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What is participatory design?

Sheza Naveed

Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

Participatory design is an approach that involves stakeholders in the early stages of the design process to understand their needs better and thus design better. It allows a more user-centered approach as it allows a more explorative atmosphere. It allows:

  • co-creation
  • brainstorming

Advantages of participatory design

Participatory design allows:

  • Better understanding of a given problem.
  • Clarifies the difference in user’s statements and actions.
  • At times users are reluctant to share information or are unable to convey themselves properly. Participatory design solves this problem as such information is implicitly revealed when users participate in the design process.

Process of participatory design

There is no strict process or tools to be used in participatory design. It can be done with pen and paper if it’s a website, sticky notes if it’s about generating ideas and bricks, and other material if it’s about building something tangible. The researchers can use innovations and different materials to make the workshop interesting. The participatory workshops should not be restricted to the materials mentioned above.

Participatory design session in progress. Source: Point Jupiter

Participatory design is not:

  • a hack to shift one’s tasks to users
  • a rigid process

Example

In the paper Participatory Design of VR Scenarios for Exposure Therapy by Eiving Flobak et al., the researchers carried out multiple participatory design workshops to find effective methods and tools for exposure therapy.

An equirectangular snapshot fromThe introduction round.This snapshot is cropped vertically for appearances

Participatory design workshop #1:

  1. Participants were given a presentation to inspire thought and to familiarize them with the environment.
  2. Ideation phase that lasted 45 mins. Two ideas were developed in this.
  3. Feedback from facilitators and co-participants.
  4. 360 videos of the finalized design idea were made.

Participatory design workshop #2:

  1. Evaluation of each other’s prototypes
  2. Joint viewing session
  3. Feedback session
  4. Revision and recording

The paper can be found here.

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hci
ux
design

CONTRIBUTOR

Sheza Naveed
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Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

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