Relationships Other Than Use

Janet Kelly


The people who use a designed artefact are not the only ones who will experience or be affected by it, but yet design discourse and practice are dominated by the concept of the user. This article introduces the notion of relationships other than use as an important consideration for design, in addition to relationships between users and artefacts. It identifies some related issues in design discourse with regard to the concept of use and discusses how the concept has emerged in design practice and discourse, with particular regard to participatory design. Different kinds of design relevant relationships other than use are presented and described through a case study involving designing with the pre-users of medical devices. The relevance for design is discussed and design examples are put forward to that show the importance of the consideration of these alternative relationships, along with suggestions of methods for working with them.


Participatory design, User driven design, people- artefact relationships

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