The designer is required, more and more often, to respond carefully and effectively to the needs of the users. A design methodology useful but long and not always easy to implement, is the practice of participatory design, since it provides a common ground and a space for dialogue between designer and the final user.
This research aimed to investigate how semiotics and ethnography, combined in a discipline called etnosemiotica, can become important and decisive tool to carry out a participatory design process.
The project took place in a school in the province of Reggio Emilia, where I spent almost a year, working together with two classes of 9 years old children. I observed, took notes, run interviews and surveys about the spaces inside the school, trying to understand from the user point of view strenghts and weaknesses of those spaces.