From Co-Design to Co-Care: Designing a Collaborative Practice in Care

Anna Sigríður Islind, Ulrika Lundh Snis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The design of digital artifacts in general and mobile apps in particular has not been investigated
fully from a practice perspective. Mobile apps are commonly designed from a distant, armslength relationship where they are developed without taking the users’ practices into account.
This paper problematizes this notion and takes the point of departure from a collaborative design
(co-design) process where the goal was to design a mobile app supporting grocery shopping for
the home care sector. We analyse the role of designing a mobile app as a facilitator for collaboration between the elderly’s everyday practice and the caregivers work practice and investigate
how these two practices become intertwined. The research questions are: How can the design
process be organized in order to foster the formation of a prospective collaborative care practice? What aspects are important to consider when designing with a boundary practice perspective? The findings of this study indicate that organizing the design activities in a certain collaborative manner empowered the elderly and their caregivers and led to the formation of a common, collaborative care practice (herein called co-care). The focus of the design process thereby
shifted from designing the digital artifact (framed as a boundary object) to designing the co-care
practice (framed as a boundary practice). Our contribution is discussed in terms of design considerations, which can be applied for the facilitation of a collaborative boundary practice. The
considerations are of particular relevance for settings where two or more practices are to collaborate and where new conditions are to be created for future co-practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
JournalSystems, Signs & Actions
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Other keywords

  • Co-design boundaries
  • Boundary practice
  • Practice-oriented research
  • Home care
  • Platforms
  • Platformazation
  • Mobile application


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