Type 2 diabetes is a prevalent, chronic disease, which places significant burden on societies and individuals. This article reports the participatory research design of an exploratory study that introduces mobile tablet devices in the self-management of type 2 diabetes in a primary healthcare setting. Strategies from democratic dialogic theory were used in the design of the research to steer the participatory engagement between researchers and healthcare practitioners. The outcome of this phase of the research was the issue of six invitations to 28 people with diabetes to frame their use of a mobile tablet device in managing their health. Those invitations were clustered in two themes, Empowered and Compelled, representing typical patient attitudes and behaviours. The work reported here sets the stage for a longitudinal and socially complex study that encompasses a new and comprehensive General Practitioner (GP) Super Clinic with an array of health and administrative staff, patients with a chronic health condition requiring continual self-management, a wide continuum of digital literacy capability in all participants and an ever-increasing digital society. It reports a novel research design methodology that merges democratic dialogic theory and participatory design, resulting in a grounded and agreed approach to a mobile health intervention.