What are Pictorials?

Pictorials are papers in which the visual components (e.g. diagrams, sketches, illustrations, renderings, photographs, annotated photographs, collages) are the primary means of conveying information with at least, if not more, importance as the accompanying text.

Pictorials are not full 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 do not show design work only, however. It is important that whatever is reported in a Pictorial must have research interest in the HCI community. Pictorials are meant to contribute to knowledge in themselves rather than document concepts, methods, and processes, we already know.

Most pictorials contribute knowledge the same way a text-oriented traditional publication does: through a research question and an answer, a claim and an argument that supports the claim, and a proper contextualization in HCI literature (and beyond). A few outstanding pictorials can offer a new way of seeing a setting, problem or design approach.

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 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 images.

Accepted submissions will be included in the Proceedings of DIS 2019 and will be considered archival publications – that is, they will be similarly double-blind peer reviewed and will stand as the same quality of contribution as technical program papers and short papers.

Why Pictorials?

The DIS 2019 Pictorials track builds on the success of the Pictorials track in DIS from 2014-2018, and the addition of Pictorials to the Creativity and Cognition 2017 conference.

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. Pictorials may have a practical nature, a theoretical nature or both. Through DIS Pictorials, design practitioners in academia, industry, non-profits, or collectives are encouraged to express and unpack their design concepts, practices and projects in rich, heavily visual ways. This format helps foster discussions among authors, conference attendees, and the wider community through the sharing of methods, insights and lessons learned from engaging in the design of interactive systems and artifacts.

Important Dates

Action Timeline
Full Submission: 18 January, 2019 (23:59 PST)
Author Notification: 21 March, 2019
Pictorials camera ready due: 18 April, 2019

What to Submit?

Submissions may cover diverse topics that include (but are not limited to):

  • Design processes and decisions affecting the material or interactive elements of prototypes
  • Visual materials that provoke thought about interactivity
  • Methodological approaches to design
  • Successful attempts, failed attempts, challenges and lessons learned
  • Deployments of interactive design artifacts
  • Experiences in design-based research
  • Other insights, practices or processes often unmentioned in important phases of design research and practice

Presentation Quality

In pictorials, production values and visual quality matters. We encourage authors to be creative with their submissions. Pictorial contents could consist of (but are not limited to):

  • Design sketches
  • Annotated images
  • Illustrations and diagrams
  • Field notes or sketches (ensure that sketches are readable for the intended purposes)
  • Collages
  • Photographs and annotated photographs

Checklist for Authors

Other important factors to consider in creating a Pictorial:

  • Are images/diagrams emphasized over text as the primary means of communicating the research contribution?
  • Does your work require a Pictorial format, or would it be clearer in textual form?
  • Is the production value for the images and/or diagrams of high quality?
  • Is the Pictorial 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)
  • Are the implications for HCI and/or interaction design clear? These may be analytic, generative, synthesis-oriented, and even manifestos.
  • Are the societal benefits of the Pictorial clear and in line with ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct?
  • 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?

Another feature of Pictorials is that they must turn into engaging presentations at the DIS conference. Before submitting a pictorial, please think about the presentation:

  • Does the pictorial require visuals?
  • What would these visuals be?
  • Can you build a visually engaging presentation around them?
  • Do they clarify the argument better than a traditional slideshow and text?
  • Could the Pictorial turn into a visually engaging presentation? Can you make an engaging video, animation or Pecha Kucha style presentation out of the Pictorial?

Checklist for Reviewers

Does the Pictorial:

  • Take advantage of an image-based format, or would a text-based format be better suited to the Pictorial?
  • Does the Pictorial make a contribution to HCI (and beyond)?
  • Is the Pictorial well-situated within other DIS and HCI work?
  • Does it make a clear, logical argument that makes the claim of the paper believable?
  • Represent a visual quality high enough to convey the message of the Pictorial?
  • Do you think it turns into a visually engaging presentation? What would the format for such a presentation be?

Acceptance Rate 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.


All submissions should be anonymous and submitted via the PCS submission system. PCS conference system allows file sizes up to about 200 MB, but we suggest that you keep reviewers in mind and experiment with lower resolution to make the submission considerably smaller, especially if you are using the ACM Word template.

Pictorials should be submitted in the DIS 2019 SIGCHI Extended Abstracts Format, and not exceed 12 pages, excluding references.

The first page of the submission should 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 100 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 Extended Abstract format creatively—see the DIS pictorials example InDesign template, and a sample PDF file that shows possible layouts:

We strongly advise you to use the InDesign template to compose your pictorial. If you do not have access to InDesign, please use the current SIGCHI Extended Abstracts Format in Word.

InDesign Template

Word Template

Review and Selection

In DIS 2019, Pictorials follow a rigorous blind peer review process similar to Full Papers and Notes. The review process is managed by the Technical Program Chairs (TPC), the Pictorials Chairs for each theme, and Associate Chairs (ACs). Confidentiality of submissions is maintained throughout the review process.

Step Action Timeline
1 After the submission deadline, each Pictorial will be assigned to a Pictorials Chairs who distribute them amongst themselves. 19 January 2019
2 Chairs check the Pictorials, report possible conflicts of interest, and assign Pictorials to two ACs (called 1AC and 2AC) By 25 January 2019
3 1AC assigns two reviewers and 2AC assigns one reviewer By 1 February 2019
4 Review process 2 February - 8 March 2019
5 After receiving all reviews and scores, 1AC writes a metareview, scores the papers, and divides them in four categories:
  • A - Clear rejects: If a Pictorial is below acceptance threshold (it is calculated after all reviews are in, but 3.2 is a good approximation), the paper is rejected. Only 1AC metareview is needed.
  • B - Clear Accepts: If a Pictorial is a clear accept (usually above 4.0), 1AC can recommend accepting the paper. Only 1AC metareview is needed.
  • C - Borderline: 2AC writes a second meta-review if the Pictorial is in the acceptance range (usually in 3.2 - 4.0 range)
  • D - Papers with large standard deviation: 2AC writes second meta-review in case of conflicting reviews. If 1AC and 2AC disagree, they can transfer the case to SC chairs.
1AC writes a recommendation and submits it to SCs.
6 SCs will review the scores and meta-reviews for each of their assigned papers and make preliminary decisions
7 PC meeting decides which Pictorials are accepted to the conference
8 Author Notifications 21 March 2019

Pictorials Chairs

Kristina Andersen & Shad Gross

pictorialchairs [at] dis2019.acm.org