A Research Daisy

I'm also a visual thinker. Not that I don't like writing; in fact, I work with writing and drawing to crystallize my thoughts. When working on websites or publications, for example, I am usually responsible for the architecture and the content, and I often send scanned drawings to my graphic designer to illustrate how I want the information to flow before I even start writing the texts. I was therefore thrilled when Luker suggested that we draw a Venn diagram to illustrate the multi-disciplinarity of our research.

After having done a few of her exercises, it seems that my "intellectual itch" involves investigating how architects of websites aimed at various cultural groups define how to structure the information in a way that will appeal to their various publics. You may have noticed that, if you change the language on a multilingual website, you may see more or less text, more or less graphics, and even a different navigation system.

It seems to me that website architects have a lot of power over how information might be represented to members of different cultures and may contribute to changing their preferences over time. Given that power, do they choose designs intuitively? Using primary data collection? Secondary data collection?

This idea will, I hope, evolve during the course of the semester, but as a beginning, here is my first research daisy. It was drawn using Aviary, a free online tool that is very similar to Photoshop.


  1. This is fantastic. Eleonore, great work on the research daisy!

  2. Hey Eleonore, your thoughts on information architecture vs different audiences are really interesting. I just wanted to add 'stakeholder's motives' to your list of how designs are chosen.

    Just to expand: if the main purpose of my site is to elicit some action (e.g. donate money) than the page design will be designed to focus on that 'donate' button. There's this article that lists a few research data from user interfaces:

    Mind you, I realize that you seem more interested in the cultural differences and politics designing information one way, opposed to other ways. Just wanted to share my thought though, good luck :)

  3. Hi Jennette,
    Thanks for your interesting comment. You're right, I think that motives or objectives of the website are a crucial factor in design choice. I'm curious as to why different designs would be chosen, in websites where stakeholders have the same motives. Is there a cultural interpretation basis for that? On the other hand, I might end up finding that, for example, designers doing a certain type of website for a Japanese audience might know each other and develop their own design culture, rather than be influenced by their view of their users.

    Thanks also for the website - it's very interesting, in particular the eye pattern movements. I also wonder if this would apply also in languages in which reading is done from right to left.

  4. Hey Eleonore -- I was sure where to post this, so excuse my comment delay. recently, a list apart (a blog aimed at webdesigners) conducting a survey of their community and posted the results. i'm not sure if will help with your interests, but i thought it was interesting imitative.