Use of Rhetoric for HCI/UX Pedagogy and Analysis

In this paper, we introduce a first pass of a rhetorical handbook intended for UI/UX designers. This handbook is based on an earlier version for graphic designers, introduced by Ehses & Lupton in 1988, in which diverse rhetorical concepts are illustrated through graphic work. For the UI/UX version, we examined desktop, web and mobile interfaces in order to illustrate the same concepts. In this first pass, we observe that the three modes of appeal (i.e., pathos, ethos and logos) fluctuate throughout the user experience. Additionally, we learned that rhetorical operations aid describing the adjustments made on an interface to work in different platforms. Further, the rhetorical figures (tropes and schemes) help to describe conceptually the interface’s composition and interactions. The concepts presented in the handbook provide a framework to examine and critique user interfaces, through which the disciplines of user experience and rhetoric connect.


Sosa-Tzec, O., Siegel, M.A., & Brown, P. (2015). Exploration of Rhetorical Appeals, Operations and Figures in UI/UX Design. In Proc. LearnxDesign 2015, The 3d International Conference for Design Education Researchers. USA: DRS//Cumulus//Design-Ed.