2020 SIGDOC Awards

2020 SIGDOC Best Paper Awards

The SIGDOC Best Paper Award recognizes the best conference paper submitted to the Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Design of Communication. Reviewers nominate papers after the second round of blind peer review, and the best paper is selected, also blindly, by the SIGDOC Executive and Conference Committees.

Best Paper

Headshot of Gabriel Lorenzo Aguilar

Gabriel Lorenzo Aguilar, Penn State

The SIGDOC Conference Committee is thrilled to announce that the 2020 Best Paper Award goes to “Migrants as Place-Makers: The Role of Technical Communicators in (re)Locating Place” by Gabriel Lorenzo Aguilar. In this paper, Aguilar investigates the role of technical communicators in determining where place could be made. Most discussions find place in locations that accommodate people through community functions, social interactions, and commercial exchanges; however, not much has been considered in how place is made through necessity. This paper applies place methodology to water stations for migrants left on the US-Mexico border by the organization Humane Borders. Humane Borders locates water barrels based on proximity to the border, migrant water consumption, and rates of vandalism of water stations. Overall, migrants can make place at water stations, decreasing the likelihood of water station relocation and increasing the chance of migrant hydration. Two research questions organize this paper: How are technical communicators predicting the best location for a water station? How can technical communicators better predict the next location for a place and lessen the frequency of relocation if a water station does not become a place to migrants? Place and space methodology asks the field to consider migrants as interlocutors between place and technical communicator to better (re)locate water stations and lessen the frequency of relocation. These questions are answered through a case study of two water stations where I find that when migrants recognize a water station as a place, it deters vandalism. Thus, technical communicators should especially promote place-making at frequently vandalized water stations.

Gabriel Lorenzo Aguilar is a PhD student at Penn State studying Rhetoric and Technical Communication. His main research interest is in humanitarian technical communication which asks the field to investigate the technical communication between humanitarian worker and the recipient of aid. Additional areas of focus for Gabe are in Chicanx, border, and feminist rhetorics.

Honorable Mention

The SIGDOC Conference Committee is also pleased to announce that the 2020 Honorable Mention in the Best Paper Award goes to “Preparing Future UX Professionals: Skills, Dispositions, and Competencies” by Emma Rose (University of Washington – Tacoma), Cynthia Putnam (DePaul University), and Craig M. McDonald (Pratt Institute). In this paper, Rose, Putnam & McDonald share research into skills that future UX professionals need. Their abstract reads as follows:

The field of user experience (UX) is growing and rapidly evolving. As instructors who teach in and help design UX programs for students in higher education, we are interested in developing compelling and relevant educational experiences for our students who aim to work as UX professionals. To gain a better understanding of the current expectations for working in the UX industry, we conducted 64 interviews with 71 senior UX industry professionals to learn about their current practices and their expectations of what skills new employees need to be successful working in UX. In this paper, we present a subset of findings from the study that focus on desired skills (both human and technical) and dispositions of UX employees. We discuss the implications of this research for teachers and students and a call for future work. 

2020 Diana Award Winner

WIDE (Writing, Information & Digital Experience) Research Center at Michigan State University

The WIDE (Writing, Information, and Digital Experience) Research Center at Michigan State University focuses on researching and innovating experiences for emerging technologies in the Digital Humanities, including uses of social user experiences to solve social, cultural, and political problems; ways of constructing computational analytics for improving persuasive communication, and the need to create new forms of public engagement and democratic practice on a global scale. Leading WIDE are Director Liza Potts and Senior Researchers Jeff Grabill and Bill Hart-Davidson. Visit WIDE online at wide.cal.msu.edu.

The Diana Award is named after Diana Patterson, past President of SIGDOC for three terms. The award is given to an organization, institution, or business for their long-term contribution to the field of communication design.

Screenshot of Michigan State's WIDE website. Shows a shot of the entry sign for Michigan State University along with an overlay for WIDE, the school logo, and a search bar