13. socio-organizational issues and stakeholder requirements

EXERCISE 13.8 [extra - not in book]

What is participatory design? What are its advantages/disadvantages? Describe the methods that are used in the process of participatory design.

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What it is

  • design in the workplace, incorporating the user not only as an experimental subject but as a member of the design team
  • users are active collaborators in the design process
  • design and evaluation is context or work oriented rather than system oriented
  • iterative design, subject to evaluation and revision at each stage


  • users are experts in the work context and their active contribution aids effective design
  • changes in the work context and organizational processes are more likely to be accepted if users involved in design decisions


  • time and cost involved in what is, by definition, a context-specific design
  • organizational implications of the shift of power and responsibility.


All participants in the design pool ideas; informal, relatively unstructured, but may involve 'on-the-fly' structuring of ideas. All information is recorded without judgement; ideas thus generated can later be filtered

Graphical representationof non-functional system. Can be used to describe the user's day-to-day activities as well as potential designs and their impact.

Can be used to fill in missing knowledge of both participants and provide focused view of design. May involve mutual enquiry in which both designers and users attempt to understand the context of the design from each other's point of view. May use role play.

pencil and paper exercises
Simple and cheap technique for early assessment of models. Users can 'walk through' typical tasks using paper mock-ups, to show up discrepancies between the users' requirements and the proposed system design

Other exercises in this chapter

ex.13.1 (ans), ex.13.2 (ans), ex.13.3 (tut), ex.13.4 (tut), ex.13.5 (tut), ex.13.6 (tut), ex.13.7 (tut), ex.13.8 (tut), ex.13.9 (tut), ex.13.10 (tut), ex.13.11 (tut)

all exercises for this chapter