Children’s roles in Participatory Design processes: making the role of process designer ‘work’

Selina Schepers, Jessica Schoffelen, Bieke Zaman, Katrien Dreessen

pp. 87 - 108, download






Recent academic debates have urged us to rethink children’s roles in Participatory Design (PD). In this article, we feed this discussion by putting the role of process designer into practice, allowing children to define a PD process and methods. We report on a case study in which we involved children (aged 10 – 12) to generate ideas about the ‘Stiemerbeek’ valley (Genk, Belgium). Applying the concept of ‘Handlungsspielraum’as analytical lens, the role of process designer was put into practice in five ways: through creating a research plan, defining events, engaging in play, field explorations and taking design decisions. Whereas the first three ways departed from the children’s perspectives, the latter related to adults facilitating the role. These findings provide handles to adopt the role of process designer in real-life contexts and extend the debate on children’s roles in PD, e.g. by reflecting on adult roles.  



Keywords:  Process designer; Roles; Children; Participatory Design; Interaction Design and Children


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