Systems that Matter – Participatory Design for Scale and Impact

A special issue of Multimodal Technologies and Interaction (ISSN 2414-4088).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018)

Special Issue Editors

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Vienna University of Technology, 1040 Wien, Austria
Interests: participatory design; design research; assistive technology; responsible research & innovation

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
Interests: embodied interaction; cognition; design research; autism; empowerment; participatory design

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Participation of people in the design of new technology is widely considered “the right thing to do”. And while the pragmatic and ideological arguments are convincing, on a broader scale Participatory Design (PD) approaches have had limited impact on how the majority of technological systems are being conceived and built. Although recent advances in (smart) technologies, including flexible adaptation and personalisation, would suggest there are opportunities for the empowerment of users in shaping their own lives, it seems to be precisely the pervasiveness of interactive technology, most notably through the Internet-of-Things, AI and Big Data processing, which has only increased corporate power. As a result, the average user is arguably further away from having a say in the technological experiences they have, then they ever were. Such developments present a pressing concern for our societies and in addressing it, PD will need to up its game in order to have impact outside the idiosyncratic world of academic research labs.

With this special issue, we call for high-quality contributions that present original work in discussing ways for PD to design systems that matter to people and increase its impact at scale. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • case studies of PD projects that discuss how outcomes matter to people
  • critical reflections on the ways in which PD can travel and scale
  • methodological innovation in PD to bridge the gap to industry or policy makers
  • discussions on how participation can be facilitated across design and use time
  • theoretical contributions on concepts such as infrastructuring or design-in-use
  • productive collisions with other fields such as action research, science and technology studies, activism, political sciences or philosophy
  • examples on how ways of knowing in PD can be captured and made actionable beyond the individual case context
We particularly welcome submissions which include non-academic stakeholders as authors or contributors.

Dr. Christopher Frauenberger
Dr. Jelle van Dijk
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Multimodal Technologies and Interaction is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Participatory Design
  • Design Research
  • Responsible Research and Innovation
  • Smart Technologies

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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