Participatory Design is a maturing design tradition, which has brought valuable lessons to design with users. By embracing the new areas of participation the tradition is now also moving into the digital spaces of Social Media that has strengthened the voice of the public. This thesis examines the process of moving a traditional Future Workshop from the offline to online setting (the process I call a translation). Through the research question “What happens when a method for Participatory Design is translated and used on Facebook?” I address how a traditional method for Participatory Design can be translated and used online, and how Facebook can act as a platform for Participatory Design.
The research question is explored through an ethnographically informed approach. The exploration follows a Participatory Design process with a group of participants who engage in a new design of a mobile application for digital photo-archives. Over the course of translating a Future Workshop, and letting it unfold on Facebook with the participants, the process has been documented using qualitative methods. The gathered empirical field material is analysed through three perspectives of heterogeneity, facilitation, and fluidity. Furthermore, outcomes are analysed according to the three themes emancipation, privacy and silence, considered as central issues to examine when Participatory Design processes are moved to the online space.
The analyses have demonstrated that traditional methods and Facebook gain new value when conducted online, and that knowledge of the traditional methods can be extended online. Also revealed are issues and opportunities that arise when traditional Participatory Design methods are conducted online. The study offer knowledge and experiences that can serve as resources for future translations of Participatory Design methods, and Social Media as platform for including heterogeneous and distributed participants in design processes. Based on my experiences from following the translation process, as well as reviews of literature on Participatory Design and Social Media, I suggest a set of guidelines to aid designers in undergoing a Participatory Design approach through Social Media. The guidelines also suggest certain issues encountered as important themes to consider in future research on Participatory Design through Social Media.