Lack of Common Language: The Perception Problem between Designer and User in Participatory Design Process

By Vahid Kiumarsi and Maryam Nouri.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Although participatory design theory has been widely defined and developed in last decades, evidently it has not been successful in practice. This problem has several causes. This paper attempts to illuminate fundamental one: Language. In other words, to answer the question: “What is the main reason of not succeeding Participatory Design efficiently?” it is claimed that the problem is the lack of common language between designer and user in design process. To achieve mentioned objective: First, running language among team members, especially between designer and user, is investigated. It is shown that in participatory design process, language is based on ordinary drawings, images and models, the same as un-participatory design processes. Then user’s perception of this language is called to question. It is clarified that they can not understand drawings and models; which are the words of this language. Moreover, they are not familiar with its structure; which is a conceptual model, outcome of training and experience. So, how designer and user can have an effective dialogue during design process? Finally, concluding with case study, it is shown that lack of this perception results to misunderstanding in design process between designer and user. Thus not only participatory design goals are not realized but also an integrated and harmonized design is not created.

Keywords: Participatory Design Process, Language, Perception, Designer, User

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.45-52. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.202MB).

Vahid Kiumarsi

Architect, Vice President, Tehran, Tehran, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

I am an architect in a company as vice president. Also I am a PhD student at the same time in Science & Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran. My thesis is on common language in participatory design process. I have attended in several congress like UIA2008.

Maryam Nouri

Architect, Project Manager, Tehran, Tehran, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

I am an architect. I graduated in master of architecture from shahid beheshti university, Tehran, Iran. I have been working for 6 years. I am interested in design study as well. I attended in several congress like UIA2008.


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