/Research organisations


Research in sonification and physicalization have expanded data representation techniques to include senses beyond the visual. Yet, little is known of how people interpret and make sense of haptic and sonic compared to visual representations. We have conducted two phenomenologically oriented comparative studies (applying the Repertory Grid and the Microphenomenological interview technique) to gather in-depth accounts of people's interpretation and experience of different representational modalities that included auditory, haptic and visual variations . Our findings show a rich characterization of these different representational modalities: our visually oriented representations engage through their familiarity, accuracy and easy interpretation, while our representations that stimulated auditory and haptic interpretation were experienced as more ambiguous, yet stimulated an engaging interpretation of data that involved the whole body. We describe and discuss in detail participants' processes of making sense and generating meaning using the modalities' unique characteristics, individually and as a group. Our research informs future research in the area of multimodal data representations from both a design and methodological perspective.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference Companion Publication on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS'17)
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages3
ISBN (Print)9781450349918
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2017
EventConference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS'17) - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Jun 201711 Jun 2017


WorkshopConference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS'17)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Data representation, Pedagogy, Physicalization, Physical material, Activity-based learning

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ID: 250177478