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In this paper we show how the judicious use of design patterns can improve the design of context-awareness in software systems. We first review well-known problems in the development of context-aware applications. Next, we present our view on the design process of context-aware software; we introduce design patterns and explain why they can be useful to improve the quality of this kind of applications. We finally present some design patterns we mined by researching on successful context-aware approaches. Some concluding remarks are finally presented together with further work we are pursuing.