This page shows an overview of projects that used contextmapping techniques in their design process.


Encounter: a librarian’s desk designed for consulting encounters

For her graduation project, Martje van der Linde designed a desk for the specific needs of librarians in the modern era. By means of a contextmapping study she developed a vision on the needs of librarians and library visitors, for whom consulting interactions have become increasingly important. Based on this vision, she developed a concept and prototype, which has currently been taken in use at the Free University Library, Amsterdam.


De Klessebessers for people with dementia

Helma van Rijn and Mariet Schreurs used contextmapping techniques to gain insight into the experiential world of people with dementia. The working prototype of their design, de Klessebessers was used at day care centre ‘t Anker (Smeetsland, de Stromen, in Rotterdam). Their design was awarded with the first prize in design competition vergeethenniet of the Province of Noord-Brabant.

Read more about it at Helma’s studiolab page or at de Klessebessers page or soon in a paper (van Rijn, H., van Hoof, J., Stappers, P.J. (2008) Designing De Klessebessers: a Leisure Game for People with Dementia. ISG08: Smart technology for active longevity, Pisa, Italy, June 4-6.)

Piece of family: Grandma online

piece of family:

In her MSc graduation project, Sanne Kistemaker used contextmapping techniques to involve family members in her design process. Her concept, piece of family, helps seniors to communicate with their relatives without having to use the computer.

Read more about this project in this journal article, and in Sanne’s forthcoming Include 2009 paper.

Sanne Kistemaker has won the Design for All Award at the 2007 Dutch Design Prizes Exhibition for Piece of Family.

Knick-Knacks, I should throw them away, really…

In her MSc graduation project, Annet Hennink used contextmapping techniques to study the arrangements of cherished items, such as photos and paraphernalia grouped together on the mantelpiece, which give our homes meaning and a sense of personality. These clusters were initially called home altars; but insights from the inspirational study let to a reformulation of this concept into knick-knacks on display. An experiential prototype of the display was tested in one family for two weeks.

Read more about this project in this journal article.

LINKX: a language-learning toy for autistic toddlers


In her MSc graduation project, Helma van Rijn employed contextmapping techniques to gain a rich understanding of autistic children’s preferences and learning problems. Her project finished with a tested working prototype.

Read more about it on Helma’s StudioLab page, on her personal website, in a paper (van Rijn, H., Stappers, P.J. (2007) Codesigning LINK: A case of gaining insight in a difficult-to-reach user group. International Association of Societies of Design Research 2007: Emerging Trends in Design Research, 12-15 November
The project is also featured in this journal article

The project was awarded the best graduation of 2007, both from the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, and also from Delft University of Technology as a whole.


Social worlds of seniors

Carolien Postma conducted a contextmapping study to obtain insight into seniors’ social worlds together with Elisabeth Leegwater and Merlijn Kouprie. The study provided rich data about the different social words that seniors participate in, and how seniors “do” social activities. In a four-days workshop, the rich social contextual data was communicated to a design team in practice, and translated into product concepts. This workshop was organized and facilitated by Carolien Postma in collaboration with three members of the design team.

Read soon more about this project in a paper (Postma, C.E., Stappers, P.J., and Lauche, K., Including the social dimension in design √ submitted)

Empathy in design: addressing the designers’ own experiences

empcards: empathy cards

In her MSc graduation project, Merlijn Kouprie studied how designers can be stimulated to create empathy with the users. Empathy with users is important for designers. However, it is not always possible for a designer to get physically involved in people’s lives, because there is not enough time, money or knowledge to do so. Merlijn Kouprie performed an extensive literature study on empathy in fields of psychology and philosophy and identified a process of empathy (based on Stein, 1917; Reik, 1949; and Rogers, 1975). Froukje and Merlijn have translated this process to the design field and it contains the four following steps: discovering; immersion;connection;detachment. In an experiment Merlijn addressed these four steps in an interactive workshop, with a focus on the second step: connection. By letting designers express their own experience about the topic, they can better connect with the user experiences.

Read soon more about it an a paper (Sleeswijk Visser, F and Kouprie, M. Stimulating empathy in ideation workshops, to be presented at Participatory Design Conference october 2008, Indianapolis.)

User-centered process

In her MSc graduation project, Christa van Gessel


A museum activity for adolescents


In her MSc graduation project, Carolien Postma developed an ‘one-afternoon museum activity’ for a user group of ‘reluctant 12-14 year old pupils’ in obligatory school excursions. In the first phase, spontaneous groups were identified, and groups of pupils expressed their social experiences in a creative task, which was observed both on the message level and on the behavioural level. The resulting data were structured into rich social models. In the second phase, the information was used to design a group activity in the museum, which used the natural interactions between members of the group to motivate its members to study the museum exhibits.

Read more about it in a paper (Postma, C.E. and Stappers, P.J. (2006) A Vision on Social Interactions as the Basis for Design. CoDesign, Vol. 2 No. 3, 139-155).

Carolien Postma’s project was awarded an honorary mention in the methods contest of IOP-IPCR 2005.

No Kitchen


For her MSc graduation project, Marcelle van Beusekom used contextmapping techniques to get insight into the kitchen of 2015. She redefined the future kitchen into ≥NO-kitchen≈; a flexible set of cooking fun!ctionalities that can be used when and wherever needed. This DIY (Do it Yourself) kitchen is not used continuously, but proves its full potential now and then when it is activated by its user.

Experiencing entrance admittance


In his MSc graduation project, Victor Visser used contextmapping techniques to study the experience of entrance admittance.

Read more about it in a paper (Sleeswijk Visser, F., Visser, V., Re-using users: Co-create and co-evaluate. Personal and ubiquitous computing, 10(2-3), 2005,


Sander Vroegindeweij did his MSc project at HP Labs in Bristol, studying the way people make their family memories albums at home. The design vision based on the home interviews led to a design for an interaction style. The product, ‘MyPictures’, is partly described in Keller & Stappers (2005).


Gustbowl by the mama’s boys

In 2003, a Delft student group ‘Mama’s boys’ participated in the Microsoft Design Challenge, winning the ‘best overall concept’ and ‘best presentation’ awards. Their design ‘gustbowl’ was based on generative interviews and observation studies, and aimed to enhance the communication between mothers and their outflown sons. You can find more about it on the mama’s boys website, where they present the project and prototype, and provide links to papers discussing the design.



Mike van der Geer conducted one of the first contextmapping projects in Delft, in order to learn about the working processes of radiologists. Aim of the project, conducted for the medical faculty of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, was to design an imaging workstation for x-ray diagnostics that would fit into the working lives of these doctors, rather than the purely technology-driven devices of the day.