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Designing together: end-user collaboration in designing a personalised product

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 07:34 authored by Bernabei, R, Jacqueline PowerJacqueline Power

Donald Norman (2004, p. 224) has said, “We are all designers” in recognition of the many design acts we perform everyday in our lives. Yet, true ability for end-users to be part of the design process has been previously limited. Involvement in participatory design generally allows participation by end-users in the initial design development phases, whilst mass-customisation allows involvement in customising the product from a set of pre-determined design selections. These are well-established design methods.

Today, new ways of making, manufacturing and distributing products are being facilitated by the World Wide Web. Arguably, a designer-led open and democratic approach has resulted in endusers having more involvement in the design process than ever before. In particular, this method is illustrated by designers shifting away from designing a finished product, to either designing components, a template or a set of design tools for the end-user to interact with. This model, which the authors term user-completion, is still in its infancy phases and requires distillation of how designers can make use of it and how it differs to other design models. The authors will argue that this is a model that operates at the intersection between mass-customisation and craft.

Firstly, the paper will question why end-users increasingly want to be a part of the design process, and how through their involvement and investment of effort, the product acquires added perceived emotional value. Secondly, co-design and mass customisation will be described. Finally, the user-completion model proposed by the authors will be outlined, and supported with an example of work that illustrates this method of designing.


Publication title

10th European Academy of Design Conference


M Dennert


1 - 12




School of Architecture and Design


Meetagain Konferens

Place of publication


Event title

Crafting the Future

Event Venue

Gothenburg, Sweden

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


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Copyright 2010 the Authors - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in built environment and design

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