The Designer’s Body as Resource in Design: Exploring Combinations of Point-of-view and Tense

Dag Svanæs, Louise Barkhuus

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


The design of wearable, tangible and embedded interactive products requires a focus on bodily/kinesthetic aspects of the user experience, that is, how the product "feels" in use. Although best practice in user-centered design (such as iterative design, prototyping, user testing) also applies for this new type of product, the designer's skill set needs to be supplemented with design methods and practices that utilize bodily intelligence and empathy with the user. We present a framework for categorizing such body-centered design practices based on two dimensions: point-of-view (1st, 2nd, 3rd person) and tense (past, present, future). Inspired by Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of the body, Shusterman's work on somaesthetics, and Buber's theories on intersubjectivity, the framework provides a language for talking about different ways designers and co-designers can utilize their body as a design resource. The intention is not to be prescriptive on method, but to provide guidance during planning, execution and analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI '20: Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Number of pages12
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication dateApr 2020
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-6708-0
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Wearable Computing
  • User-Centered Design
  • Bodily Intelligence
  • Phenomenology
  • Co-Design Practices


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