Interactive Media Systems, TU Wien

Digital (De)signs for Real Cities - Examining Sign Usage in Real and Digital Spaces

By Florian Ledermann


Today´s cities are full of signs: road signs, signposts, maps, graffitis, among many others. Future mobile digital information systems used in urban space will add another dense, digital layer of information on top of that, augmenting the user´s view with additional visual signs. If we want these envisioned systems to enlighten instead of confuse the user and if we therefore want to understand how to design these systems to display information in a suitable way, we have to study how information is encoded into signs and how these signs structure the actions of people. In this paper, we analyze signs present in real urban spaces, and present a taxonomy of sign functions that we identified. We present our method of identifying "atomic functions" of signs, and give an outlook on how these functions can be realized adequately in digital media, avoiding "semantic pollution" and information overload.


F. Ledermann: "Digital (De)signs for Real Cities - Examining Sign Usage in Real and Digital Spaces"; Talk: 2nd International Conference on Communities and Technologies, Mailand, IT; 06-13-2005 - 06-16-2005; in: "Workshop Proceedings Digital Cities: The Augmented Public Space", (2005), 49 - 59.


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