Communicative Openness within Adoptive Families: The Role of Photos and Visual Communication

Thomas Dylan, Daniel Harrison, Abigail Durrant

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


HCI has a long history of designing to support family life, despite this little is known about the unique needs of adoptive families. Though work has explored the role of photos, and photo sharing in the family home, this does not take account
of the essential role of photos in supporting the well-being of adopted children. We report on a Research through Design (RtD) project investigating how adoptive parents communicate life story, which is essential to a child’s sense of identity. In this pictorial, we show the role of photos and visual communication in enabling core aspects of communicative openness between parent and child, as derived from interviews with adopters about their child’s life story book. We conclude by discussing the need for visual guidelines and tools to support a more nuanced use of photos and illustrations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDIS 2022 - Proceedings of the 2022 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference
Subtitle of host publicationDigital Wellbeing
EditorsFlorian `Floyd' Mueller, Stefan Greuter, Rohit Ashok Khot, Penny Sweetser, Marianna Obrist
Place of PublicationNew York, US
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781450393584
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2022
EventDesigning Interactive Systems Conference - , Australia
Duration: 13 Jun 202217 Jun 2022


ConferenceDesigning Interactive Systems Conference
Abbreviated titleDIS '22
Internet address


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