Participatory Design

Participatory Design is a design exercise that invites the intended users of the system to roughly draw out how they would like the system to work.

The exercise typically encourages small groups to work together to map out a critical user journey within the system. During the exercise, groups are asked to explain why they have included the elements they have and to talk through how these different elements work. With larger participatory sessions, different groups tackle the same journey, which can generate discussions around different design ideas and approaches.

What it provides:

During the initial research and design phases of a project, Participatory Design provides an excellent way to understand how users expect and want a system to work. It also provides insights related to language, and the labels that should be used within the interface.

By understanding the thinking behind the designs, this provides an in-depth insight into a users mental model of how they expect to achieve a task and the simplest way for them to achieve it. This approach may uncover new user requirements that were previously unknown or deprioritised.