Sketching the Polyphonic Design Space of Theme Parks

Abigail Durrant, Michael Golembewski, David Kirk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Drawing is a fundamental human practice of making sense of the world and communicating ideas. It gives form to acts of imagination and free thought, enabling not only collaboration but also co-creation (Petherbridge, 2010). As such, drawing can be fundamental to design practice. We can think about sketching as a particular type of drawing activity that helps practitioners refine, explore, and understand complex systems and concepts (Allen, 1999). Design sketching is well explored in relation to cognition and expression through action (e.g. Arnheim, 1995; Fish and Scrivener 1990; Gedenryd, 1998; Schon and Wiggins, 1992), and has been open to new interpretation and relevance as computer-related technologies have developed and proliferated (e.g. Gross and Yi-Luen Do, 2004; Tovey, 1989; Winograd 1996). In the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI), design sketching practices have been transformed by, amongst other things, new digital tools for making and collaborating (e.g. Scrivener et al 1994). Creative design techniques have matured for prototyping through sketching as a generative endeavour, in particular to attend to user experience (e.g. Buxton 2007; Carroll, 2000; Fallman, 2003, Moggridge, 2007), or to envision possible worlds (e.g. Bleecker, 2009; Blythe, 2014; Kirby, 2009; Morrison et al, 2013), or in visual argumentation and dissemination (e.g. Gaver 2011; Gaver 2012; Gaver and Bowers 2012).

In this chapter, we consider sketching in an HCI research context that seems apt for inclusion in a book about Funology: the theme park. Specifically, the research project investigated technology and service design opportunities in a UK theme park setting, grounded in experiences of visiting. As members of the project team with backgrounds in art, design, psychology and ergonomics, we present a collective account of ideation and prototyping activities that engaged our project partners and stakeholders. We consider design sketching as a dialogical process (Wright and McCarthy 2005), and describe how we used the medium of sequential art for pictorial expression (Eisner, 2008; McCloud 2001) in ways that enabled the complexity of both our setting and our design space to be identified and worked with. We had a precedent for working with this medium to pursue HCI research (Rowland 2010) that informed our approach. Central to our account is a proposition that our sketching process afforded us a deep level of collaborative, empathetic, and speculative engagement with our subject, which we valued as constructive and enjoyable.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFunology 2
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Usability to Enjoyment
EditorsMark Blythe, Andrew Monk
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9783319682136
ISBN (Print)9783319682129
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Publication series

NameHuman–Computer Interaction Series
ISSN (Print)1571-5035
ISSN (Electronic)2524-4477


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