Define 19

Participatory Design

Creating a design means making a lot of assumptions about what users are thinking and feeling. Creating a great design means validating those assumptions with actual users. In the discover phase, this can be done through immersion and user interviews. In later phases, the process of participatory design can be used not only to confirm or disprove assumptions but also to discover aspects of users’ experiences you may not yet have considered.

Participatory design or co-design brings users into the design process with the intention of better understanding their needs and priorities. This input helps to build confidence in a design and to make better-informed decisions. While participatory design is most commonly done with existing or potential users, it could also be used to get into the minds of experts and stakeholders.

The collaborative activities of participatory design can be used to achieve many goals. In early phases, you might work with users to use their experience to generate new ideas, while in later phases you might enlist users to help refine a feature set or even to design their ideal product.

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Connected Bicycle

CityBike worked with users to design their ideal bike display based on a series of features. Users could also add their own features. To warm users up, each session began with a ten-minute session of city bicycling.

Personal Intelligence

Ambience Mirror

Ambience Mirror asked users to sort a series of feature cards by which were important and which weren’t. Each user was allowed to choose up to ten features for the important bucket. Users described their choices throughout the process.