Participatory Design at a distance


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Publication 1-year master student thesis
Title Participatory Design at a distance
Author Haglund, Chomphunut
Date 2013
English abstract
Participatory design approach emphasizes user involvement to contribute to interactive systems throughout the design process. The potential user participates in many activities in different physical meetings and workshops. This approach helps the designers to develop better tools to support users work but it is difficult to get them to co-design at the same place and time for many reasons. I have also experienced this kind of difficulty in the school projects involving users in the design process. Many new technologies nowadays have been introduced and used for different purposes so I have asked myself how I can use this to get control over this kind of difficulty. And how to bring people together online to co- design instead of having any physical workshops. Today, many online technologies are used to facilitate PD activities and bring the potential users together regardless of time and space. Some researchers have investigated online media platforms that people are familiar with, for example Facebook to reach their users. Some of them use online tools developed for conducting participatory design online. This study investigates how to design remote/online meeting formats to engage people with different media habits in the early stages of participatory design to get inspiration for redesigning a website. It is very important for a participatory design at a distance to understand and adapt to individual media habits and technological skills because this aspect is crucial for the success of bringing the participants together online and persuade them to contribute including making them willing to involve and perform their online work tasks. The project facilitator should get to know already in the beginning of the project about different communication ways that each participant prefers and usually uses in their daily life. To make sure that the facilitator can reach the potential users and bring them to collaborate online and give their contribution to a design in time. This study shows also that the relation between the participants and the temple or the facilitator is crucial for the success of getting them to contribute. Another aspect that the facilitator needs to take into account is to know about the users’ technological background. This can be used as basic information to choose online tools or media platforms to design online meeting formats to engage people in the design process. The tools that match the participants’ skills make them focus more on their work tasks rather than technical issues. But even if someone has high computer skills, it does not mean that he wants to work with whatever tools in some online activities, the facilitator has to adapt according to what they prefer or give them choices and flexibility. In addition, it is not enough only to observe and provide different channels for the participants to get feedback. It is hard to observe people working online and not everyone says what they think to the facilitator. To know how the users interact with and think about different online meeting formats during the design project by doing feedback interview after each PD stage helps the facilitator to improve online meeting formats for the next steps. The facilitator gets possibilities to repeat and clarify some issues during the project, encourages the participant to continue or contribute more, and prepares them for the next steps. The participants get better understanding of the project and motivation to move on.
Publisher Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle
Pages 176
Language eng (iso)
Subject participatory design online, online meeting formats, media habits, PD early stages, web redesign
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