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Experiential role of artefacts in cooperative design


The role of material artefacts in supporting distributed and co-located work practices has been well acknowledged within HCI and CSCW research. In this paper, we show that in addition to their ecological, coordinative and organizational support, artefacts also play an 'experiential' role. In this case, artefacts not only improve efficiency or have a purely functional role (e.g. allowing people to complete tasks quickly), but the materiality, use and manifestations of these artefacts bring quality and richness to people's performance and help them make better sense of their everyday lives. In a domain such as industrial design, such artefacts play an important role for supporting creativity and innovation. Based on our ethnographic fieldwork on understanding cooperative design practices of industrial design students and researchers, we describe several experiential practices that are supported by design-related artefacts such as sketches, drawings, physical models and explorative prototypes -- used and developed in designers' everyday work. Our main intention in carrying out this kind of research is to develop technologies to support designers' everyday practices. We believe that with the emergence of ubiquitous computing, there is a growing need to focus on the personal, social and creative side of people's everyday experiences. By focusing on the experiential practices of designers, we can provide a much broader view in the design of new interactive technologies.


Vyas, Dhaval; Heylen, Dirk; Nijholt, Anton; van der Veer, Gerrit (2009): Experiential role of artefacts in cooperative design. Communities and Technologies 2009: Proceedings of the Fourth Communities and Technologies Conference. DOI: 10.1145/1556460.1556477. ACM Press. pp. 105-114. Full Papers