The scope of participatory design is discussed through the case of a national standard for electronic patient records (EPR) in Denmark. Currently within participatory design, the relationship between participatory methods and techniques on the one hand and critical and emancipatory aims on the other hand is discussed. Some argue that participation in itself entails a strive towards democracy, others argue that the tendency to focus upon tools, techniques and the arena of single projects should be supplemented with emancipatory aims, such as technology assessment and critique of dominance. These issues are discussed through the controversies around the test in late 2004 of a prototype application based on BEHR, a standard developed from 1999 to 2005 for EPRs. I argue that participation is valuable, but that the scope of participatory design should also include critical conceptualizations participation, power, methodology and knowledge. Finally, standards can be crucial cases to engage in for participatory design, since they affect the work of many people and call for a focus on arenas beyond the single design project, which is the focus of many participatory design cases.
Expanding Boundaries in Design. Proceedings of the 2006 Participatory Design Conference, 2006, p. 95-104