Enhancing Participation Options




February 22, 2021

On our affiliated youtube channel, Two Day Design, the team at Design Outsider tackles design challenges in two days. We invite guests onto the show who may not have traditional design backgrounds - design outsiders. One of the goals is to learn how diverse perspectives can enhance the design process and contribute to designs that better serve people. The series is an ongoing project with an acknowledgement that there is no one-size fits all approach to co-creation. The series is also a work in progress with the team learning from each other and through the experiences working with each new guest. Following each 2 Day Design session, the team at Design Outsider discusses the 2 Day Design process. This blog documents our thoughts challenges and discusses opportunities for future episodes. 

While the Covid-19 pandemic has made certain participatory methods more difficult, the opportunities for online participation continue to develop with new technology. At Design Outsider, consider the challenges and benefits of our Two Day Design approach can be for collaborators to share their thoughts and ideas.

Reflecting on the 2 Day Design process, a multimodal approach reveals some interesting findings. ‘Multimodal’ refers to communicating a message in multiple modes (Kress, 2000). Certain modes, however, have different advantages and strengths over others. For example, audio affordances include enabling a tone of voice, accent or mood while video affordances could include showing a process, movement and the passage of time. Print affordances (like this blog post), for example, are usually linear that can help express a sequence of events. Heydon, McKee & Phillips (2014) adopt the phrases ‘affordances’ and ‘constraints’ to describe communication methods in early childhood education. We also adopt such language to orientate ourselves towards enhancing communication options for our collaborators. 

In our first 2 Day Design episode, our first collaborator Emily didn’t draw anything, but she still contributed by pulling images from online to show the team at Design Outsider. She also used hand gestures to explain her ideas visually to compliment her oral explanations. While the Google Jam board drawing app was available to her to see, she chose not to express her ideas via the board. When we asked Emily about Google Jamboard she explained she did not draw due to a lack of confidence in her drawing ability. Recognizing that engaging with the community is an ongoing process, we consider other visual aids such as pen and paper could be used in future sessions. A guest could write an idea through words or drawings and hold this up to the screen so the team can see the idea. Moving forward, we consider the ‘affordances’ and ‘constraints’ of our 2 Day Design process and tools. With each passing guest, we will need to adapt to meet the needs of each collaborator to ensure they can more easily contribute their ideas to the design process. 

Follow along through our Youtube channel!

If you would like to be a future 2 Day Design ‘design outsider’ collaborator with the team at Design Outsider please contact hello@designoutsider.com


  1. [1] Heydon, R., McKee, L., & Phillips, L. (2016). The affordances and constraints of visual methods in early childhood education research: Talking points from the field. Journal of Childhood Studies, 5-17.
  2. [2] Kress, G.. (2000) “Design and Transformation: New Theories of Meaning.” Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures. Ed. Bill Cope and Mary Kalantzis. New York: Routledge. 153-61.

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