After almost 3 years, the Participatory Design project Bespoke Design (Design op Maat in Dutch) is finally finished. The insights we gathered during this trajectory are translated and summarized in a booklet.
Starting from the everyday experiences of living with type 1 diabetes, we developed self management tools for and together with one person. In contrast to the common medical and top-down approaches, wherein a ‘universal’ tool is designed for a large group of users, the participatory approach is more in line with the fact that people with diabetes use these tools 24/7, and are thus experts in dealing with this chronic condition.
This booklet gives an insight into the overall design process of Bespoke Design, the challenges involved, the participants and designers who collaborated in this process and the prototypes that were developed. Besides this, the aim of the booklet is to clarify the project’s contributions to the field of participatory and open design practices. The first chapter illustrates how we documented the project, and how sharing this documentation with others allowed these processes and results to transcend this particular project, the participants and team involved. In the second chapter, we assess how participatory making in a FabLab can be a way of extending participation in the making phase, instead of being restricted to the conceptual phase of a design project. Finally, the third chapter describes the need of setting up, maintaining and nurturing long-term relationships and the designer’s role in these processes. We conclude by stating that the changing practices of documenting, participatory making and infrastructuring within Bespoke Design demand a different role for the designer.