in their everyday life with their artifacts.
The formal level is the organized way
in which society represents meanings
and intentions in people’s artifacts (e.g.,
laws, methods of work, templates). The
technical level represents technological
artifacts, which mediate actions in
previous levels; they come in part from
the formal layer, which in turn relies on
meanings from the informal layer.
The semioparticipatory model
integrates the development of
interactive systems with social practices
with stakeholders. Figure 2 illustrates
scenarios and artifacts of some
social or physical conditions, to express
their own stories in their own voices.
Within this scenario, and as part of
it, our approach at UNICAMP brings
a systemic view on how technology
shapes relationships we create in the
world (economic, social, interpersonal,
ethical, etc.). For this work,
organizational semiotics (OS) has
been a fundamental theoretical frame
of reference [ 5]. In the OS paradigm,
reality is seen as a social construct
based on the behavior of agents who
participate in it.
Practices within that systemic
view have been reinvented in
semioparticipatory workshops (SPWs),
performed with a diverse group
of people (community members,
researchers, students, developers, etc.)
throughout the design process. Unlike
workshops that involve a homogeneous
group of users (if that were possible), the
idea of SPWs is to bring the plurality of
experiences and worldviews, including
those from people still on the margins
of access to knowledge mediated
by digital technology, to the same
environment. Inclusive participatory
practices (IPPs) enable the dynamics of
interaction in the workshops, helping
these diverse groups to communicate in
design sessions. The outcomes of these
meetings have been fascinating.
From our perspective, making
design involves the production of
meaning and interpretation by those
involved in the design process. This
“situatedness” locates the design
process in a nested structure of signs in
which informal, formal, and technical
layers of information and interaction
coexist. Various artifacts (informal,
formal, and technical) are used as tools
of communication and mediation by the
participants during the design process.
Figure 1, inspired by Stamperś semiotic
onion [ 6], illustrates this structure.
The informal level represents the
interactions among people in a society,
Figure 1. Systemic and socio-located vision for design.
Clarifying Domain Informal IS
Semantic Analysis Formal IS
Prototyping Technical IS
Figure 2. Inclusive participatory practices, people, and artifacts in SPW.