Salon 27: What are the limitations of user-centred design?

Free Public Panel Discussion Event

Wednesday 12 December, 1300h
Register on Eventbrite

Lecture Theatre U4 / U142
Otakaari 1
Aalto University
02150 Espoo

Campus map

Claudia Garduño García, Partner, Design Your Action, Mexico City
Sampsa Hyysalo, Professor of Co-Design, Aalto University
Rose Matthews, Helsinki-based designer specialising in underserved populations

Chair:  Guy Julier

The term ‘user-centred’ design comes with a range of associated practices, including human-centred design, participatory design and co-design. As with these, user-centred design has a mixed pedigree, including developments in the 1960s stemming from ergonomics in Scandinavia and elsewhere and human-computer interaction (HCI) explorations of the 1980s. It therefore covers a variety of expected ‘users’, objects and situations as well as politics.

But does the term risk reducing conceptions of users to mere consumers? How does it engage, if at all, with social practices beyond the individual? Does it capture the complexity of economic, social and cultural contexts and actions? Who is the user in any case!!??

These and many other questions that will be debated.


Biographies of panellists

Claudia Garduño García is Partner and Research Director, Design Your Action, Mexico City. Design Your Action is an NGO focused on exploring collaborative solutions that are innovative, pertinent and relevant to complex social situations. Its object is to community action at various levels of social innovation that improves quality of life and collective wellbeing. Claudia was Project Manager of the Aalto LAB in Mexico and holds a PhD in design from Aalto University.

Sampsa Hyysalo is Professor of Co-Design at the Aalto School of, Art, Design and Architecture. Sampsa’s research and teaching focus on codesign, user involvement in innovation and the co-evolution of technologies, practices and organizations. He received his PhD in Behavioral Sciences in the University of Helsinki and holds a Docentship in information systems, specialising in user-centered design.  Sampsa has published over 40 peer reviewed articles (jufo ranked), 10 refereed book chapters and 5 books, out of which the two most important are The new production of users: Changing innovation communities and involvement strategies (with Elgaard Jensen and Oudshoorn, Routledge, 2016) and Health Technology development and use: From practice-bound imagination to evolving impacts (Routledge, 2010, New York).

Rose Matthews is a Design and Innovation Lead with global experience in developing new interventions for public health and in identifying economic opportunities for restricted income communities. Having initially trained as a nurse in the UK, Rose turned to design as a way to achieve greater impact on a larger population and has never lost sight of that aim. She currently works on global health, financial inclusion and government programmes with a focus on underserved populations.


This entry was posted in consumer culture, publics, service design, user-centre design. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Salon 27: What are the limitations of user-centred design?

  1. Julie says:

    Hi Guy, Very interesting subject for this Design Culture Salon edition. Unfortunately, I won’t be in Helsinki. Will the event be live-streamed? Many thanks, Julie

    • guyjulier says:

      What a shame you won’t be here! I’m not sure that we will be live streaming. I’ll see if we can make a recording of it if I can persuade the right people… Thanks for your interest.

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