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Configuring participation: On how we involve users in design

Lookup NU author(s): Dr John Vines, Dr Rachel Clarke, Emeritus Professor Pete Wright, Dr John McCarthy, Professor Patrick OlivierORCiD


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The term 'participation' is traditionally used in HCI to describe the involvement of users and stakeholders in design processes, with a pretext of distributing control to participants to shape their technological future. In this paper we ask whether these values can hold up in practice, particularly as participation takes on new meanings and incorporates new perspectives. We argue that much HCI research leans towards configuring participation. In exploring this claim we explore three questions that we consider important for understanding how HCI configures participation; Who initiates, directs and benefits from user participation in design? In what forms does user participation occur? How is control shared with users in design? In answering these questions we consider the conceptual, ethical and pragmatic problems this raises for current participatory HCI research. Finally, we offer directions for future work explicitly dealing with the configuration of participation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Vines J, Clarke R, Wright P, McCarthy J, Olivier P

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Year of Conference: 2013

Pages: 429-438

Publisher: ACM Press


DOI: 10.1145/2470654.2470716

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Title: CHI 2013: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

ISBN: 9781450318990