Finding participants is an important step in the co-design planning process. This is most effective when communities and organizations take the lead and invite co-designers from their community.
Centering the perspectives of those most affected by the design is a core value for co-design. It is important to invite co-designers who are often considered to be “edge cases”. This would include those who have challenges with how the current system or design works, or can’t use it altogether.
The effort and time it takes to find participants is often underestimated, especially if you are looking for co-designers with a wide range of needs. We recommend starting the process of finding participants as early as possible in your co-design process.
It is also important to note that co-designers will have different accessibility needs. As a result it is best if you start planning the logistics of the event at the same time as you are finding and inviting participants.
Reaching out to community members or community leaders is a good first step in the process. Use methods that are most comfortable or preferable to them.
Here are a few different ways to reach people where they are:
- phone calls or text messages
- social media
- joining town hall meetings
- at community centers
- posting a note on library bulletin boards.
If people raise any issues about accessibility or other concerns when you are speaking with them, take a note of them for your planning process.
Suggested content to include in invitation communication
Check out the sample invitation letter for suggested letter content. You can also post a simpler invite, graphic, or social media call-out to inform people of your plans. Once community members express interest, you can then provide more details.
Collaborators (designers or others) can support community organizations and leaders in inviting participants by providing:
- Letters, graphics, or social media call-outs
- Detailed information (e.g. sample invitation letter)
- Any required consent forms