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.

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