Participatory Design: Issues and Concerns
We characterize Participatory Design (PD) as a maturing area of research and as an evolving practice among design professionals. Although PD has been applied outside of technology design, here we focus on PD in relation to the introduction of computer-based systems at work. We discuss three main issues addressed by PD researchers; the politics of design; the nature of participation; and method, tools and techniques for participation. We also report on the conditions for the transfer of “PD results” to workers, user groups, and design professionals that have characterized PD over time and across geopolitical terrains. The topic of the sustainability of PD within an organizational context is also considered. The article concludes with a discussion of common issues explored within PD and CSCW and frames directions for a continuing dialogue between researchers and practitioners from the two fields. The article draws on a review of PD and CSCW literatures as well as on our own research and practical experiences.