A study of everyday repair: informing interaction design

Date created: 
Everyday repair, everyday design, interaction design, creativity, non-expert, practice

Repair is typically seen in design as the restoration of broken objects to their original state. Repair by non-experts, or everyday repair, can often lead to novel forms of repair resulting in the creative repurposing of objects that are often unforeseen by designers. Using a grounded theory approach, this study describes key aspects of repair including: the techniques non-experts employ for repairing their objects; the motivations that prompt acts of repair; and the outcomes that result from non-experts' repair techniques. Over the course of a year and a half, 42 participants between the ages 20-65 were interviewed with over 120 objects submitted of broken, repaired and repurposed artifacts. Both interview and image data were coded for distinguishing core concepts and categories, resulting in a theoretical framework. The goal of this framework is to inform the design of interactive technologies that anticipate the creative ways non-experts repair, reuse and repurpose their broken objects.

Document type: 
Copyright remains with the author. The author granted permission for the file to be printed and for the text to be copied and pasted.
Ron Wakkary
Erik Stolterman, Carman Neustaedter
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.