Function and Form of Gestures in a Collaborative Design Meeting

  • Willemien Visser
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5934)


This paper examines the relationship between gestures’ function and form in design collaboration. It adopts a cognitive design research viewpoint. The analysis is restricted to gesticulations and emblems. The data analysed come from an empirical study conducted on an architectural design meeting. Based on a previous analysis of the data, guided by our model of design as the construction of representations, we distinguish representational and organisational functions. The results of the present analysis are that, even if form-function association tendencies exist, gestures with a particular function may take various forms, and particular gestural movements as regards form can fulfil different functions. Reconsidering these results and other research on gesture, we formulate the assumption that, if formal characteristics do not allow differentiating functional gestures in collaboration, context-dependent, semantic characteristics may be more appropriate. We also envision the possibility that closer inspection of the data reveal tendencies of another nature.


Gestural interaction Cognitive design research Collaborative design Collaboration Architectural design Gesticulations Emblems 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Willemien Visser
    • 1
  1. 1.LTCI, UMR 5141, CNRS – INRIAParisFrance

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