This is part 2 of a series on participatory design. In this series, I interview leading designers, review design texts, and playfully saunter across disciplines to contribute to the future of design research. You should check out Part One . This is another foundational piece I’m writing before moving onto more explorative/experimental thinking (which I’m really excited for!).¹
1. What’s the history of Participatory Design?
2. How PD can be applied today?
3. What does the future of PD look like?
I’m making a bet we’re going to see much more of Participatory Design in the future, as our perspectives shift towards designing more empathetically, holistically, and inclusively.
A product development methodology attempting to actively involve all stakeholders in the design process to help ensure the result meets their needs.
It typically looks something like this — User of a meditation app finds that her finger can’t easily access the pause button on her phone, while meditating on the bus. …
I’ve recently taken a HEXACO personality test, which measures personality across 25 dimensions. I ranked very high — higher than 95% of the population, on ‘social boldness’, an attribute of extraversion.
Social Boldness is defined as : “one’s comfort or confidence within a variety of social situations. Low scorers feel shy or awkward in positions of leadership or when speaking in public, whereas high scorers are willing to approach strangers and are willing to speak up within group settings.”
On one end, very interesting. I’ve met life partners, friends, work colleagues, and romantic partners, just from walking down the street…
Thoughts continuously fall pour out of the mind, without prompt, or desire.
Like a large, hoarding dam.
It bursts — out falling waves of continuous creation.
Thinking. Poetry. Calculation.
Walks. Art. Work. Calls.
Hours go by.
There is one thing we often don’t understand is that a person doesn’t control this flow.
They are under its control.
They are possessed by it. Subject to it.
They are a helpless tool, a vessel for the powerful current.
Moments of complete detachment from your body.
Forgetting that fingers are moving.
Forgetting the time.
So how far have we really come…?
Months ago, I attended VentureOut, the first conference for the LGBTQ+ tech community in Toronto. I decided to attend because I was curious about how far we’ve come. How we’ve been able to develop awareness around the hidden frictions that people may experience through simply existing. I was excited for this one — specifically because I wanted to know what Toronto’s tech startups had to say about this, and specifically, because tech startups tend to have a disproportionate effect on the world.