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When Design Met  Anthropology Christina Wasson
Outline of presentation <ul><li>How design met anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>Emergence of a new, hybrid field: design ant...
Prior social science partners with design <ul><li>Cognitive psychology/human factors </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing research ...
How design met anthropology <ul><li>Computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) </li></ul><ul><li>Xerox PARC </li></ul><ul>...
What is ethnography? <ul><li>Fundamental research approach of ANTHROPOLOGY (cultural and linguistic) </li></ul><ul><li>Dev...
Why ethnography appeals to designers <ul><li>Reveals use in context (not lab) </li></ul><ul><li>Goes beyond what people sa...
Emergence of “design anthropology” <ul><li>Interdisciplinary, hybrid field </li></ul><ul><li>Jobs - Intel, Microsoft, Moto...
The downside of popularity <ul><li>“ Ethnography Lite” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anyone can do it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>N...
Theories in design anthropology <ul><li>General anthropology “toolkit” includes theories about globalization, modernity, c...
Methods in design anthropology: data collection <ul><li>Video recording </li></ul><ul><li>Open to innovation </li></ul><ul...
Methods in design anthropology: analysis <ul><li>What are the patterns? </li></ul><ul><li>Intuition/memory can be misleadi...
Collaboration between anthropologists and designers
What can go wrong in the collaboration <ul><li>Anthropologists may feel their expertise is not valued and they are underut...
E-Lab’s partnership between research and design <ul><li>Staffing </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational structures </li></ul>
E-Lab’s work process: the bowtie model
Case study Social TV Peripherals: Ethnographic Research and Design Implications Client:  Motorola Spring 2008
Social TV <ul><li>Goal:  enabling people to watch TV “together” when they are not physically co-present </li></ul><ul><li>...
Peripheral devices <ul><li>Ambient light or other signal to indicate presence when members of buddy list watch TV </li></u...
Fieldwork <ul><li>10 in-home interviews to see how family members share devices and how they personalize them </li></ul><u...
Participatory design sessions <ul><li>Materials:  Play-Doh, Legos, paper and colored pencils </li></ul><ul><li>Explanation...
Tangible models of social TV peripherals
Explanatory frameworks <ul><li>Family dynamics around the remote </li></ul><ul><li>How copresent families watch TV </li></...
Family dynamics around the remote
Family dynamics around the remote
Family dynamics around the remote
How copresent families watch TV <ul><li>Current practices that need to be taken into account to develop a successful socia...
How copresent families watch TV
How copresent families watch TV
How copresent families watch TV
Mobility while watching TV
Ideas from participatory design sessions <ul><li>Reconfigure peripherals to just a remote and docking station; remote incl...
Conclusions: collaboration between design and anthropology in a time of economic crisis <ul><li>Enhancing the “fit” betwee...
Questions?
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When Design Met Anthropology

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Closing Plenary from Big (D)esign Conference 2009.

Videoclips from original presentation are not attached.

Published in: Technology, Design

When Design Met Anthropology

  1. 1. When Design Met Anthropology Christina Wasson
  2. 2. Outline of presentation <ul><li>How design met anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>Emergence of a new, hybrid field: design anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>Process of collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Case study </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration between design and anthropology during economic crisis </li></ul>
  3. 3. Prior social science partners with design <ul><li>Cognitive psychology/human factors </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing research </li></ul>
  4. 4. How design met anthropology <ul><li>Computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) </li></ul><ul><li>Xerox PARC </li></ul><ul><li>E-Lab </li></ul><ul><li>“ Ethnography” became buzzword rather than anthropology </li></ul>
  5. 5. What is ethnography? <ul><li>Fundamental research approach of ANTHROPOLOGY (cultural and linguistic) </li></ul><ul><li>Developed in early 1900s as a novel approach to understanding cultures: immersion, “participant observation” </li></ul><ul><li>The goal of ethnography is “to grasp the native’s point of view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world” (Malinowski 1922:24-25) </li></ul><ul><li>Combined humanistic and scientific elements </li></ul>
  6. 6. Why ethnography appeals to designers <ul><li>Reveals use in context (not lab) </li></ul><ul><li>Goes beyond what people say they do (focus group) to what they really do </li></ul><ul><li>Uncovers discrepancies between designers’ intended use of product and everyday behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Power of ethnographic video as communication tool </li></ul>
  7. 7. Emergence of “design anthropology” <ul><li>Interdisciplinary, hybrid field </li></ul><ul><li>Jobs - Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, IBM, SAP, Wells Fargo, Pitney Bowes, Philips, Rolls Royce, etc. + consultancies </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference www.epic2009.com </li></ul><ul><li>Uncovers social and symbolic aspects of user experience </li></ul><ul><li>Especially useful for exploratory research </li></ul>
  8. 8. The downside of popularity <ul><li>“ Ethnography Lite” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anyone can do it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No theory toolkit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data collection, not analysis </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Theories in design anthropology <ul><li>General anthropology “toolkit” includes theories about globalization, modernity, consumption, technology use, identity, religion, kinship, political economy, social organization... </li></ul><ul><li>Particular focus on interactions between people and artifacts, drawing on ethnomethodology, conversation analysis, activity theory </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>E-Lab’s AEIOU framework: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Activities </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Environments </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interactions </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Objects </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Users </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Methods in design anthropology: data collection <ul><li>Video recording </li></ul><ul><li>Open to innovation </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Shadowing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Guerilla fieldwork </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Photo narratives </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Methods in design anthropology: analysis <ul><li>What are the patterns? </li></ul><ul><li>Intuition/memory can be misleading </li></ul><ul><li>Use software to code videorecordings and transcripts </li></ul><ul><li>Move from patterns to explanatory models </li></ul>
  12. 12. Collaboration between anthropologists and designers
  13. 13. What can go wrong in the collaboration <ul><li>Anthropologists may feel their expertise is not valued and they are underutilized </li></ul><ul><li>Designers encounter frustration when they are given research results that do not point to practical applications </li></ul>
  14. 14. E-Lab’s partnership between research and design <ul><li>Staffing </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational structures </li></ul>
  15. 15. E-Lab’s work process: the bowtie model
  16. 16. Case study Social TV Peripherals: Ethnographic Research and Design Implications Client: Motorola Spring 2008
  17. 17. Social TV <ul><li>Goal: enabling people to watch TV “together” when they are not physically co-present </li></ul><ul><li>Software runs over TV that shows buddy list, who is watching what, ability to go to same show and open audio connection </li></ul>
  18. 18. Peripheral devices <ul><li>Ambient light or other signal to indicate presence when members of buddy list watch TV </li></ul><ul><li>Remote control to interact with the application </li></ul><ul><li>Audio connection (microphone and speakers) for communication between participants </li></ul>
  19. 19. Fieldwork <ul><li>10 in-home interviews to see how family members share devices and how they personalize them </li></ul><ul><li>5 participatory design sessions to gather more information about sharing and ownership of devices, and to stimulate design ideas for the Social TV peripherals </li></ul>
  20. 20. Participatory design sessions <ul><li>Materials: Play-Doh, Legos, paper and colored pencils </li></ul><ul><li>Explanation of Social TV </li></ul><ul><li>Invitation to design peripherals </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion of designs to elicit family practices and needs </li></ul>
  21. 21. Tangible models of social TV peripherals
  22. 22. Explanatory frameworks <ul><li>Family dynamics around the remote </li></ul><ul><li>How copresent families watch TV </li></ul><ul><li>Mobility while watching TV </li></ul>
  23. 23. Family dynamics around the remote
  24. 24. Family dynamics around the remote
  25. 25. Family dynamics around the remote
  26. 26. How copresent families watch TV <ul><li>Current practices that need to be taken into account to develop a successful social TV product </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Each family member pursued own trajectory of activities, and they often engaged in multitasking </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Every household in the in-home interviews had more than one television </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Majority of TV watching was done alone </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Family members connected to their friends virtually via phone, internet </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Design implication: one person, one social TV </li></ul>
  27. 27. How copresent families watch TV
  28. 28. How copresent families watch TV
  29. 29. How copresent families watch TV
  30. 30. Mobility while watching TV
  31. 31. Ideas from participatory design sessions <ul><li>Reconfigure peripherals to just a remote and docking station; remote includes touch screen, audio, ambient lights (inspired by iPhone, iPod) </li></ul><ul><li>Use sound in addition to light to indicate presence </li></ul><ul><li>Aesthetics should be clean, timeless, unobtrusive; concerns about the ambient orb </li></ul>
  32. 32. Conclusions: collaboration between design and anthropology in a time of economic crisis <ul><li>Enhancing the “fit” between products and users is more important than ever </li></ul><ul><li>Contributing to innovation and design thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Uncovering a shift in the culture of consumption </li></ul><ul><li>Globalization </li></ul>
  33. 33. Questions?

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