How much participation is enough? a comparison of six participatory design projects in terms of outcomes

Jon Whittle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This paper considers the relationship between depth of participation (i.e., the effort and resources invested in participation) versus (tangible) outcomes. The discussion is based on experiences from six participatory research projects of different sizes and durations all taking place within a two year period and all aiming to develop new digital technologies to address an identified social need. The paper asks the fundamental question: how much participation is enough? That is, it challenges the notion that more participation is necessarily better, and, by using the experience of these six projects, it asks whether a more light touch or 'lean' participatory process can still achieve good outcomes, but at reduced cost. The paper concludes that participatory design researchers could consider 'agile' principles from the software development field as one way to streamline participatory processes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th Participatory Design Conference, Volume 1: Research Papers
EditorsOle Sejer Iversen, Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Vincenzo D'Andrea, Andrew Clement, Andrea Botero, Keld Bødker
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450327404, 9781450322560
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventParticipatory Design Conference 2014 - Windhoek, Namibia
Duration: 6 Oct 201410 Oct 2014
Conference number: 13th (Proceedings)


ConferenceParticipatory Design Conference 2014
Abbreviated titlePDC 2014
Internet address


  • Agile methods
  • Co-design
  • Participatory design

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