Participatory Design

24 Jan 2007 - 11:15am
7 years ago
20 replies
1109 reads
Vishal Subraman...
2005

Does anyone have experience using Participatory Design as a part of
the Design process? What are the pros n cons? One obvious problem is that
users typically even aren't able to express what they want, asking them to
contribute to the design might seem futile. And of course the argument of
letting experts do what they are best at. But are there scenarios where
Participatory Design can be used?

-Vishal
P.S: Any literature would be helpful too.

Comments

24 Jan 2007 - 11:29am
Phillip Hunter
2006

I lead a group of designers for which our Engineering team builds tools.
Design of those tools is quite interactive from requirements spec to
as-needed progress reviews. That interaction is critical.

So, I think one working scenario is a captive, limited set of users who are
getting a product built by a closely associated team. That's not very
scalable, but it works well for us. :)

Phillip

24 Jan 2007 - 11:33am
Dante Murphy
2006

Participatory design is practically a requirement when designing what I
call "expert systems". Think of designing the cockpit of a 767 without
speaking directly to a pilot...you wouldn't want to be on that flight, I
assure you.

Otherwise, I think participatory design should be governed by the same
principles as good market research; don't ask leading questions, and use
blinding where possible to improve test integrity.

_______________________________________
Dante Murphy | Director of Information Architecture
Medical Broadcasting Company | A D I G I T A S INC. COMPANY

<snip>

Does anyone have experience using Participatory Design as a part of
the Design process? What are the pros n cons? One obvious problem is
that
users typically even aren't able to express what they want, asking them
to
contribute to the design might seem futile. And of course the argument
of
letting experts do what they are best at. But are there scenarios where
Participatory Design can be used?

24 Jan 2007 - 11:51am
Ari
2006

many large companies design by committee, which is the same thing but called
by another name.

the pros:

- it gives everyone involved a sense that they have input and a say
- it maintains harmony due to the internal politics often involved
- once-in-a-great while, you get some really useful and meaningful
feedback and ideas

the cons:

- it draws out and often delays project/product roll outs before of
"too many chefs" - democracy works well to a point, after that, you need a
dictator or a small inner circle to get things done
- it doesn't usually work well for large groups - collaboration works
best with smaller groups that are armed with intimate knowledge of the
goals, tasks, deadlines and/or technical/implementation considerations
involved
- unless properly structured, it can lead to diffused feedback - e.g.
de-centralized, unorganized feedback that can be difficult to take in and
process, which leads to delays and omissions

On 1/24/07, Vishal Iyer <vishaliyer1 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Does anyone have experience using Participatory Design as a part of
> the Design process? What are the pros n cons? One obvious problem is that
> users typically even aren't able to express what they want, asking them to
> contribute to the design might seem futile. And of course the argument of
> letting experts do what they are best at. But are there scenarios where
> Participatory Design can be used?
>
> -Vishal
> P.S: Any literature would be helpful too.
> ________________________________________________________________
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24 Jan 2007 - 12:59pm
Jeff Howard
2004

For all the literature you could ever want on participatory design,
check out Elizabeth Sanders' website:
http://www.maketools.com/

She did a workshop at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Design
a few years ago where I first encountered the technique. She's also
spoken about this at About, With and For.

My impression is that participatory design is a useful supplement to
initial exploratory research and later evaluative research. The
technique takes as a given that people are actually more creative
than we give them credit for. If given the chance they can contribute
useful ideas to the design process. In my experience, it takes a fair
amount of reading between the lines, and inferring goals from what
people make.

Here's a potential scenario. You're designing a remote control and
your participant cobbles together their version out of the velcro
building blocks you provide. Their version isn't an industrial
design prototype, or even an interaction design prototype, but
talking with them about what buttons they choose to include and their
relative hierarchy and configuration does tell you a bit about what's
most important to them.

The act of making, the conversations it provokes and the frame of
mind it elicits it the participant are all beneficial to the design
process.

The cons are that some participatory methods are harder to interpret
than others. Collages are a fairly easy way to encourage the same
sort of reflection in participants, but there is a bit of art and
science to understanding the results. I believe that Sonic Rim had
databases full of the collage toolkits they use and pretty
sophisticated cross references for analysis. Without the right tools
to make sense of it all, the results may be less compelling.

Participatory design isn't a replacement for the knowledge and
experience of the designer. The participant designs that come out of
it aren't blueprints. But they can provide useful insights that
guide the design process at a critical stage.

24 Jan 2007 - 2:28pm
Vishal Subraman...
2005

Dante, Phillip and Suleman..right on. Guess you were all talking about the
same theme of using PD in the context of designing for highly specialized
users. I remember this coming up in a conversation I had a year or so ago
with another designer who was working with the design for an Automated
external defibrillator.

Ari, PD is not the same as Design by Committee...in PD, target users are
involved in the design of the product

24 Jan 2007 - 2:29pm
Vishal Subraman...
2005

Dante, Phillip and Suleman..right on. Guess you were all talking about the
same theme of using PD in the context of designing for highly specialized
users. I remember this coming up in a conversation I had a year or so ago
with another designer who was working with the design for an Automated
external defibrillator.

Ari, PD is not the same as Design by Committee...in PD, target users are
involved in the design of the product

24 Jan 2007 - 2:30pm
Ari
2006

sorry, i should have clarified what i meant. for clients i work with, the
design committee includes users of the product.

On 1/24/07, Vishal Iyer <vishaliyer1 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Dante, Phillip and Suleman..right on. Guess you were all talking about the
> same theme of using PD in the context of designing for highly specialized
> users. I remember this coming up in a conversation I had a year or so ago
> with another designer who was working with the design for an Automated
> external defibrillator.
>
> Ari, PD is not the same as Design by Committee...in PD, target users are
> involved in the design of the product
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
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----------------------------------------------------------------
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24 Jan 2007 - 2:43pm
Mark Schraad
2006

I have also heard this called a "lead user research" process. But my understanding is that the real outcome is insight through the active eyes of the user... not necessarily a new or usable design.

On Wednesday, January 24, 2007, at 02:28PM, "Vishal Iyer" <vishaliyer1 at gmail.com> wrote:
>Dante, Phillip and Suleman..right on. Guess you were all talking about the
>same theme of using PD in the context of designing for highly specialized
>users. I remember this coming up in a conversation I had a year or so ago
>with another designer who was working with the design for an Automated
>external defibrillator.
>

24 Jan 2007 - 2:43pm
Vishal Subraman...
2005

Jeff,

> In my experience, it takes a fair
> amount of reading between the lines, and inferring goals from what
> people make.

> The participant designs that come out of
> it aren't blueprints. But they can provide useful insights that
> guide the design process at a critical stage.

What you have written is closer in principal to user centered design (which
I'm some variations or other most of us use) as opposed to participatory
design.

The basic premise of PD is:
"View every participant in a PD project as an expert in what they do, as a
stakeholder whose voice needs to be heard" (
http://cpsr.org/issues/pd/introInfo)

-Vishal

On 1/24/07, Jeff Howard <id at howardesign.com> wrote:
>
> For all the literature you could ever want on participatory design,
> check out Elizabeth Sanders' website:
> http://www.maketools.com/
>
> She did a workshop at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Design
> a few years ago where I first encountered the technique. She's also
> spoken about this at About, With and For.
>
> My impression is that participatory design is a useful supplement to
> initial exploratory research and later evaluative research. The
> technique takes as a given that people are actually more creative
> than we give them credit for. If given the chance they can contribute
> useful ideas to the design process. In my experience, it takes a fair
> amount of reading between the lines, and inferring goals from what
> people make.
>
> Here's a potential scenario. You're designing a remote control and
> your participant cobbles together their version out of the velcro
> building blocks you provide. Their version isn't an industrial
> design prototype, or even an interaction design prototype, but
> talking with them about what buttons they choose to include and their
> relative hierarchy and configuration does tell you a bit about what's
> most important to them.
>
> The act of making, the conversations it provokes and the frame of
> mind it elicits it the participant are all beneficial to the design
> process.
>
> The cons are that some participatory methods are harder to interpret
> than others. Collages are a fairly easy way to encourage the same
> sort of reflection in participants, but there is a bit of art and
> science to understanding the results. I believe that Sonic Rim had
> databases full of the collage toolkits they use and pretty
> sophisticated cross references for analysis. Without the right tools
> to make sense of it all, the results may be less compelling.
>
> Participatory design isn't a replacement for the knowledge and
> experience of the designer. The participant designs that come out of
> it aren't blueprints. But they can provide useful insights that
> guide the design process at a critical stage.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

24 Jan 2007 - 2:52pm
Brett Williams
2006

Another similar buzzword from a few years ago - Joint Application
Development (JAD) . . . get the entire development team as well as
target users involved in the requirements/design process.

bw

On Jan 24, 2007, at 2:28 PM, Vishal Iyer wrote:

> Dante, Phillip and Suleman..right on. Guess you were all talking
> about the
> same theme of using PD in the context of designing for highly
> specialized
> users. I remember this coming up in a conversation I had a year or
> so ago
> with another designer who was working with the design for an Automated
> external defibrillator.
>
> Ari, PD is not the same as Design by Committee...in PD, target
> users are
> involved in the design of the product
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

24 Jan 2007 - 4:10pm
Jeff Howard
2004

Vishal,

I think we're dealing with an overlap of terms that are similar in
spirit but that perhaps differ in domain. Sanders has been writing
about participatory design since at least the late nineties.

In 1999, in Postdesign and Participatory Culture she wrote that the
emergence of a participatory culture in design:

"...emphasizes the direct and active participation of all
stakeholders in the design development process. This makes the
deliverables of design more meaningful to the people who will
ultimately benefit from them."

In 2002, she laid out the distinction between UCD and Participatory
Design in From User-Centered to Participatory Design Approaches:

"There is a shift in perspective occurring today at the
collaborative edge of design and social
science. It is a change from a user-centered design process to that
of participatory
experiences. It is a shift in attitude from designing *for* users to
one of designing *with* users..." (her emphasis).

And in 2005 she expanded on that distinction in Information,
Inspiration and Co-creation

"We are experiencing today the co-evolution of two distinct
approaches to human-centered
design research in practice: research that informs the design
development process and
research that inspires the design development process."

I don't want to come off as more of an advocate for Participatory
Design than I am, but Sanders' writing is worth checking out, if
only for an alternate perspective on the subject.

24 Jan 2007 - 10:26pm
Jeff Axup
2006

Dear all,

My doctoral research utilized collaborative design methods and touches on
participatory design. While I am by no means an expert on the topic, part of
my literature review for my thesis discusses PD in the 'related theories and
frameworks' section. I've pasted in this section below as it may be useful
for understanding some of the origins of the movement and what it means for
contemporary software design. I should also note that the term
"participatory" doesn't have a well agreed upon definition (by PD
practitioners/researchers), many people have very strict definitions of what
"is and isn't", and I've seen the term used very loosely by some without any
understanding that it is a type of software development with a good 30+ year
history (however, I'm not saying this is bad as the definition may be
changing).

Here's the thesis section:

Participatory Design

Participatory design (PD) comes from Scandinavian software development
traditions which originated as a product of the local culture during the
1950s. Denmark, Norway and Sweden have long traditions of social democracy,
egalitarianism and cooperation for the common good (Floyd et al., 1989).
Unions formed during the industrial revolution to protect worker rights.
Early PD was a political move to legally require worker participation in
determining changes in the workplace (Helander, Landauer, & Prabhu, 1997, p.
303). Consequently, early Scandinavian software development began in a
context where workers had the legal authority and interest to co-determine
their own future workplaces and processes (Greenbaum & Kyng, 1991, p.11).
Strong ties developed between business, researchers and unions to cooperate
in the design of new computer systems. In this environment PD formed as the
de-facto ideological theory guiding the software design process.

Much of the theoretical foundation for PD lies in the desire to avoid what
were considered the de-humanising effects of the industrial revolution and
capitalism in general. Consequently the methods used have a political intent
to avoid deskilling of workers and form democratic workplaces and technology
development. There are also parallels between PD theory and Luddite
perspectives on technology development. During the Industrial Revolution in
England, a group of factory workers came to be known as Luddites after they
destroyed automation machinery which they believed would replace them (Darvall,
1969). Neo-luddites are sceptical of the benefits of modern technologies and
often advocate a return to a more 'natural' existence which values human
quality of life and uses simpler forms of technology (London, 1997).
Similarly PD seeks to manage technological introduction in the workplace and
maintain quality of life for workers who will be affected by it. See Section
6.7 for a more detailed discussion of the Luddites and what can be learned
from them about the politics of modern design processes.

PD emphasises that the development process greatly influences products being
designed. It focuses on the social aspects of organisations and aims to
support cooperative work processes. Designers play a less privileged role
since they share control of the resulting design with potential users.
Specific goals of PD include participation of stakeholders with different
areas of expertise, prototyping of ideas and codetermination of technologies
and work practices.

PD theory can be applied both to product development processes and methods.
In both cases it has distinct differences from traditional western software
development. western software engineering commonly uses: fixed requirements,
temporal phases, requirements documents, methods which dictate work
practice, validating correctness, formal language and distribution of
programming tasks (Floyd et al., 1989). This contrasts with the Scandinavian
perspective which is cyclical, informal, holistic, cooperative and
evolutionary. During its development PD specifically focussed on providing
an alternative to rational methods used in the west. PD theorists viewed
task, user and environmental modelling as reductionist methods of portraying
users and work which did not contribute to development of humane
technologies (Helander et al., 1997). PD practice, and the development
environment which it is used within, has changed over the course of 50
years. A short selection of well known PD research is provided below to give
a flavour for how the research is structured and its origins.

Now thought to be a subset of user centred design (UCD) (see Section 2.5.1),
PD generally advocates increased involvement of project stakeholders
(particularly users) in all stages of product development. Modern PD
typically engages users that will be affected by a technology under
development, and uses extensive iterative prototyping with them. In this way
the potential future use of a technology can be envisioned in the
environment where it will be introduced and used. Development usually
proceeds in a fashion overseen and supported by the intended users.

The UTOPIA project is a good example of this. It involved typographers and
journalists in the design of a new system of technologies to support
newspaper production (Ehn & Kyng, 1991). It made extensive use of cardboard
and paper mock-ups of various future technologies such as high-resolution
screens and laser printers. Language games and hands-on interaction with
designs were used to help create a system where journalists and typographers
could peacefully co-exist while improving product quality. Similar research
has used mock-ups with different degrees of fidelity to support design
discussions and development of industrial products for the food industry
(for more about prototypes see Section 2.6.4) (Brandt, 2005b).

A variety of recent research utilises a participatory approach. One study
utilised workshops with high-school students to help design a museums
exhibition. Another project looked at helping community groups design and
maintain technologies to support their activities (Merkel et al., 2004).
Some of the disadvantages of using PD are addressed in a paper describing
research with a social service agency (Luke et al., 2004).

Given the focus on understanding social systems in the workplace, it is not
surprising that ethnographic and in-situ techniques are commonly used. Video
taken in the workplace is commonly used to help inform design (Buur &
Soendergaard, 2000; Suchman & Trigg, 1991). It is also common to do field
visits or develop product designs in the workplace. Workshops or focus
groups, which are often held on-site, are also frequently used as a method
to co-develop designs. These often utilise low-fidelity prototyping
materials or design games (Brandt & Messeter, 2004).
There is also a different variation of PD which refers to end-user
programming or customisation. Several papers have addressed whether
end-users should be given the ability to program or modify existing software
programs for specific purposes (Gammack, 2002; Wagner, 2002). From this
perspective, users of programs such as Excel have the ability to design
portions of the software's functionality themselves, through methods such as
scripting. The research results are mixed. Some indicate that end users do
not have the training to program and that programs offering modification
facilities are too complex and have poor usability (Wagner, 2002). Others
indicate that it enables end-users to do operations that were not designed
for them and supports expert users (Gammack, 2002).

PD theory and methods are now being used in different cultural, temporal and
physical contexts from their origins. Many modern development environments
do not have unions, are not in industrial settings and involve political
agendas to a lesser degree. Fortunately UCD, which is an established
industry development framework, also highly values user participation in
development processes. Thus there is currently a process of reviewing PD
theory and methods to determine what is appropriate for modern development
projects (Shapiro, 1994). Novel methods of designing with users, ways of
understanding future work processes, and iterative prototyping are
participatory techniques likely to be integrated into mainstream UCD.

--
Best Regards,
Jeff
____________________________________________________________________________
Jeff Axup Ph.D. Candidate - University of Queensland, Brisbane,
Australia
Principal Consultant, Mobile Community Design Consulting

Research: Mobile Group Research Methods, Social Networks, Group Usability
E-mail: axup <at> userdesign.com
Blog: http://mobilecommunitydesign.com
Moblog: http://memeaddict.blogspot.com
Academic: http://www.infenv.itee.uq.edu.au
____________________________________________________________________________

On 1/24/07, Jeff Howard <id at howardesign.com> wrote:
>
> Vishal,
>
> I think we're dealing with an overlap of terms that are similar in
> spirit but that perhaps differ in domain. Sanders has been writing
> about participatory design since at least the late nineties.
>
> In 1999, in Postdesign and Participatory Culture she wrote that the
> emergence of a participatory culture in design:
>
> "...emphasizes the direct and active participation of all
> stakeholders in the design development process. This makes the
> deliverables of design more meaningful to the people who will
> ultimately benefit from them."
>
> In 2002, she laid out the distinction between UCD and Participatory
> Design in From User-Centered to Participatory Design Approaches:
>
> "There is a shift in perspective occurring today at the
> collaborative edge of design and social
> science. It is a change from a user-centered design process to that
> of participatory
> experiences. It is a shift in attitude from designing *for* users to
> one of designing *with* users..." (her emphasis).
>
> And in 2005 she expanded on that distinction in Information,
> Inspiration and Co-creation
>
> "We are experiencing today the co-evolution of two distinct
> approaches to human-centered
> design research in practice: research that informs the design
> development process and
> research that inspires the design development process."
>
> I don't want to come off as more of an advocate for Participatory
> Design than I am, but Sanders' writing is worth checking out, if
> only for an alternate perspective on the subject.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

25 Jan 2007 - 1:22am
Jeff Howard
2004

Wow Jeff, thanks. This is great!

Jeff Axup wrote:
> My doctoral research utilized collaborative design methods and
touches on participatory design. While I am by no means an expert on
the topic, part of my literature review for my thesis discusses PD in
the 'related theories and frameworks' section.

25 Jan 2007 - 6:57am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 24 Jan 2007, at 19:52, Brett Williams wrote:

> Another similar buzzword from a few years ago - Joint Application
> Development (JAD) . . . get the entire development team as well as
> target users involved in the requirements/design process.

And yet another is the "whole team" concept you see in agile methods
- which has some of the same ideas as the PD approach.

I find it odd that people often seem to switch from user/developer
involvement in projects to a fear of design by committee, which is
more an issue about accountability and responsibility.

Cheers,

Adrian

25 Jan 2007 - 8:13am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 25 Jan 2007, at 03:26, Jeff Axup wrote:
[snip]
> Here's the thesis section:
[snip]

Nice. Thanks.

There's a bunch of good references on the wikipedia page <http://
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_Design>

(Jeff - you might want to consider adding some of your text - useful
stuff :-)

Cheers,

Adrian

25 Jan 2007 - 9:46am
Vishal Subraman...
2005

Thanks for the info Jeff!

Here is another take on the history of PD.

http://hci.stanford.edu/bds/14-p-partic.html

The field of participatory design grew out of work beginning in the early
1970s in Norway, when computer professionals worked with members of the Iron
and Metalworkers Union to enable the workers to have more influence on the
design and introduction of computer systems into the workplace. Kristen
Nygaard—who was well known for his computer-science research as codeveloper
of SIMULA, the first object-oriented language—collaborated with union
leaders and members, to create a national *codetermination agreement*, which
specified the rights of unions to participate in the design and deployment
decisions around new workplace technology.

In the following decades, several projects in Scandinavia set out to find
the most effective ways for computer-system designers to collaborate with
worker organizations to develop systems that most effectively promoted the
quality of work life. The DEMOS project, conducted in Sweden in the second
half of the 1970s, involved an interdisciplinary team of researchers from
the fields of computer science, sociology, economics, and engineering.
Sponsored by the Swedish Trade Union Federation, its focus was "trade
unions, industrial democracy, and computers" (Ehn, 1992, p. 107).
Researchers worked with union members at a locomotive repair shop, a daily
newspaper, a metalworking plant, and a department store.

On 1/25/07, Adrian Howard <adrianh at quietstars.com> wrote:
>
>
> On 25 Jan 2007, at 03:26, Jeff Axup wrote:
> [snip]
> > Here's the thesis section:
> [snip]
>
> Nice. Thanks.
>
> There's a bunch of good references on the wikipedia page <http://
> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_Design>
>
> (Jeff - you might want to consider adding some of your text - useful
> stuff :-)
>
> Cheers,
>
> Adrian
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
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>

25 Jan 2007 - 11:26am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> I find it odd that people often seem to switch from user/developer
> involvement in projects to a fear of design by committee, which is
> more an issue about accountability and responsibility.

I agree. The problem with committee situations is that, very often, no one
is delegated to lead the committee. Without a lead to keep things focused
and drive results, and without a defined goal and deliverable (which also
happens a lot), you fall into the trap of getting everyone to simply
"agree", which just turns the whole thing into a festival for idiocy.

-r-

25 Jan 2007 - 2:30pm
Mitchell Gass
2004

I'm a bit late to this thread; in case they haven't been mentioned:

- The Participatory Design Conference (PDC) sponsored by Computer
Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) has been held every
other year since 1990.

http://www.cpsr.org/act/events/pdc

The most recent was last year in Trento, Italy.

http://www.pdc2006.org/

Proceedings from some of the past conferences may still be available from CPSR.

- The Participatory Design Bibliography prepared by Andrew Clement
for the PDC has been incorporated into a more general Design Bibliography wiki:

Wiki: http://bibwiki.com/wiki/design
Bibliography: http://bibwiki.com/wiki/design?action=BibIndex

- There is an introduction to a participatory design method I use in
my work, called The Bridge, at

http://www.participatorydesign.com/BridgeIntro.pdf [PDF; 65 KB]

It combines task analysis, identification of users' mental models,
low-fidelity prototyping, and usability testing into a single,
continuous process. For certain kinds of applications - in particular
those don't require a great deal of contextual research or
innovations in interaction style - it can be very efficient.

Regards,

Mitchell Gass
uLab | PDA: Learning from Users | Designing with Users
Berkeley, CA 94707 USA
+1 510 525-6864 voice
+1 510 525-4246 fax
http://www.participatorydesign.com/

25 Jan 2007 - 12:23pm
Adrian Howard
2005

On 25 Jan 2007, at 16:26, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:
[snip]
> I agree. The problem with committee situations is that, very often,
> no one is delegated to lead the committee. Without a lead to keep
> things focused and drive results, and without a defined goal and
> deliverable (which also happens a lot), you fall into the trap of
> getting everyone to simply "agree", which just turns the whole
> thing into a festival for idiocy.
[snip]

Of course there are problems at the other extreme when somebody
"leads" by only listening to what they want to hear and imposing
their decision on everybody else.

Adrian

25 Jan 2007 - 3:59pm
gretchen anderson
2005

On 25 Jan 2007, at 16:26, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:
[snip]
> I agree. The problem with committee situations is that...

One way to look at this is not as "design by committee" but rather
design research that involves people using a variety of methods to
comment on design concpets and extend them. I've never seen it as a
replacement for the good ol' design process, just an input.

PD gives you a different kind of insight than when you show concepts to
focus groups or individuals. Not necessarily better, just different.
Especially effective when working with kids or in highly-specialized
domains where simply giving reactions a voice over is limiting. I've
found kids and teens to be reluctant/not used to giving opinions. This
gives them a way to "warm up".

Similarly, in highly specialized domains it gives subject matter experts
tools to communicate their arcania at a time when you might not have
enough shared vocabulary.

That said you still want a really good moderator/facilitator to address
the "group think" issues raised by Robert and Adrian.

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