Involving people in design processes as experts of their experience
Pieter Jan Stappers, Professor Design Techniques, IDE, TU Delft
Contextmapping is just what it says it is: making a map of the context (of use). Introduced in 2003, the term refers to an approach to exploratory and participatory design research which makes use of the expertise of the user and the skills of the designer.
Contextmapping offers a procedure for conducting contextual research with users, where tacit knowledge is gained about the context of product use. It was developed specifically to inform and inspire design teams, so that users and other stakeholders can actively participate in the design process to ensure a good fit between the design and the use of a product or service, and the core competences of the producer/company. Participants learn the theory of contextmapping in a series of lectures and practical exercises.
During this master class, you will:
- understand the techniques of involving users and other stakeholders in design, the role of contextual research in innovation;
- see when contextmapping techniques are useful for gathering insights, and communicating these insights within design teams;
- develop a feeling for the psychological processes of reflection and expression of user experience;
- learn how to implement the technique in your own company.
- Forces in innovation: development of user-centred design from 1970s to present (product-centred, user-centred, interaction design, experience design, contextual design, empathic design, service design); codesign and co-creation;
- the value of user insights for innovation; the communication needs of designers regarding user experience insights; the contextmapping process, its underlying principles (creativity, expressivity); exercise to experience these principles (as user); the information needs of design teams;
- steps in the context mapping process: preparation, gathering, analysis, communication, conceptualization;
- the importance of planning; industrial case examples; exercise in field research (interviewing with a generative toolkit), carrying user insights through to conceptualization; practical guidelines for conducting studies.
Teachers and roles
- dr. Pieter Jan Stappers, professor of Design Techniques, provides the background and theory behind the methods and techniques.
- dr. ir. Fenne van Doorn, postdoc at ID-StudioLab, guides the participants in creating and applying research tools used in the practical exercise.
- ir. Sanne Kistemaker, founder of Muzus design agency, brings in experiences from design practice.
All three will work hands-on with the participants, and reflect on their work experience and results in the exercises.
Participant: "It were two fun and intensive days. Learning at such a high speed made me glow for another two days. Thank you for this experience and the chance to learn!"
Participant: "The information-dense program allowed me to learn lots in a short time-span. Also, the basic structure is clear and repeatable, while you can tailor-make it to your project. The investments in material and time are relatively low compared to the generated information."
Programme Day 1
09.00 - 09.30 Registration
09.30 - 10.00
- Introduction and overview
- Presentation of the aim and structure of the course, expectations and
- backgrounds of the participants
10.00 - 11.00 Lecture – The basics of contextmapping
- Presentation of industrial context, developments in user-centered and participatory design
11.00 - 11.30 Break
11.30 - 13.00 Workshop 1: generative sessions
- Group exercise with generative toolkit
- Discussion of generative process and facilitation
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 - 15.30 Workshop 2: Creating a toolkit
- Instruction on principles of creating evocative toolkits; managing creativity and ambiguity
- Workshop on creating a toolkit
15.30 - 16.00 Break
16.00 - 17.30 Field exercise
- Applying the toolkits from workshop 2 in field interviews, documenting feedback for analysis
Programme Day 2
09.30 - 11.00 Workshop 3 - Analysis and idea generation
- Performing quick qualitative analysis; documenting insights for use in the design process, on the basis of outcomes of day 1
11.00 - 11.30 Break
11.30 - 13.00 Presentations: industry experiences
- Review of a number of cases from industrial practice, focusing on barriers and enables in the organization (about small and large organisations in business and government)
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 - 15.30
- Review of the process, planning involved; skills needed in-house or hired in
15.30 - 16.00 Break
16.00 - 17.00
- And me?...
- Discussion of cases and questions from participants’ own background
17.00 - 17.30
Books and materials
The introductory booklet Context mapping will be sent to you by mail and you will receive the booklet at the beginning of the course. Handouts of all lectures will be provided with space for personal notes. At the end of the course, you will also get the advanced book ‘Convivial Toolbox’ by Sanders & Stappers (2012). All materials provided are included in the course fee.
How to prepare?
One week before the course, you will receive a small exercise toolkit to get you in the spirit of the course; this will take well under an hour to prepare. Furthermore it can be useful if you think of a case from your design practice to bring to the course.
After the course
Two months after the course a preset consultation timeslot will be offered to all participants to share experiences and consult the Master.
Pieter Jan Stappers (1959) is full Professor of Design Techniques at IDE, TU Delft. He is one of the driving forces behind the concept of Contextmapping, with 25 years’ experience of developing tools and techniques for the early design phase.