Title: Design as Participation
Context: Who should we be designing for? Nothing like a dense academic treatise to answer an otherwise straightforward question.
Synopsis: Designers design for users. This is dogma. Fact. Law even. That’s basically our job description. Users have problems. We solve them. Move on. This is a relatively narrow view when you think about it though. What’s so damn important about a user that deserves all of our attention? Well, that’s what we get paid to do. Generally out of a pool of money generated by and from the transactions users engage with us and/or our employer on. So design is a service. But then what about all the highfalutin language we tend to use about how design can change the world? Is that bluster? It doesn’t have to be. Solving a user’s problem and making a statement beyond the cash transaction that fuels our ability to solve said problem need not be mutually exclusive. Our role can cease at the boundary of the user, or we can try to encourage participation — and the participants — beyond that border. After all, who’s stopping us?
Best Bit: “Should designers continue to privilege users above all others in the system? What would it mean to design for participants instead? For all the participants?”

via jods.mitpress.mit.edu