You are here

Visual Literacy & User Experience

I will be presenting "Visual literacy: Expanding how we practice UX" at UX Thursday in Detroit on June 26th. The official blurb about the talk:

Visual literacy, traditionally applied to educational settings, has become important for users to make sense of digital media. Keith Instone will share the how and why behind his research and the ways he applies what he’s learning about visual literacy to UX. You'll hear how this exploration is making him a better UX practitioner.

Keith hopes to inspire UX practitioners to embark on their own discipline-crashing journeys to help strengthen the future value of UX.

Leave Keith’s session with:

  • A process for expanding your UX expertise by "crashing" other disciplines
  • Examples from visual literacy that apply to UX
  • An invitation to participate in the next virtual literacy conference

I will add the slides and other information here as I make progress.


I posted a copy of my slides at Slideshare. There were lots of details in my speaker notes that I skipped over to make sure I left time for questions, so this PDF version with speaker notes might also be interesting to some of you.

Jeremy G. Burton did a great recap of UX Thursday Detroit overall, but I was most impressed with how he made sense of my talk.
Visual literacy is a rich, diverse vein of study whose exploration offers UX practitioners another dimension of tools, vocabulary, and contexts for designing and communicating. In fact, much overlap already exists implicitly — we employ visual literacy when we make deliverables for clients, when we visualize data, when we craft icons and UI elements, when we think through sketches.

There is no single accepted definition of visual literacy. Like UX, it is multidisciplinary. An immersion into visual literacy — by digging into its history, joining its groups and following its publications, finding its thought leaders, seeking out examples and points of common ground — reveals a field that may yet have even more to contribute to UX.