Last year, along with Omar Sosa-Tzec and John M. Carroll, I published a paper at SIGDOC introducing the concept of visual references.
Visual references combine bibliographic information with photographic images, textual annotations, and diagrammatic annotations, in order to communicate what we called design-related intellectual influence.
The following diagram distinguishes visual references from traditional, text-based references in an ACM formatted paper:
Figure 1. Two visual reference mock-ups in a hypothetical ACM conference publication.
There are many hurdles to clear before visual references become viable. A crucial one involves creating the tool(s) designers need to create diagrammatic annotations.
The annotations in our mock-ups, for example, profile their respective artifacts according to eight qualities of interactivity outlined in Janlert & Stolterman (2017), and until now, the only way to create such an annotation would have been Photoshop (or something similar) and a bit of time on your hands.
However, we recently finished a beta version of an interactivity profiler that allows design researchers to customize and download diagrammatic annotations. There is no need to sign up and no limit on the number of interactivity profiles a designer can create.
Check it out, and let us know what you think!