Playful collaborative exploration: new research practice in participatory design

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Within the Participatory Design community as well as the Computer Supported Cooperative Work tradition, a lot of effort has been put into the question of letting field studies inform design. In this paper, we describe how game-like approaches can be used as a way of exploring a practice from a design point of view. Thinking of ethnographic fieldwork as a base for sketching, rather than descriptions, creates openness that invites collaborative authoring. The concept of playful collaborative exploration suggests certain ways of interacting with material from field studies so that it becomes a design material for an open-ended design process. We have carried out field studies, transformed the field material into design material, and set up a design game for working with it together with the people we followed in the field. The design game builds on an idea about the power of narratives and the benefits of constraining rules. We believe that this framework for collaboration opens for playfulness, experimentation, and new design ideas.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Research Practice
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Interaction Technologies (21103)


  • Ethnography in design
  • collaborative design
  • design games
  • work practice based design


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