An Overview of Co-Design: Advantages, Challenges and Perspectives of Users’ Involvement in the Design Process

Document Type : Original Article


Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.


Co-design is currently one of the most emergent approaches within design practices. Building on participatory design tradition and User-Centered approach, this approach affirmed in the literature's headlines as well as got adopted in a wide range of practices.  Being described as capable toincrease general processes’ effectiveness by ensuring compatibility between users’ needs and products/services’ features scholars emphasize the advantages of replacing traditional top-down design approaches with a co-design oneWhile highlighting the advantages the field literature alsoindicates several challenges stemming from the adoption of co-design, generally revolving around the need to root the approach into a theoretical framework. According to an analysis of some main contributions developed in the literature, this paper aims to point out potential developments for the field, building on the analysis of the development of the approach throughout decades and analysing the challenges that practitioners and scholars are currently facing. A constructivist approach built on cultural psychology theory is finally argued as a theoretical framework capable to provide an advancement for the field.


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