[community] Participatory Design Challenges

Treviranus, Jutta jtreviranus at ocadu.ca
Tue Mar 22 19:24:18 UTC 2016

Thanks Sepideh,

We have dealt with exactly these issues in one of our Inclusive Design classes. 

This relates to inclusively designing the design process. An approach that some students have found successful is to chunk the design questions, focus the design decisions in cognitively accessible chunks, rely less on talk and more on trial and error, design within an authentic and natural environment (e.g., if you are designing something for a kitchen, design it in the kitchen with all the contextual props)…. among a number of other strategies. I can provide some resources and readings on just this topic.

Working with someone with cognitive impairments does not mean you abandon participatory or co-design, it just means more thoughtful consideration of the design of your design process. In fact if you want someone to adopt your design, adoption is much more likely if the individual has invested in coming up with a workable design.  The process of co-design acts as a way of introducing/training/orienting to a design. Most designs are rejected by individuals who experience cognitive barriers due to aging. Abandoning co-design because of cognitive barriers feeds into the vicious cycle of disempowerment and cognitive decline. 

I look forward to discussing this more in the community meeting,


> On Mar 22, 2016, at 2:50 PM, Shahi, Sepideh <sshahi at ocadu.ca> wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I was at a lecture by Cosmin Munteanu from Tag Lab<http://taglab.utoronto.ca/>. His talk was mainly about the use of assistive technology and natural interactions for the aging population.
> At the end of his talk he mentioned a few challenges that they have experienced with participatory design in their research and design projects, which I thought might be interesting for our community:
>  *   The participatory design is not a good approach when there is a huge gap between what users know and what the research team knows; in other words when there are lot of mental steps from where the user is to where the researcher want the user to be, it’s better to use other approaches than participatory design.
>  *   The other challenge that they had experienced was that many older adults had cognitive impairments, thus, they would easily forget what they had learned from the researchers or any personal customizations that they had made on an application. Thus, the researcher had to take them through the entire process again in each session, which was very exhausting for both the researcher and the user.
> So, It would be interesting to discuss these challenges in our upcoming community meeting about Co-design and Convivial Design Tools on April 6th.
> Thanks,
> T: 416 977 6000 x3951
> E: sshahi at ocadu.ca<mailto:sshahi at ocadu.ca>
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