Participatory design (originally co-operative design, now often co-design) is an approach to design attempting to actively involve all stakeholders (e.g. employees, partners, customers, citizens, end users) in the design process to help ensure the result meets their needs and is usable.

  • A human-centered approach advocating codesign engagement with users and stakeholders
  • Participatory design has its roots in Scandinavia in the 1970s, where computer professionals worked with unions to integrate new technology into the workplace.
  • Participatory design encompasses several methods, unified by face-to-face contact in activity-based codesign engagements.
  • Methods include cultural probes, diary studies, photo studies, collage, flexible modeling, role-playing, creative tool kits, and design workshops.
  • Participatory design respects the creative insight of participants to inspire and help guide the design process and to respond to design outcomes.
  • A framework of participatory design describes the form of method or technique (making, telling, and enacting) and purpose.
  • Purposes are probing participants for self-discovery, priming for further participation, understanding current experience, and generation of future scenarios and concepts.

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