A Collaboration System Model for Planning and Evaluating Participatory Design Projects
Andrew Drain, Elizabeth B.-N. Sanders


Participatory design (PD) is the process of expert designers and participants from impacted communities working together to create appropriate solutions. As PD practitioners strive to implement more effective, ethical projects, a focus must be placed on designer-participant collaboration, and the factors that influence this collaboration. Existing studies provide value in explaining the level of participant engagement in collaboration, and the way to evaluate this collaboration. However, a high-level conceptual model is needed to clearly understand the factors most influential to collaboration and how they inter-relate. This article presents the PD Collaboration System Model as a tool for planning and evaluating PD projects. The model was developed through systematic literature review and the completion of two projects (involving six first-hand case studies), undertaken with people with disability in rural Cambodia. The model consists of the following components: designer and participant knowledge, activities (for making, telling, and enacting), design environment and materials, society and culture, and the participants’ capacity to participate.

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