More than Human Centred Design


Lexichrome: Text Construction and Lexical Discovery with Word-Color Associations Using Interactive Visualization

  • Chris Kim, Ontario Tech University, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Uta Hinrichs, The University of St Andrews, St Andrews, United Kingdom
  • Saif M. M Mohammad, National Research Council Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Christopher Collins, Ontario Tech University, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Corresponding email(s): chris.kim@uoit.ca
  • Project webpage
  • Research group webpage
  • ACM DL Link: Associated Paper or Pictorial

Our work in Lexichrome was initially inspired by domains and phenomena that serve as a persistent source of inspiration for artists, writers, and researchers: we recognize there has been a historical relationship between words and colors varying by time, geography, and culture; we also saw a surge in interest surrounding visualization of literary texts; finally, we were also curious to find out the influence of word-color associations in one's writing process. Built on the comprehensive word color association lexicon published by the National Research Council Canada, our curious experiment yielded in Lexichrome: a suite of individual yet complementary modules that are designed to expose different facets of the dataset and also serve as an online tool for mindful text generation for writers of different disciplines.

Who is the target audience and why design for them? Our demo, in alignment with the tool itself, is designed for individuals from various writing-intense professions as we discovered that word-color associations are most useful when used for experimenting with words, proofreading completed texts, and establishing tone. Lexichrome promotes discovery of words potentially useful in artful exploration; the popular perception of words and their corresponding colors helps editorial teams to be aware of their potential audiences and tweak paragraphs accordingly; finally, word-color associations help to achieve mindfulness of individual words and visualize a specific tone that permeates the larger text.

What were the challenges or limitations encountered in this project? While Lexichrome was adapted based on a user study designed to capture rich qualitative insights in engaging with a diverse group of participants from different writing-intensive disciplines, we acknowledge that there are some limitations to our findings in their generalizability. As each participant used Lexichrome for a short period of time on a laptop device configured specifically for the study, away from their own usual work environments, this user study may not completely capture editorial and behavioral nuances common in each participant’s usual writing process.

What are the opportunities and next steps for this project? We recognize opportunities to accommodate more varied color palettes beyond the eleven basic terms, and that Lexichrome could benefit from receiving alternative datasets and visualizations for a more tailored experience.

To the Demo Visitors: We are interested in your thoughts on how Lexichrome can be further extended and improved upon in order to reach a wider audience. Please reach out at chris.kim@uoit.ca. The tool is available for public access at lexichrome.com.