Of Kittens and Kiddies: Reflections on Participatory Design with Small Animals and Small Humans

Chisik, Yoram and Mancini, Clara (2017). Of Kittens and Kiddies: Reflections on Participatory Design with Small Animals and Small Humans. In: IDC '17 Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Interaction Design and Children, ACM Press, pp. 753–756.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3078072.3081311


Participatory Design with children strives to broaden the perspective of and increase empathy in design for the needs and desires of children by giving children a voice in the design process. The exact nature of the role played by children in the design process (e.g. user, informant, co-designer) and how much voice they are actually given has been the subject of a long and heated debate in the IDC community. The emerging field of Animal Computer Interaction, which seeks to empower animals through the participatory design of user-centered technology, offers an interesting opportunity for a comparative analysis. Indeed, working with animals poses many of the challenges also posed by working with children, due to similarities with regards to cognitive capabilities or attention span at particular developmental stages, and with regards to the designer's ability to communicate with them. This workshop aims to bring together researchers from the fields of animal and child computer interaction to explore similarities and difference in the challenges they face, the methods they use and the lessons they have learnt, to date, with the objective of gaining a better understanding of these important aspects and setting an agenda for further collaboration and study between the two communities.

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