User Representations as a Design Resource

Representational Work in Achieving Accountable Design Without Access to Users

Authors

  • Kaisa Savolainen Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2907-6036
  • Sampsa Hyysalo Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Abstract

The study of how the understanding of usages and users is achieved and turned into the characteristics of products comprises ‘the sociology of user representation’ in Science and Technology Studies. Whilst the early research on the topic was foremost a critique of designers’ imposition of theirimagination and preferences on prospective users, research has since discovered a richer research landscape in accomplishing the difficult task of anticipating the future contexts and identities of users. Our paper continues this line of work by examining a situation where first-hand access to users is blocked from human-centred design-oriented designers. Constructing an array of complementary user representations helps them to bridge the previously accumulated knowledge on users in their trade to the envisioned technology. The complementarities in the handful of key user segment representations and what is represented in their explicated form allowed the design team to make reasoned and accountable design decisions.

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Section
Research Papers
Published
May 15, 2021

How to Cite

Savolainen, K. and Hyysalo, S. (2021) “User Representations as a Design Resource: Representational Work in Achieving Accountable Design Without Access to Users”, Science & Technology Studies, 34(2), pp. 25–45. doi: 10.23987/sts.84598.