The Role Definition Matrix: Creating a Shared Understanding of Children’s Participation in the Design Process
Paper in proceedings, 2016

In this paper we propose the Role Definition Matrix that helps authors to describe more precisely the involvement of children in the design process. Although the previously defined roles for children (user, tester, informant, and design partner) have had a positive impact on researchers’ and designers’ awareness of the different ways to involve children in the design process, the Role Definition Matrix clarifies what was exactly done during a project, enables the reader to understand the credibility of the design decisions presented, avoids the misuse of certain terminology, and enables the consideration of trade-offs between the different roles. We propose to describe children’s involvement in terms of the phases in design (Requirements, Design and Evaluation) and activity in relation to designer (Indirect, Feedback, Dialogue, Elaboration) during these phases. We present the Role Definition Matrix, including examples, and invite other researchers to use it as a tool to present their work.



Participatory Design


Wolmet Barendregt

University of Gothenburg

Mathilde M. Bekker

Eindhoven University of Technology

Peter Börjesson

University of Gothenburg

Eva Eriksson

Chalmers, Applied Information Technology (Chalmers), Interaction Design (Chalmers)

Olof Torgersson

University of Gothenburg

15th International ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC), Univ Cent Lancashire, Child Comp Interact, Media City, ENGLAND, JUN 21-24, 2016


Areas of Advance

Information and Communication Technology

Subject Categories

Human Computer Interaction

Learning and teaching

Pedagogical work





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