Towards a person-centred approach to design for personalisation

Sarah Kettley*, Richard Kettley, Rachel Lucas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter reflects on the political and ethical dimensions of personalisation through an analysis of the Person-Centred Approach (PCA) as found in psychotherapy practice and research, political conciliation and education. We propose that the PCA has the potential to inform ethical frameworks in participatory design, and can help facilitate critical reflection on approaches to personalisation in healthcare and technologically connected services.
A context is provided by ubiquitous computing visions of an Internet of Things, contrasted with the needs of mental health service users, and by recent calls for explicit reflection by design researchers on the ethical and political implications of their processes. The chapter discusses models of the person found in the mindsets of design research, and in the different modes of psychotherapy practice, and positions the PCA as a generative framework (after Sanders’ map of design practice and research), and as holistic, rather than behavioural, cognitive or systemic. The Person-Centred Approach of Carl Rogers is then introduced through the six necessary and sufficient conditions for therapeutic change, and a discussion on the importance of non-directivity to the approach; this is followed by a short analysis of three participatory design research projects, in which some aspects of the PCA are evident. We then develop our proposal for a Person-Centred Approach to Design, following the four dimensions of timescale, power relations, levels of participation, and reflection on practice (after Vines et al 2012). Finally, we discuss issues with the use of similar terminology by other practices, and reiterate the critical differences between the Person-Centred Approach and most approaches to designing Personalisation. We hope that the chapter will allow design researchers to recognise that there are different modes of practice within the healthcare professions, and within psychology, and that these can have a significant impact on research methodology, including the configuration of participants within projects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesign for Personalisation
EditorsIryna Kuska, Tom Fisher
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781317152446
ISBN (Print)9781472457394
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2017

Publication series

NameDesign for Social Responsibility


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