Design to Support People’s Activity Systems — A Literature Review on the Application of Activity Theory in Design Research

DS 91: Proceedings of NordDesign 2018, Linköping, Sweden, 14th - 17th August 2018

Year: 2018
Editor: Ekströmer, Philip; Schütte, Simon and Ölvander, Johan
Author: Chu, Wanjun; Steenstra, Paula; Glad, Wiktoria; Wever, Renee
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: Lingköping University, TU Delft
ISBN: 978-91-7685-185-2


Context change is regarded as an opportunity to intervene people’s daily doings towards a sustainable direction. Looking at this opportunity from a product and service design perspective, in order to introduce design interventions, the question of how people actually transit their behavioural routines when they are undergoing context change. As the first step to approach this question, in the paper we present the use of activity theory as a theoretical lens to systematically describe and analyze the process and outcomes that context change has in influencing people’s daily doings. First, we report in detail on how we construct an activity based analytical approach to analyze the transition and development process when people are undergoing context change. Then, we illustrate the practical use of our model in a case study for understanding the influences that context change has in South-East Asian exchange students’ food consumption activities. In the end, we summarize our findings and reflections in terms of the holistic and in-depth insights the activity perspective can provide.

Keywords: Sustainable design, behaviour transition, activity theory, conference publications


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