Programme Workshops Participatory Design for Persons with Cognitive or Sensory Impairments

Participatory Design for Persons with Cognitive or Sensory Impairments


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Workshop Information

When designing for users with impairments involving cognitive or sensory abilities affecting communication (e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorder, Alzheimer’s Disease or hearing impairments), common research and design techniques for involving such users might not be usable or need to be adjusted. This full-day workshop aims to 1) bring together researchers and designers who work on participatory design for persons with cognitive or sensory impairments; 2) exchange ideas and experiences regarding participatory design techniques for such persons; 3) identify general principles for participatory design for such persons.

The workshop has a creative, generative character and has four parts:

Introduction. Participants introduce themselves to get to know each other and to create an informal atmosphere to share best practices and common problems.

Technique mapping. In small groups, using a template poster, participants discuss participatory techniques they have used with persons with impairments. Next, the groups discuss which elements of each technique they would keep, change, add or delete to use that technique with another target group. Finally, the groups formulate six ‘take home messages’.

Critique. The groups critically review the other groups’ take home messages (cf. design critique) by indicating elements they fully agree with, elements they would adjust, and elements they don’t agree with at all.

General discussion. In a final plenary session, the critiques on the take home messages are presented. In a discussion, commonalities and differences between the messages are identified, and general principles and key research questions regarding participatory design for persons with impairments are extracted.

The workshop has two follow-up activities: 1) Participants are invited to join the participants of a similar workshop held at PDC 2012 in using a wiki that was set up for sharing information, literature, techniques, etc.; 2) After the workshop, a Call for Papers for a Special issue of the Journal CoDesign will be launched. Participants will be invited to submit papers for this special issue, of which the specific focus will be based on the outcomes of both the PDC and INTERACT workshops. 

More information on the workshop can be found at the workshop website:


Karin Slegers1, Pieter Duysburgh2, Niels Hendriks3, and Helma van Rijn4

1 CUO | Social Spaces – KU Leuven / Minds, Parkstraat 45, bus 3605, 3000 Leuven, Belgium,

2 iMinds – Digital Society, SMIT – VUB, Pleinlaan 9, 1050 Brussels, Belgium,

3 Social Spaces | CUO – MAD-faculty – LUCA – KU Leuven, C-mine 5, 3600 Genk, Belgium,

4 Waag Society, Piet Heinkade 179, 1019 HC Amsterdam, The Netherlands