Beyond Utopia: Reflections on Participatory Design in home-based healthcare with weak users

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

  • Department of Computer Science

Table of Contents

Motivation -- Participatory Design (PD) activities in private homes challenge how we relate to the PD process, compared to PD in professional settings. Grounded in a project related to chronic dizziness among older people, we outline four challenges. These challenges, we argue, have to be carefully addressed when PD processes include the home.

Research approach -- A PD project developing rehabilitation technologies for elderly people in private homes has been used to reflect on home-based PD projects compared with more traditional, workplace-oriented PD projects such as Utopia.

Findings -- We identify four challenges in home-based PD. The challenges are 1) Negotiating knowledge about the home, 2) Ill, weak users, 3) Divergent interests of participants and 4) Usable and sustainable post-project solutions. These challenges are used to reflect upon differences between a home-based PD process, such as ours with non-workers, and work-place projects, such as Utopia. Through this reflection, the paper contributes to a more general discussion on PD in non-work settings with weak users.

Research limitations -- The paper is grounded in one project where the elderly participants are heavily affected by their illness. Furthermore, they have no or very little experience with ICT, e.g. computers or mobile phones.

Take away message -- Differences do exist between traditional PD projects in work settings, such as Utopia, and home-based PD with weak users especially in relation to knowledge about settings and how to reconcile differences in interests. The home as a place for (technology-assisted) treatment and PD must be carefully analyzed, and diverse interests and roles should be negotiated among all stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 29th Annual European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics
Number of pages8
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication year2011
ISBN (print)978-1-4503-1029-1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventEuropean Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics. ECCE 2011 - Rostock, Germany
Duration: 24 Aug 201126 Aug 2011


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics. ECCE 2011

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