Design for future uses: Pluralism, fetishism and ignorance

Cristiano Storni


In this paper, I question the epistemological and chronological politics of design. Concerned with the role of technology and design in a democratic society, I problematize the divisions between expert and lay knowledge, and between design (before) and use (after). I argue that designs that assumes those divisions risk of colonizing the future, and limiting the possibility of appreciating different forms of knowledge that are not available/voiced at design time. Drawing on a series of Science and Technology Studies about the interplay between knowledge and ignorance in our society, I argue for an approach to design for future uses that acknowledges our present ignorance and lack of control, and that aims at procrastinating and delegating design decisions until the actual future time of use, To illustrate this approach, I report on a design project concerned with chronic disease self-management and aimed at developing and evaluating a platform for the personalisation of self-monitoring practices in type 1 diabetes.

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