Regarding rich pictures as tools for communication in information systems development.

Malcolm Bronte-Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The literature contains many examples and discussions of what it calls ‘rich pictures’. There has been considerable debate about the nature of rich pictures and their inception and use as part of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) and their consequent use outwith the methodology. Guidelines offered for their construction have been varied and often criticised by those advocating what may be referred to as the SSM ‘purist’ view of the process of developing rich pictures and their role as part of a process of appreciating some situation of interest. However, the seeming popularity of ‘rich pictures’, and the fact that they are often considered to be the most memorable and reusable part of SSM, has led to their use in all sorts of situations but of particular interest is their use in the field of information Systems Analysis. It is not the intention in this paper to argue the basis and foundation of rich pictures. Instead, the intention is to explore the diversity and use of diagrams referred to as rich pictures, to examine some published advice for building rich pictures and to comment on rich pictures as tools for expressing and communicating views and ideas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-103
Number of pages21
JournalComputing and Information Systems Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 1999


  • Rich pictures
  • systems thinking


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