Greg Walsh


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Participatory Design, its meanings and subsets

Tuesday March 19, 2013

Estimated Reading Time: Less than one minutes

Participatory Design is this big giant concept that people have the right to have a say in design of things that affect them best illustrated by the now mythical newspaper workers of Sweden in the late 70's/early 80's [zotpressInText item="{N6KKMBTV}"].

Co-design has come to mean two things but everything I have written and especially our FACIT PD article$[zotpressInText item="{DZ7II994}"]'says it is a subset of PD where you work with the targeted users in the design of a thing. In essence, PD and Co-Design are synonymous except the concept of a right. In practice, PD has been bastardized to mean ANY time you work with people (seriously) so focus groups, interviews, and I've even seen testing as being labeled PD. (I once reviewed a paper where experts sat around and pretended to be users and called that PD). Most of the popular child-computer interaction design research lives within the co-design space. (The second meaning for co-design is that people work together to design something so in some hierarchies, PD is a subset of co-design. This is why it is always important to describe your definitions at the beginning.)

Methods like Cooperative Inquiry [zotpressInText item="{R6T37557}"], Informant Design [zotpressInText item="{K9SHS829}"], and Bonded Design [zotpressInText item="{JIU6PZT5}"]$are squarely co-design. Other activities can be co-design as well [zotpressInText item="{2FT9KT2K}"]$and architecture and urban planning have brought us lots of examples of this (e.g. charrettes).


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