I was lucky enough to attend VisionPlus XIX which was held directly after the IIID Summer School. VisionPlus XIX is the 19th conference hosted by the International Institute for Information Design (IIID). This year it was held in Vienna and had a range of guest speakers from around the world discussing the topic of ‘Information Design for Healthcare’.

Information Design + Accessibility

There were lots of excellent speakers who were sharing successful re-designs, research into how design affects healthcare and ways to improve accessibility so more people can safely use medicines. A standout presentation for me was Claudine Jaenichen’s talk on ‘Information Design + Accessibility.’ It covered how important it was to ensure accessibility is at the forefront of all designs by offering alternative formats to accommodate all types of users. This is an aspect of design which I tend to only consider at a surface level (such as type size and contrast). But this presentation went deeper, it reminded me there are many more tools to improve accessibility such as sign language videos, image descriptions for screen readers and keyboard utilisation for those with lower motor skills.


Interpreting the Skull and Crossbones

It was useful to immediately chat about the presentations with senior experts while it was fresh in my mind. Each presentation would prompt people to share their experiences that related to the topic. The most memorable discussion was after Sue Perks gave a talk about ‘The skull and crossbones symbol – poison or pirates?’ with people sharing their understanding of the symbol for poison based on where they were from in the world. For example, I learned that poison was represented differently around the world; with it being a skull in the west, a scorpion in the middle east and a snake in other eastern countries.

This highlights how context is so important in making sure that symbols communicate the right thing to all audiences. Another point raised after the talk was about how these symbols may lose context because of usage in other media and their abundance in other countries.

Career ‘Speed Dating’

I find that connections and collaborations often fuel creativity, so I really enjoyed the career-based ‘speed dating’ event at the end of the first conference day. People were paired up, with each round lasting 15 minutes, creating a fast-paced environment that encouraged concise yet impactful conversations. With each rotation, I got the chance to meet and interact with a diverse range of professionals, including information designers, lecturers, industrial lawyers, and more! It was a unique opportunity to exchange insights, gain fresh perspectives, and find potential collaborators or mentors.

Awards Ceremony

The event concluded with an awards ceremony. It was a celebration of the best information design projects of the last 3 years and how the work had contributed to bettering society. There were many excellent projects across a variety of categories such as climate change, wayfinding, social affairs and other topics related to communities and the public.


Vienna was an amazing destination for my first trip abroad for work. The city was a pleasant change with its towering baroque architecture, art museum hotspots and exciting street life.

During the conference, networking and hearing from experts really helped me to expand my view on research and how to do more with design. At the awards ceremony, I really enjoyed seeing the passion the information designers had for their projects, and watching their excitement at their work being recognised.

Thanks again to TDL for giving me this opportunity to attend both the IIID summer school and VisionPlus XIX conference!

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