Connectivity vs connectedness

Jun Hu
The use of technology to connect each other (coined as connectivity) should be differentiated from being socially connected with others (both the feeling and rality, coined connectedness). The designing with/for connectivty had the original vision to enrich connectedness. Reality seems to get further and further away of this vision.
If connectedness and connectivity should coincide, how shall we design differently with/for connectivity?
It is a vision inviting to work towards one of the actual primary goals of connecting technology, which seems to have got lost in the process.
Bel, Daniel & Smolders, Karin & Ijsselsteijn, Wijnand & De Kort, Yvonne. (2009). Social connectedness: Concept and measurement. 67-74. doi: 10.3233/978-1-60750-034-6-67.
T. van Boheemen, and J. Hu, “Influence of Interactivity on Social Connectedness,” Social Computing and Social Media, Lecture Notes in Computer Science Series, 8531, G. Meiselwitz, ed., pp. 59-66: Springer International Publishing, 2014. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-07632-4_6

Participatory sensemaking

Cindy van den Bremen
Participatory Sensemaking (De Jaegher & Di Paolo, 2007), is a theory which explains sensemaking as continuous embodied interactions between people in a shared action space. Sensemaking is the natural activity of an organism that tries to sustain its own identity in a dynamic environment. In interactions with others, sensemaking becomes a participatory process grounded in embodied action, in a shared space. Instead of “a detached individual trying to figure out the other”, the idea is that social interaction is a coordination between two or more individuals. The coordination in turn influences the individual behaviours of the participants. For example, this concept formed the basis of the PhD thesis of Phillémonne Jaasma, to develop [X] Changing Perspectives, interactive tables to facilitate the communication between citizens, local governance and other private and public parties.
A lot of today’s design challenges require a multitude of people to address them. More and more, we are developing designs that support these collaboration processes and facilitate people to make sense of the situation together. Participatory sensemaking offers you concepts and the awareness to address the subtle mechanism between people to make sense together.
De Jaegher, H. and Di Paolo, E. (2007). Participatory sense-making: An enactive approach to social cognition. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 6(4), 485-507.
Jaasma, P. (2018). Exchanging perspectives: Designing for public sphere (Doctoral thesis, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands). Retrieved from
Jaasma, P., van Dijk, J., Frens, J., and Hummels, C. (2017). On the role of external representations in designing for participatory sensemaking. In M. Bruns Alonso, and E. Ozcan (Eds.), Proceedings of the Conference on Design and Semantics of Form and Movement – Sense and Sensitivity, DeSForM 2017 (pp. 281-295, Chapter 21). London, UK: InTech.


Pierre Lévy
The irregularity, inspired from Japanese aesthetics, is when “there remains something unexplained” that neither perfection nor deliberate or premeditated distortion can achieve (Yanagi, 2013). The experience is beautiful because irregularity brings a moment of uncertainty, of openness, and therefore of freedom and possibilities of changes.
Because it is a beautiful concept.
Yanagi, S. (2013). The unknown craftsman: A Japanese insight into beauty. Tokyo, Japan: Kodansha International.
Lévy, P., & Yamada, S. (2017). 3D-modeling and 3D-printing explorations on Japanese tea ceremony utensils. In TEI 2017 – Proceedings of the 11th International conference on tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction (pp. 283-288). New York, NY: ACM Press.

Everyday rituals

Pierre Lévy
The everyday is in the fluidity of the present moment, in what is apparently insignificant and therefore hardly noticeable and memorable. It contains what has become known and habitual, by force of quotidianisation, and enables to live peacefully in a domesticated environment. Questioning it is therefore difficult. But the everyday is also a space of openness, when the anticipated does not happen as expected. The everyday integrates its own possibility of change through irregularities. The everyday ritual is a specific form of everyday experience because it gives everyday practices a space for attention and is formed with the aim of a conscious emotional appreciation of one’s experience and related values. The designer inquires the “texture” of such moment by the organisation of the space, the choice of objects, of gestures and practices… leading to the expression and the experience of related values.
It appears that design is hardly questioning the banal, the things of the everyday. Questioning everyday rituals helps to gain skill to deal with complexity in details, which creates richness in our everyday lives. It also helps to gain sensitivity on the importance of details and the beauty of the ordinary.
Levy, P. D. (2018). The beauty of making hot chocolate: An inquiry on designing for everyday rituals. In Proceedings of the DRS 2018: Catalyst (Vol. 5., pp. 339-348). London, UK: Design Research Society.
Levy, P. D. (2018). Le temps de l’expérience: enchanter le quotidien par le design. (Mémoire d’Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches, Compiègne, France). Retrieved from


Sander van der Zwan, Maarten Smith
The theory specifically focuses on the deep description of human experience and action from a first-person perspective. Key to this is the notion that things “are not neutral ‘intermediaries’ between human and world, but mediators; they actively mediate this relation”. “They carry morality since they help to shape how human beings act.”.
The philosophy of postphenomenology gives you abstract handles to gain a deeper insight into how a design affects our everyday lives; how they shape what our world is and who we are? How do they shape how we interpret the world? What do they enable us to do and constrain us from doing and how do they affect us ethically? These handles help a lot in understanding and designing the transformational qualities of your design.

Rosenberger, R. and Verbeek, P. -P. (2015). Postphenomenological investigations. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Intersubjectivity – second person perspective

Sander van der Zwan, Maarten Smith
There are many takes on intersubjectivity. Building on phenomenological foundations the squad is interested in experiences as shared between multiple people. How are technologically mediated experiences and practices shaped by social interactions/intersubjectivity not only from the outside, but also ‘from within’ the mediated experience and/or practice itself? And how do technologies mediate our relations with the other?
Exploring the topic of intersubjectivity will make you wiser when it comes to understanding how humans experience each other through a design. What kind of social worlds are formed when a design is being interacted with?
Zahavi, D. (2001). Beyond Empathy: Phenomenological approaches to intersubjectivity. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 8(5-6), 151-167.
Kohák, E. (2003). An Understanding Heart. In C. Brown and T. Toadvine (Eds.), Eco-phenomenology: Back to the earth itself. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Distributed Cognition

Javed Khan
Distributed cognition is an approach to cognitive science research that deploys models of the extended mind (see, for example, the paper The Extended Mind) by taking as the fundamental unit of analysis “a collection of individuals and artifacts and their relations to each other in a particular work practice
“when cognition is studied in the wild it is apparent that it is best studied not as an individualistic mental phenomenon or information process- ing occurring inside the head of a solitary thinker. Instead, it is necessary to consider cognition as a joint activity involving several agents, some human and others technological.”
Peter C. Wright , Robert E. Fields & Michael D. Harrison (2000) Analyzing Human-Computer Interaction as Distributed Cognition: The Resources Model, Human-Computer Interaction, 15:1, 1-41, DOI: 10.1207/S15327051HCI1501_01
Hutchins, Edwin (1995). Cognition in the Wild. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-58146-2.

Technology in becoming

Sander van der Zwan, Maarten Smith
There is an entire branch of philosophy dedicated to understanding reality as a process. Within this branch there also is work done on understanding technology in becoming. Building on phenomenological foundations the squad is interested in understanding all nuances of technologies in becoming, instead of technologies in use at single points in time. This includes both technology-in-the-making (the process of constituting a new technology) and technology-in-appropriation (the process in which users make an existing technology “fit” their own lives).
Exploring the topic of technology in becoming will give you a unique perspective into how technology unfolds over time and how your design is and always remains part of this process.

Rosenberger, R. (2014). Multistability and the agency of mundane artifacts: From speed bumps to subway benches. Human Studies, 37(3), 369-392.
Rosenberger, R. (2018). Why it takes both postphenomenology and STS to account for technological mediation: the case of LOVE Park. In J. Aagaard, J. Friis, J. Sorenson, O. Tafdrup and C. Hasse (Eds.), Postphenomenological methodologies: New ways in mediating techno-human relationships (pp. 171-198). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Michelfelder, D. (2015). Postphenomenology with an eye to the future. In R. Rosenberger and P. -P. Verbeek (Eds.), Postphenomenological investigations (pp. 237-246). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Combes, M. (2013). Gilbert Simondon and the Philosophy of the Transindividual (T. LaMarre, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Embodied interaction

Pierre Lévy, Caroline Hummels
Embodied interaction is a term originally coined by Paul Dourish (2001) which refers to products, objects, conversations, actions etc. that unfold in the world and are meaningful in the social and physical world. We have the ability to use our body to interact with technology in a natural way. We perceive the world in terms of what we can do with it, in terms of our skills, especially our perceptual-motor and social skills. Designing for embodied interaction is based on these principles and results in designs that are ‘inherently meaningful’.
According to Kia Hook, professor at KTH, Sweden “ID has a unique, well-recognised focus on embodied interaction, with strong theoretical groundings while still being practice-led, and with a firm focus on aesthetics.” Also, the philosophy of transformative practices is based on embodied-situated theories and embodied interaction. Having an understanding of these underlying concepts, helps you designing embodied interactions.
Hook, K., Jonsson, M., Stahl, A., Tholander, J., Robertson, T., Marti, P., … Khut, G. (2016). Move to be moved. In CHI EA ’16 Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 3301-3308). New York, NY: ACM Press.
Hummels, C., and Van Dijk, J. (2015). Seven principles to design for embodied sensemaking. In TEI’15 Proceedings of the 9th international conference on tangible, embedded and embodied interaction (pp. 21-28). New York, NY: ACM Press.
Van Dijk, J., and Hummels, C. (2017). Designing for Embodied Being-in-the-World: Two Cases, Seven Principles and One Framework. In: Proceedings of the 11th International conference on tangible, embedded and embodied interaction (pp. 47-56), New York, NY: ACM Press.
Djajadiningrat, J., Overbeeke, C., & Wensveen, S. (2002). But how, Donald, tell us how? on the meaning of interaction design through feedforward and inherent feedback. In: N. MacDonald (Ed.), DIS ’02 Proceedings of the 4th conference on designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques, (pp. 285-291). New York, NY: ACM Press.

Technological systems

Sander van der Zwan, Maarten Smith
There are many takes on technological systems. Building on phenomenological foundations the squad is interested in the experiences of systems and chains of interconnected technologies. How do we conceptualise technological systems with a mixed form of material and service-oriented mediation, where we consider ‘material’ to be physical and digital? How do we investigate the face-to-face dimension of the technologically mediated services and how do we face the challenge of sparking multiple forms of mediating relations at the same time, e.g. embodied, hermeneutic and immersion relations, for which there isn’t a theoretical account yet?
Exploring the topic of technological systems will make you wiser when it comes to understanding how your design will always be part of a larger technological whole that co-shapes what the meaning of your design is and will be in context.
Rosenberger, R. (2014). Multistability and the agency of mundane artifacts: From speed bumps to subway benches. Human Studies, 37(3), 369-392.
Rosenberger, R. (2018). Why it takes both postphenomenology and STS to account for technological mediation: the case of LOVE Park. In J. Aagaard, J. Friis, J. Sorenson, O. Tafdrup and C. Hasse (Eds.), Postphenomenological methodologies: New ways in mediating techno-human relationships (pp. 171-198). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Transformation paradigm

Caroline Hummels, Pierre Lévy
Our society is changing continuously, and when looking more closely, one can detect several underlying paradigms and types of societies over the last 40-50 years, with a current move towards the purpose economy (Hurst, 20xx) and the transformation economy (Brand and Rocchi, 2011). In the latter, the central value proposition is an ethical value exchange (trust, collaboration); consumers are starting to appreciate products that are ethically and sustainably produced and traded. It has attention for global and societal issues. To solve these issues, industry, government, academia and local user communities will need to collaborate to create local solutions that contribute to the larger whole (Brand and Rocchi, 2011; Gardien et al., 2015). The transformation paradigm potentially has two future directions, steady state and eco-entangled, also labelled as Habitania and Gaia (Brand, 2019).
This paradigm, coined by Brand and Rocchi (2011) is part of a framework that looks back on how society has developed in terms of different paradigms, as well as part of a recent framework that looks forward how society might develop in the future (Brand, 2019). Based on an understanding of these (potential) developments, it provides a vision for the future of society and how design and your design project relates to this.

Brand, R., & Rocchi. (2011). Rethinking value in a changing landscape: A model for strategic reflection and business transformation. Eindhoven, the Netherlands: Philips Design.
Gardien, P., Djajadiningrat, J., Hummels, C., and Brombacher, A. (2014). Changing your hammer: the implications of paradigmatic innovation for design practice. International Journal of Design, 8(2), 119-139.
Brand, R. (2019). Co-emerging futures: a model for reflecting on streams of future change. Eindhoven, the Netherlands: Philips Design.