Designing for participatory sensemaking

J. Dijk, van, C.C.M. Hummels

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In this Research-through-Design investigation we explore the value of embodiment for social interaction in collaborative settings, and how to support -- rather than suppress or ignore – this embodiment with interactive technology. We use Participatory Sensemaking (De Jaegher & Di Paolo, 2007), a theory which explains sensemaking as continuous embodied interactions between people in a shared action space. We discuss three prototypes supporting Participatory Sensemaking. We describe how our understanding of participatory sensemaking evolved through (reflections on) design. The first product creates tangible access to moments of reflection in group conversations. We came to understand the tangibles as traces of individual reflection, which become publicly observable and actionable within social interaction. In our second prototype we designed traces as floor-projections dynamically connected to people’s body movements. The system mediates the social positioning of participants. The final system integrates our earlier insights in a dialogue tool for two people. Here participatory sensemaking shows itself as a skill with special emphasis on the sensuality of mutual contact. We end with a more general reflection on how design can contribute to theoretical analysis through iterations of designing and observing what interactive artefacts concretely do within the full complexity of human practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Value of Design Research : 11th International European Academy of Design Conference, 22-24 April 2015, Paris, France
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event11th International Conference of the European Academy of Design (EAD 11), April 22-24, 2015, Paris, France - Université Paris Descartes, Paris, France
Duration: 22 Apr 201524 Apr 2015


Conference11th International Conference of the European Academy of Design (EAD 11), April 22-24, 2015, Paris, France
Abbreviated titleEAD 15
Other"The Value of Design Research"
Internet address

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