Evaluation of an External Master’s Thesis

Title of the Work: “Pictogram System to Resolve Language Barriers in Medical Communication,  Investigation, Diagnosis and Treatment”

Student’s name: Vikram Mallik Bendapud

University: University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning

Date: April 2017

I’ve chosen to analyze this work because it deals with a topic that I find relevant for my research. It enters the field of Participatory Design and covers some aspects of Communication Barriers, I am also interested in. The author describes his work as an attempt to develop a system that improves communication through visual language in a medical context to be used in the Indian subcontinent. He mentions cases where a medical practitioner has to communicate with a low-literacy level, migrant patient, or those who do not speak a common language, where this project has to come up with the visual aids to be given to the patient, in order to explain his/her condition resulting in a collaborative effort with a practitioner.

Level of Design

The work has a simple layout, with a clear structure that leads the eye easily through important sections. Titles, as well as subtitles, are bolded, noticeable, and the running text is legible, with carefully considered spacing and row length, I would say. The simplicity of the layout ensures a comfortable reading flow. Different parts of chapters are divided with numbers and dots, which gives the reader precise insights into the main parts of the work. Between every chapter, there is a blank page with its title, which also separates the different sections. Graphics are placed mostly at the bottom of the text, or on a separate page, yet some of them are pixelated, which leads to the impression of insufficient material preparation.

The work does get a little bit messy at the end – in the Appendices part, since it contains numerous examples of scanned sheets used during the participatory design sessions.

Outline and Structure

The work is structured in a very nice way, giving a clear overview of the most important parts. The sequence of the chapters is logical, so the reader can easily follow.

Degree of Innovation

It is hard to estimate the degree of Innovation within this work. The author mentions one similar project which was testing the theory of icons being used as a replacement for written words in the medical field, from which his project obtained ist stylistic quality and design elements from. On the other hand, the way in which testing and development of the existing system were performed, as well as the representation of results, can be considered as very innovative. The author himself says that the present scope of the project was not to find a final design solution, than to lay the groundwork for future design improvements, evolution, and application, which, in my opinion, he has managed to do.


The independent implementation of the work is also hard to evaluate. Considering there are not many works and projects, except the one already mentioned, which handles this problem, I think it is already a certain dose of independence in the work. The author gives his opinion in most cases, but also uses quotes, and mentions various theories and researches.

Degree of Communication

I would classify the degree of communication through the work as average. The language that the author uses is easy to understand, he uses terms and design terms, in the appropriate measure. The situation and the design problems are described in a comprehensible way.

Scope of Work

The work has a total of 224 pages, which I found extensive, and hard to follow after a while, but considering the design problem and the whole participatory design process which was being conducted, I understand that it took a lot of explanation, especially in chapter 5, where we see the icon and system development.


I would not rate this criterion as being on a high level, since as soon as I started to read, I noticed some missing letters, on the second page already.  As I went further, I noticed other spelling mistakes.


There are 22 sources mentioned in the literature list, while 6 of them are online sources.

The work is available under the following web address: