Research Output
The Tree and The Room: Co-Designing DIY WiFi Networks with Emergent Local Metaphors
  The use of metaphor for communicating conceptual models of interactive systems has a well-documented history in Interaction Design practice. Although metaphors can primarily be understood as linguistic devices, designers incorporate them into the design process in order to make abstract ideas more concrete and tractable. In this paper we present two case studies where resident researchers worked with Greek village communities to explore potential uses of a “do-it-yourself” WiFi networking technology platform. Built using simple, low-cost Raspberry Pi computer hardware and specially developed, open-source software, this toolkit has the potential to enable hyper-local applications and services to be developed and maintained within a host community. During the co-design process, locally specific, spatial metaphors emerged - the tree and the room - that proved useful for collective sense-making. In this paper, we argue for the importance of foregrounding and supporting emergent design metaphors that are contextually meaningful within the local situation.

  • Date:

    31 December 2021

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Cumulus International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media

  • Funders:

    EC European Commission


Smyth, M., Helgason, I., Lapidge, L., & Hausel, K. (2021). The Tree and The Room: Co-Designing DIY WiFi Networks with Emergent Local Metaphors. In Design Culture(s) | Cumulus Conference Proceedings Roma 2021 (3823-3837)



Participatory design, co-design, metaphor, wifi networking

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