More than Human Centred Design

Submitting Pictorials


Pictorials published at DIS2020 are ACM archival publications and will be made available through the ACM in the Digital Library.

Important Dates

action timeline
Abstract and title due:
(title, abstract, authors, and other metadata)
January 24, 2020
(The submission system closes at 17:00 PST)
Full submission deadline: January 31, 2020
(The submission system closes at 17:00 PST)
Notifications to authors: April 9, 2020
Camera ready deadline: April 23, 2020
Pictorials Program: July 8-10, 2020

What are Pictorials?

Pictorials are papers in which the visual components (e.g. diagrams, sketches, illustrations, renderings, photographs, annotated photographs, and collages) play a major role in conveying the ideas and contributions of a study in addition to the accompanying text. Pictorials leverage the power of visual communication with the effective use of visual languages and high-quality images. They may have a practical or theoretical nature or both. As design perspectives have increasingly become integrated in HCI practice and research, new approaches are needed to communicate design practices, processes, products and artifacts to the HCI community. Through Pictorials, researchers, practitioners, industry professionals, artists, designers and students from various disciplines, including engineering, interaction design, computer science, product design, media studies and the arts are encouraged to express and unpack their design practices and projects in visually rich ways. The Pictorials format helps foster discussions among authors, conference attendees, and the wider community through the sharing of novel methods, insights and lessons learned from engaging in or with the design of interactive systems and artifacts.

Pictorials published at DIS2020 are ACM archival publications and will be made available through the ACM in the Digital Library. They will be similarly double-blind peer reviewed and will stand as the same quality of contribution as technical program papers. A good Pictorial requires precision and contextualization, but in terms of evidence and detail in argumentation, should aim at the level of a short paper rather than a full paper. However, Pictorials are not simply short papers. They work best when you need to show work that requires visual elements, like documentations of design processes, for example. Pictorials are a great form for reporting design work and also natural to designers, who are sometimes rightfully skeptical about how much power words have in capturing design.

Pictorials are meant to contribute to knowledge in themselves rather than document concepts, methods, and processes, we already know. Visual components can be contributions to design knowledge in and of themselves, as a form of making, but they should also be accompanied by a narrative that helps the DIS/Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) audience understand what the knowledge contribution is. It is this scaffolding that transforms a Pictorial into research and guarantees that it can be treated as an argument in research discourse. At the same time, the textual narrative should be just that - a scaffolding to support the contribution of the visual content.


The DIS 2020 Pictorials track builds on the success of the Pictorials track in DIS from 2014-2019, and the addition of Pictorials to the Creativity and Cognition (C&C) 2017-19 and Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI) 2019 conferences. As the format has evolved, so have the particular tactics authors have used to leverage the visual format. We classify a few of these tactics below:

Some Pictorials focus attention on the visual elements and outcomes when such visuals “speak for themselves” as holders of design knowledge referenced in the text:
  • Nick Logler, Daisy Yoo, and Batya Friedman. 2018. Metaphor Cards: A How-to-Guide for Making and Using a Generative Metaphorical Design Toolkit. In Proceedings of the 2018 Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS '18). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1373-1386. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3196709.3196811
  • Audrey Desjardins, Ron Wakkary, and William Odom. 2016. Behind the Lens: A Visual Exploration of Epistemological Commitments in HCI Research on the Home. In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 360-376. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2901790.2901910
Some Pictorials use photography as a primary means through which to make claims about how a key concept within HCI is understood:
  • Heather McKinnon. 2016. Finding Design Value in Modern Mundanity. In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS ‘16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1059-1071. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2901790.2901906
  • Eli Blevis. 2014. Stillness and motion, meaning and form. In Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Designing interactive systems (DIS ‘14). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 493-502. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2598510.2602963
Some Pictorials use the visuals to communicate material knowledge to the community, and have embedded fabrication files to aid readers in the replication of the novel methods articulated:
  • Elvin Karana, Elisa Giaccardi, Niels Stamhuis, and Jasper Goossensen. 2016. The Tuning of Materials: A Designer’s Journey. In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS ‘16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 619-631. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2901790.2901909
  • Clement Zheng, HyunJoo Oh, Laura Devendorf, and Ellen Yi-Luen Do. 2019. Sensing Kirigami. In Proceedings of the 2019 on Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS '19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 921-934. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3322276.3323689
Some Pictorials use the format to scaffold participatory activities with the reader that help them make sense of the arguments:
  • Jeroen Peeters and Ambra Trotto. 2018. Designing Expressions of Movement Qualities. In Proceedings of the 2018 Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS '18). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 679-690. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3196709.3196805
Some Pictorials experiment with alternative rhetorical forms, such as photographs, diagrams, maps, or archival images and texts to both situate the work and make key points within the argument:
  • Vera Khovanskaya and Phoebe Sengers. 2019. Data Rhetoric and Uneasy Alliances: Data Advocacy in US Labor History. In Proceedings of the 2019 on Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS '19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1391-1403. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3322276.3323691
  • James Pierce and Carl DiSalvo. 2017. Projecting Network Anxieties with Alternative Design Metaphors. In Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS ‘17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1383-1393. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3064663.3064795

Preparing and Submitting Your Pictorial Submissions

DIS 2020 has two submission deadlines for papers. The first deadline, January 24, requires you to submit title, abstract of less than 150 words, and meta-data including authors and keywords for your pictorial. This Notice of Intent (NOI) is an entry in PCS. We will use this information to help plan the specifics of the review process. The second deadline, January 31, is for the final version of your pictorial. You can also update your previously submitted title, abstract and other metadata as needed.

Pictorial Formatting

Pictorials must be submitted using the DIS 2020 Pictorials templates (below) and not exceed 12 pages, excluding references. On the first page of the submission please keep with the template and include the submission’s title, author(s) and their affiliation(s) (leave blank for double blind review), and a written abstract of no more than 150 words succinctly describing the background and context of the pictorial as well as its contribution to the DIS community. Further written parts known from other conference formats such as Introduction, Conclusion, Discussion, Acknowledgements, and References are optional. The main part of the submission should be an annotated visual composition and we encourage submissions to use the format creatively.

PCS allows file sizes up to about 150 MB, but we suggest that you keep reviewers in mind and experiment with lower resolution to make the submission considerably smaller.

We strongly advise you to use the InDesign template to compose your Pictorial. If you do not have access to InDesign, please use the Word or Powerpoint templates.

DIS Anonymisation Policy

The DIS papers review process is based on blind reviewing. Authors are expected to remove author and institutional identities from the title and header areas of the paper, as noted in the submission instructions (Note: changing the text color of the author information is not sufficient). Also, please make sure that identifying information does not appear in the document’s meta-data (e.g., the ‘Authors’ field in your word processor’s ‘Save As’ dialog box). In addition, we require that the acknowledgments section be left blank as it could also easily identify the authors and/or their institution.

Further suppression of identity in the body of the paper is left to the authors’ discretion. We do expect that authors leave citations to their previous work unanonymized so that reviewers can ensure that all previous research has been taken into account by the authors. However, authors are required to cite their own work in the third person, e.g., avoid “As described in our previous work [10], … ” and use instead “As described by [10], …”

In order to ensure the fairness of the reviewing process, DIS uses double-blind reviews, where external reviewers don’t know the identity of authors, and authors don’t know the identity of external reviewers. In the past few years, some authors have decided to publish their DIS submissions in public archives prior to or during the review process. These public archives have surpassed in reach and publicity what used to happen with tech reports published in institutional repositories. The consequence is that well-informed external reviewers may know, without searching for it, the full identity and institutional affiliation of the authors of a submission they are reviewing. While reviewers should not actively seek information about author identity, complete anonymization is difficult and can be made more so by publication and promotion of work during the DIS review process. While publication in public archives is becoming standard across many fields, authors should be aware that unconscious biases can affect the nature of reviews when identities are known. DIS does not discourage non-archival publication of work prior to or during the review process but recognizes that complete anonymization becomes more difficult in that context.


You must submit your Notice of Intent (NOI) to submit a Paper to the Precision Conference submission system (PCS) by January 24, 2020. The NOI is an entry in PCS with tentative author names, title and abstract. You can make changes as many times as you like before the final submission deadline on January 31, 2020. Note that this represents a compromise between the tight review schedule this year and the submission deadline being close to public holidays. There will be no further extensions!

As part of the submission process, authors must submit an abstract, keywords, and meta-data related to the submission’s contents. We encourage you to include your contribution type(s) in the metadata related to your submission.

Helpful Questions for Authors to Consider:

  • Are images/diagrams emphasized over text as the primary means of communicating the research contribution?
  • Does your work require and take advantage of the Pictorial format, or would it be clearer in a more text-based form?
  • Is the Pictorial well-situated, framed and well referenced within DIS and HCI especially, and outside of HCI where needed? (but please note: it is not necessary to reference everything about visual presentation that has ever been advanced by any discipline)
  • Does the Pictorial make a contribution to DIS/HCI communities (and beyond)?
  • Are the implications for HCI and/or interaction design clear? These may be analytic, generative, synthesis-oriented, and even manifestos.
  • Does the Pictorial represent a visual quality high enough to convey the message of the submission?
  • Does every image used in the Pictorial play a meaningful role and clearly present the idea on its own or with the support of text?
  • Does the placement of images and text compose a good narrative that makes effective use of the format?

Acceptance Rate, Relation to other Submissions, and Copyrighted Materials

Pictorials are expected to be original work created specifically for the pictorials track. Expect the track to be competitive and submit your best work. Expect an acceptance rate of around 20-25%.

Please do not submit work you have submitted elsewhere with a few images added. Doing so may violate dual submission rules. You may submit previously published work to which you have added significant visual content, provided only that such work is clearly and prominently attributed as such in a footnote to the title with a clear description of what the pictorial uniquely contributes or adds to the previous work. In this last case, at least 30% of the material must be new, per ACM rules.

You must be the author and copyright holder of all materials you submit, particularly all visual materials. Submitted work must comply with ACM policies, which state that you must be the owner of your images and/or obtain written approvals for included third-party materials. If authors are using third-party images as a key source for their pictorials, they should make a note to reviewers with their submission about their plans for obtaining copyright.

Review processes

In DIS 2020, Pictorials follow a rigorous blind peer review process similar to Full Papers. The review process is managed by the Technical Program Chairs (TPC), the Pictorials Chairs, and the Pictorials Associate Chairs (ACs). Confidentiality of submissions is maintained throughout the review process. A list of the AC’s serving on the DIS2020 Pictorials Program Committee can be viewed on the Organisers Page

Upon Acceptance of Your Pictorial

Authors will be notified of conditional acceptance or rejection of their Pictorial on or before the notification date of April 9, 2020. Meta reviews will describe any further changes that the authors are expected to make to the Pictorial prior to its publication. These should be made as part of a “camera ready submission” into PCS by the deadline of April 23, 2020. Final changes will be checked by members of the program committee prior to making a final acceptance of the Pictorial. If authors are unable to meet the requirements for changes, the program chairs will be notified and may reject the Pictorial.

All accepted submissions require a signed form assigning copyright or licence to the ACM, or an upfront fee to ACM to enable Open Access. Responsibility for obtaining permissions to use video, audio, or pictures of identifiable people or proprietary content rests with the author, not the ACM or the DIS conference.

Additionally, each accepted submission requires a full conference registration fee to be paid, unless the person presenting the Pictorial is a first-author student, in which case, a student registration fee has to be paid.

All published Pictorials will appear online in the ACM Digital Library and be distributed digitally to conference delegates as part of the conference proceedings.

At the conference, authors of accepted papers must be in attendance to present their papers and answer questions from the audience. Presenters of Papers and Pictorials will have a presentation slot of approximately 20 minutes, though this may be altered prior to the conference based on scheduling needs. Pictorials whose authors are not at the conference to present may be removed from the ACM Digital Library and the conference proceedings.

DIS2020 Pictorial Program Committee

Sabrina Hauser
Umea University
Laura Devendorf
University of Colorado Boulder