What is the role of ethnography in design?Julia Moisand Egéa29 SEPT 2010
Role of ethnography in design. Designing with versus designing for people.   2Contents1. What is ethnography?2. Are design...
Role of ethnography in design. Designing with versus designing for people.                                               3...
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Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people.                                              7Are d...
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Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people.                                         9 The secon...
Role of ethnography in design. Designing with versus designing for people.                                       10Ethnogr...
Role of ethnography in design. Designing with versus designing for people.                              11Use of sympathy ...
Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people.                             12            By connec...
Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people.                            13              By lever...
Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people.                                       14Use of empa...
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Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people.                                              19 Con...
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Ethnography in-design

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Ethnography in-design

  1. 1. What is the role of ethnography in design?Julia Moisand Egéa29 SEPT 2010
  2. 2. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with versus designing for people. 2Contents1. What is ethnography?2. Are designers ethnographers?3. Ethnography techniques are valuable for conducting design research4. Designing with people5. Designing for people6. Conclusion
  3. 3. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with versus designing for people. 3What is ethnography?Ethnography, as a term coming from the social sciences and anthropology, is the study of foreign cultures, oftenunknown communities, minorities or endangered cultures. The ethnographer observes the social structure,relationships, interactions, vision of the world, relation to life, morals, ethics, rituals, artifacts. Some ethnographers arealso linguists and are especially interested in the dialects and languages spoken.
  4. 4. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with versus designing for people. 4 studies unknown cultures An ethnographercan also be looking forterminology, dialects, languagesspoken. understands the structural and societal model, as well as the interactions between people studies rituals, ceremonies, artifacts of the community
  5. 5. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people. 5 Four components define ethnography as a method: - being present on site, in the studied context - spending a sufficient amount of time - being part of the community - following a process to capture data
  6. 6. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people. 6 goal 1 goal 2The main goal of ethnographers is to capture, record and archive data.Then, an ethnographer can decide to write an analysis or a theory from the fieldwork.
  7. 7. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people. 7Are designers ethnographers?Designers (like Emily Pilloton, Chris Le Dantec) adapted methods from ethnography and anthropology in order toconduct Design Research. They follow a similar process, researching in the studied context itself, spending time there,being part of a community and capturing data.So, are designers ethnographers?
  8. 8. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people. 8 The first main difference that distinguishes a designer’s process from an ethnographer’s process is the scale. Because of time and budget constraints, designer’s research process usually embrace smaller scale in term of context, time, role played in the community and data captured. Designers conduct «corporate ethnography» as J.Fulton Suri says, not real ethnography and anthropology (which also requires specific knowledge).Ethnographer’s scale (Geertz, Levi-Strauss) Designer’s scale (Jane Fulton Suri, Jodi Furlizzi, Liz Sanders)
  9. 9. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people. 9 The second and most important difference is that designers create impact on the community they observe by improving, changing, implementing, creating products, systems or services, while ethnographers don’t intend to change the behavior of the people they’re studying.
  10. 10. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with versus designing for people. 10Ethnography techniques are valuablefor conducting design research Ethnography techniques are valuable to contextualize information and people in order to propose activities, services, products, that will be valuable, meaningful, helpful, and playful to people. Ethnographic techniques make design relevant. They help to structure the design process and it’s the way of collecting real data, on which improvement and innovation can be based. Ethnography techniques help designers to stay connected with their users, audiences, customers. Different ethnographic techniques can be chosen by the design team, using different level of empathy: - by using sympathy and facilitation methods (Pilloton, Le Dantec, Sanders) - by using empathy and synthesis methods (Fulton Suri, Forlizzi, Gaver)
  11. 11. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with versus designing for people. 11Use of sympathy and facilitation methods:designing with people By being there, focusing on one thing and being involved in the community, while looking for local experts and acting as a facilitator. (Emily Pilloton, Project H)
  12. 12. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people. 12 By connecting ideas from the «public», assuming that an idea is like a network, gaining to be enriched by the participation of the targeted users. (Chris Le Dantec)
  13. 13. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people. 13 By leveraging user’s creativity and embracing a co-creation process (Liz Sanders)
  14. 14. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people. 14Use of empathy and synthesis methods:designing for people By experiencing prototyping in order to have a personal experience with a service or a product and, as much as possible, to simulate the user’s situation and feelings. (Jane Fulton Suri)
  15. 15. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people. 15 filter By looking at attributes like time, distance, multiple individuals, context and by building frameworks for synthesis (Jodi Forlizzi).
  16. 16. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people. 16 By finding inspiration in individual and subjective stories from users (cultural probes, W. Gaver)
  17. 17. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people. 18 17Use of ethnographic techniques to makeincremental changes on existing products Technological changes drive innovation, new services and products emerged because of technology not because people think they need them. Design Research is good for small incremental improvements of existing products but irrelevant for innovation (Don Norman).
  18. 18. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people. 18ConclusionEthnography in design can be approached in two different ways:- designing with people by helping them generate their own ideas and potential solutions. The fieldwork is creation itself. The designer acts as a facilitator and looks for the expertise among the users, community and publics.- designing for people by collecting and synthesizing design research insights and/or technology requirements. The fieldwork is used for inspiration, experiences prototyping, iteration and testing. The designer creates the solutions, in partnership with the users but there is a distance between them.
  19. 19. Role of ethnography in design. Designing with vs designing for people. 19 ConclusionI don’t think there is necessarily an opposition between designing with versus for people.Designers can be considered as generalist because they embrace a lot of information on different fields and domainsbut I do think they reach a level of expertise in design process, methods, synthesis, communication over their career.Because they have this expertise, they can make recommendations and design for people.Designers design with people by including design research methods in their process and that’s how they stay connectedto their users and make sure they design solutions that make sense.I relate to designers who design FOR people but WITH them, by using ethnographic research methods.Jane Fulton Suri, Forlizzi and Gaver, for example, collect data and experience ideas from the field but there is a momentin their design process where there is an official channel for synthesis, interpretation and therefore, subjectivity.I think subjectivity happens anyway so I am comfortable with design processes that assume it.

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