Design Space Exploration : co-operative creation of proposals for desired interactions with future artefacts
Abstract: This thesis critically reflects on co-operative design workshops that I have conducted. The basic method used in these workshops draws on the participants’ embodied knowing. In the over twenty workshops that are analysed here a wide range of participants have been involved: family members, employees, persons with disabilities, and other stakeholders like manufacturers, service providers and civil servants. The topics have varied, but they have mostly been related to ICT products and services. Most of the workshops were conducted within various research projects. In order to analyse this diverse range of workshops I use several different theories and concepts. I articulate and analyse the design aspects of the activities by using established design theories and concepts. The conceptual tool design space, meaning all possible design proposals, is used for understanding the design process. I also use theories from other fields in order to analyse three different aspects of the workshops: the participants’ activities, the designers’ responsibility, and the process. To analyse the way that the participants co-operatively create knowledge, theories of interpersonal actions are used; to analyse the work done by the designer/conductor, theories of frames are used; and to analyse the process, the theory of actualisation and realisation is used. During the workshops the participants co-operatively make scenarios, props and video prototypes in order to create proposals for desired interactions with future artefacts. Contributions include accounts of critical situations during the workshops and suggested strategies for dealing with them. Some implications are relevant to the design field in general, for example the importance of a process where the participants trust each other, learn from each other and work effectively with difficult issues by creating multiple proposals that facilitate understanding of the design space. I also offer arguments about why it is better to see activities, props and prototypes as mainly constitutive rather than as only representative. Video prototypes on DVD and seven publications are included in the thesis.
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