Evoking the future: Drama and props in user centered design


  • Eva Brandt
  • Camilla Grunnet


User-centered design, drama, props, design artifacts, participation, staging, empathic design


This paper describes how we have worked with setting the stage and providing props for collaborative generation and exploration of design ideas. We work within the Scandinavian participatory design tradition. For a number of years we have experimented with the use of drama and various props as an approach to engage users more directly in the design process. Examples from two projects are discussed. We find it fruitful to involve users in envisioning the future artifacts with the use of drama. Evoking the future can be realized through collaborative meetings between designers and users. In order to establish fruitful meetings we find it promising to explore settings, scenarios and props. The paper presents results from using drama as a way of bringing in new voices in the user centered design process. It describes how we have experimented with the use of various props as not only "things to think with" but also as "things to act with" during a collaborative design process.