Worth-Focused Design, Book 2

Worth-Focused Design, Book 2

Approaches, Context, and Case Studies

Gilbert Cockton


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This book introduces the concept of worth for design teams, relates it to experiences and outcomes, and describes how to focus on worth when researching and expressing design opportunities for generous worth. Truly interdisciplinary teams also need an appropriate common language, which was developed in the companion book Worth-Focused Design, Book 1: Balance, Integration, and Generosity (Cockton, 2020a). Its new lexicon for design progressions enables a framework for design and evaluation that works well with a worth focus.

Design now has different meanings based upon the approach of different disciplinary practices. For some, it is the creation of value. For others, it is the conception and creation of artefacts. For still others, it is fitting things to people (beneficiaries). While each of these design foci has merits, there are risks in not having an appropriate balance across professions that claim the centre of design for their discipline and marginalise others. Generosity is key to the best creative design—delivering unexpected worth beyond documented needs, wants, or pain points. Truly interdisciplinary design must also balance and integrate approaches across several communities of practice, which is made easier by common ground. Worth provides a productive focus for this common ground and is symbiotic with balanced, integrated, and generous (BIG) practices. Practices associated with balance and integration for worth-focused generosity are illustrated in several case studies that have used approaches in this book, complementing them with additional practices.


Gilbert Cockton:
Gilbert Cockton is a part-time Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Sunderland. He retired as Professor of Design Theory at Northumbria University in 2019, remaining affiliated with NORTH Lab as an Emeritus Professor. His career has balanced teaching, research, and working for and within businesses, government, and the third sector. He has worked in academic computing and design departments since 1984. From 2004, his research has focused on bringing critical creative practice fully and appropriately into software design and evaluation, first through value and worth as centres for design practice, and then through a generous Wo-Fo, progressing design work through balance and integration, developing approaches and resources that support realistic design practice. Gilbert has held leadership roles in HCI groups in the British Computer Society, IFIP, and ACM, as chair of the BCS HCI group, vice-chair of IFIP TC13, programme coordinator for INTERACT90, and general chair for CHI 2003 and British HCI 2000. He chaired ten technical tracks between 1993 and 2012 for INTERACT, British HCI, CHI, and DIS conferences. He was co-editor in chief of ACM Interactions magazine from 2016–2019. He was awarded a SIGCHI Lifetime Service Award in 2020.