Participatory Design: Redesign Metro Ticket Vending Machine & ELMS


University Coursework


September 2011

Benefits of Participatory Design: Design Workout

Brief class design project to illustrate the understanding of a particular design method. The option to pick two out of three user-groups was given. In this case, a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) person was asked to redesign the ticket vending machine while a University of Maryland student was asked to redesign ELMS, the University’s student study portal.

Responsibilities: Participatory Design

What is Participatory Design?

Participatory design (PD) was first developed in Scandinavia to overcome labor issues that incorporating computers into the workplace caused: people feared computers could replace them or they would lack the necessary skills to operate them (Kensing & Blomberg, 1998). Participatory design seeks to create a tight connection between designers and workers to ensure that both can effectively express his/her viewpoint. Incorrect participants can disrupt research and create ill-equipped designs. Managers are not included in PD because of the belief that they can hamper the opinions of workers and therefore potentially cause workers to focus on the cheapest possible designs (Kensing & Blomberg, 1998). Another important attribute of PD is that, “Worker participation is considered central to the value and therefore the success of the project” (Kensing & Blomberg, 1998, p. 173). Without worker participation, products and services might not be as functional if their experiences are not taken into account. Hasvold and Scholl describe how a worker’s “shared connections” in the process of using the device/service and its relation on the organization, as necessary to aid a designer to find areas that are ambiguous and need of improvement (Hasvold & Scholl, 2011). Nevertheless, for this to be effective, a user must understand the product/service they are helping with in the design process (Bodker & Iversen, 2002).

Some Participatory Design Examples

Participatory Design Metro Ticket Vending Machine
Participatory Design ELMS


Participatory Design Partner


Participatory Design Paper