Understanding iconography : a method to allow rich picture interpretation to improve
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Information Systems for complex situations often fail to adequately deliver quality and suitability. One reason for this failure is an inability to identify comprehensive user requirements. Seldom do all stakeholders, especially those „invisible‟ or „back room‟ system users, have a voice when systems are designed. If this is a global problem then it may impact on both the public and private sectors in terms of their ability to perform, produce and stay competitive. To improve upon this, system designers use rich pictures as a diagrammatic means of identifying differing world views with the aim of creating shared understanding of the organisation. Rich pictures have predominantly been used as freeform, unstructured tools with no commonly agreed syntax. This research has collated, analysed and documented a substantial collection of rich pictures into a single dataset. Attention has been focussed on three main research areas; how the rich picture is facilitated, how the rich picture is constructed and how to interpret the resultant pictures. This research highlights the importance of the rich picture tool and argues the value of adding levels of structure, in certain cases. It is shown that there are considerable benefits for both the interpreter and the creator by providing a pre-drawing session, a common key of symbols and a framework for icon understanding. In conclusion, it is suggested that there is some evidence that a framework which aims to support the process of the rich picture and aid interpretation is valuable.