FP5: Participations’ Scope

What constitutes an outcome and an enabler, evaluation strategies, limits to expectations; including contributions that question what qualifies as participation and to whom; how PD has been assessed against its original aims and implications of its accountability credentials; how the boundaries of PD initiatives relate to scope, expectations and are characterized as fluid; and looks at claims for the practice of making as a particular enabler of certain participatory values and practices.

Friday, 19. August, 11.00 – 12.30
Peter Bøgh Andersen Auditorium, Nygaard
Chair: Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Namibia University of Science and Technology

What is a participatory design result?

Tone Bratteteig, University of Oslo, Norway
Ina Wagner, University of Oslo, Norway

Abstract: In this paper we discuss what the result of a Participatory Design (PD) process is and how it can be described and evaluated. We look at several PD projects and discuss if they have a participatory result and how we know that it is participatory. We also ask if the users recognize their contribution, and if the designers have to ‘take side’. We also identify impediments to achieving a participatory result, looking at issues like: conflicting views that are difficult to voice, issues that are difficult to negotiate, how real-life complexities cannot be addressed in the project (or by the artifact). These issues are linked to earlier discussions on power and politics in PD. We conclude that achieving a participatory design result is important in PD and gives meaning and direction to PD processes.

Evaluation in Participatory Design: A literature survey

Claus Bossen, Aarhus University, Denmark
Christian Dindler, Aarhus University, Denmark
Ole Sejer Iversen, Aarhus University, Denmark

Abstract: This paper focuses on evaluation in Participatory Design (PD), and especially upon how the central aims of mutual learning, empowerment, democracy and workplace quality have been assessed. We surveyed all Participatory Design Conference papers (1990-2014) and papers from special journal issues on PD, focusing on systematic, explicit evaluations. The survey resulted in 143 papers of which 66 were deemed relevant. Of these, 17 papers deal with evaluation of the above mentioned aims. Based on evaluation theory, we propose seven key questions through which to characterize evaluations in PD and analyze the 17 papers. Our analysis reveals that formal evaluations of PD’s aims are rare; generally lack details on methods; are researcher- and not participant-led, and that a corpus of work around evaluations needs to be developed. We suggest more explicit, systematic evaluations of PD’s central aims to enhance accountability, learning and knowledge building, and to strengthen PD internally and externally.

Co-Design in the Wild: A Case Study on Meme Creation Tools

Monica Maceli, Pratt Institute School of Information, New York, NY, United States 

Abstract: The internet meme has become a vital form of self-expression in social communities throughout the Internet. The tools facilitating meme-creation, specifically image macros, have been little-studied but endow non-technical users with the ability to create the multi-layered graphics typical to such memes. The use of these creativity tools provides a unique setting in which to explore the concept of co-design, wherein tools are shaped in response to emergent user needs. Users and designers of meme-creation tools have evolved ways of collaborating and communicating over time, in a fully naturalistic setting. This study explores these processes through survey and interviews of tool designer/developers and an analysis of users’ design ideas generated over time. The study finds that, while co-design may be commonly practiced today, these activities raise numerous challenges to participatory design, including: creating trust between designers and users, managing unwieldy system growth, and supporting features specific to aspiring end-user crafters.

Legitimacy, boundary objects and participation in transnational DIY biology

Cindy Kaiying Lin, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States of America Silvia Lindtner, University of Michigan, United States of America    

Abstract: Prior research has stipulated that DIY making appeals to many of the concerns central to participatory design: democratization of technology production, individual empowerment and inclusivity. In this paper, we take this stipulation as the starting point of our inquiry, exploring how it happened that making came to be seen as enabler of participatory values and practices. We draw from ethnographic research that followed a transnational collaboration between DIY biologists, scientists, makers, and artists from Indonesia, Europe and India. The paper focuses on the production of three artifacts, tracing their enactment as boundary objects and experimentation in DIY biology. The artifacts did not only help legitimize DIYbio, but also positioned Indonesia itself as a legitimate participant in international networks of knowledge production. The paper contributes to prior research that has challenged stable frames like West/the rest. It draws out a positionality for PD that opens up making by recognizing its multiplicity crucial to the making of alternative and never stable futures.