The Co-creation Space: Design and Evaluation

User Centered Design Process

The goal of participatory art is to give community and professional participants an equitable voice.  The TRACTION project is to support social transformation of inequality, using technology to help diverse communities across the European Union participate in the creation of opera. To support artistic co-creation with these communities, I have worked to design and test the Co-Creation Space (CCS), an artistic co-creation tool that supports asynchronous and multifaceted discussion and reflection dynamics.

Our user-centered process encompassed several design and research methods. In the first year of the project, I gathered requirements for the TRACTION tools through a series of focus groups. Then, I mapped user journeys by developing personas, use cases, storyboards, and designed the tool inferface by creating a set of wireframes. After developement of the initial tool, I evaluated them through a usability test paired with an in-depth interview  with 6 co-designers at the LICEU operahouse in Barcelona.


In the second year, I went through another user-centred design process; i held 5 co-design sessions with 25 participants to gather user requirements regarding privacy, smart upload and commenting/editing features, and a narrative summary tool, and tested the usability of the second iteration with 10 choral participants from the open pilot carried out at the LICEU operahouse.

Focus Groups: Gathering Requirements 

The goal of gathering user requirements was to inform the design of the Traction technology for the three trials, in order to build a common understanding of the project between Traction team members,  identify potential users, and identify and refine a set of user requirements for toolset design.  I gathered tool requirements with 12 leaders from the project over 3 focus groups.  In preparation, participants filled out a booklet probe, a method of context  mapping to elicit feedback about how the projects might use technology for co-creation. Then, during the focus groups, participants discussed their responses, and responded to an artist interpretation of the tool. 

From the focus groups, I obtained a set of requirements for the designs based on the thematic analysis. These requirements specified what the two tools should do, and how they should perform, and were separated into functional requirements, that specify what the system should do, and non-functional requirements, that specify what constraints exist on development of the systems, such as data requirements, environmental requirements, user requirements, and usability requirements. To concretize our design goals, we separated out the requirements by trials, and ranked requirements by relative interest to the trials, feasibility, and project priority.

Mapping User Journeys 

I designed the intial version of the tool through a multi-step user journey, that included defining personas, scenarios, use-cases, storyboarding interactions, and developing wireframes .


First, I developed user personas,  and defined a set of scenarios and use cases with project leaders and developers. Using a persona template, we brainstormed an initial set of personas with project leaders, gave them project templates to further brainstorm, and met a second time to discuss their personas. I likewise defined scenarios and use cases, first integrating personas into a set of scenarios, then brainstorming a set of possible use-cases for how the CCS could support project goals. After receiving feedback on the use cases and adding corresponding requirements, I storyboarded a subset of these interactions, sketching use cases by hand and in Figma, and discussing these again with project leaders and developers. Finally, I created wireframes of the interface based on the storyboard interactions, received feedback from developers on the implementation of the tool, and feedback from project leaders on the clarity of the interfaces. 

Co-design sessions

In the second year, I gathered a new set of requirements for the tool through  five Miro codesign sessions organized around four topics: 1) Privacy, 2) Commenting and Editing tools, 3) Smart Upload tools, and a 4) Narrative Summary.  One co-design session was organized for the first three topics, and two codesign sessions were run for the narrative summary; first to understand user requirements, and the second to consider ways of designing the summary tool. Each lasted approximately two hours and were conducted over Zoom. Each codesign session consisted of an overview of the Co-creation Space, an introductory discussion, followed by codesign sessions in small groups. After this, groups presented their ideas to one another, and had a final discussion about new tool requirements.

Usability Studies 

After a lengthy design and development process, I evaluated the Co-creation through two sets of usability tests paired with in-depth interviews.  The usability tests evaluated how easy the two systems were to use, while the in-depth interviews asked users to envision the usefulness of each tool in practice; for co-design, learning, and outreach.  The first year included 6 evaluations with participants from the LICEU co-creation community, and the second year included evaluations with 10 participants.  These numbers were due to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and 2021.