Ethnography 101 by Usography


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Ethnography 101 presented by Paul Bryan of Usography at the Usability Professionals Association (UPA) conference 2010 in Munich, Germany. Ethnography is a field research method that can be used to understand the needs, behaviors, and decision-making factors of consumers in a natural environment. This presentation shows how Usography has applied ethnographic methods to e-commerce design strategy, giving a step-by-step process description.

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Ethnography 101 by Usography

  1. 1. Ethnography 101 Usability En Plein Air Paul Bryan | Usography Corporation
  2. 2. Ethnography 101 Introduction Topics: What Is Ethnography When To Use Ethnography Ethnography Project Structure Data Collection Methods Data Analysis and Reporting Audience Participation 1: Ethnography for Resort Guest System Audience Participation 2: Your Ethnographic Research Scenarios 2 Usography (
  3. 3. Ethnography 101 Introduction About Usography Who: User research and design strategy agency What: E-commerce, employee portals, web apps, information devices Where: Wherever customers and employees go For Whom: 3 Usography (
  4. 4. Ethnography 101 1) What Is Ethnography? 4 Usography (
  5. 5. Ethnography 101 What is Ethnography? Ethnography is observing behavior in natural settings 5 Usography (
  6. 6. Ethnography 101 What is Ethnography? Anthropological method for describing cultures ➔  Ethnography literally means “writing about people groups” ➔  Formulated in the 1800’s as a method for studying “native” cultures Bronislaw Malinowski with Trobriand Islanders in 1918 6 Usography (
  7. 7. Ethnography 101 What is Ethnography? Anthropological method for describing cultures ➔  Applied to Market Research in the 1980’s ➔  Research conducted in a natural context: i.e. in the home, in a store, in an airport, in a work place 7 Usography (
  8. 8. Ethnography 101 What is Ethnography? Characteristics of ethnographic research: 1. Takes place “in the field” 2. Observation is primary data collection technique 3. Interviews are used to clarify observations 4. Attention is paid to context and artifacts 5. Field notes coded and analyzed for themes and variables 8 Usography (
  9. 9. Ethnography 101 What is Ethnography? Usography Ethnographic Research project examples: National mobile carrier ➔ Location: Mobility retail outlets ➔ Target: How people shop for cell phones and carriers Women’s clothing retailer ➔ Location: Department stores ➔ Target: How women shop for clothing Financial services provider ➔ Location: In homes ➔ Target: How people manage their finances International airline ➔ Location: In airports ➔ Target: Information usage of a mobile workforce 9 Usography (
  10. 10. Ethnography 101 2) When To Use Ethnography 10 Usography (
  11. 11. Ethnography 101 When To Use Ethnography Ethnography produces fresh insights for design strategy 11 Usography (
  12. 12. Ethnography 101 When To Use Ethnography Deciding when Ethnography is the right method ➔  Identify fundamental experience factors ➔  Innovate the mundane ➔  Operationalize key concepts ➔  Discover the unspeakable ➔  Understand cultural variations 12 Usography (
  13. 13. Ethnography 101 When To Use Ethnography Aligning research methodology to design phase Design Concept Design solution does not exist Design solution does exist Key concepts not well-defined Key variables can be measured Initiation Launch Discovery Formulation Evaluation Ethnography Survey Depth Interviews Formative Usability Evaluative Usability 13 Usography (
  14. 14. Ethnography 101 3) Ethnography Project Structure 14 Usography (
  15. 15. Ethnography 101 Ethnography Project Structure Applied Ethnography has well-defined objectives 15 Usography (
  16. 16. Ethnography 101 Ethnography Project Structure Steps in an Ethnography project: 1.  Determine the research question or focus 2. Determine the research location and context 3. Determine the data capture methods 4. Design the data capture instruments 5. Recruit participants 6. Obtain access to field 16 Usography (
  17. 17. Ethnography 101 Ethnography Project Structure Steps in an Ethnography project (cont’d): 7. Set up the tools and materials 8. Conduct the research 9. Reduce the data to essential values 10. Code the data according to themes and sub-themes 11. Report findings and recommendations 12. Determine follow-up research 17 Usography (
  18. 18. Ethnography 101 Example: Apparel Category Filters Female Apparel Shop Along 1. Question: What web site shopping feature would help female customers find clothes to buy online? 2. Location: Apparel stores 3. Data collection method: Video ethnography 4. Data capture format: Video captured into Mac and edited in Final Cut 5. Recruiting: Newspaper ad 6. Access to field: Personal visit to store managers and owners explaining study, requesting permission to include store 18 Usography (
  19. 19. Ethnography 101 Example: Apparel Category Filters Female Apparel Shop Along 7. Set up: Select area of store for equipment, follow participants as they shop and comment 8. Research completed 9. Reduce data to key quotes and observations 10. Code the data 11. Findings: Key concepts, highlight video 12. Follow-up research: In-home study, survey to determine relative population of segments 19 Usography (
  20. 20. Ethnography 101 Example: Apparel Category Filters Text analysis: Review data to discover themes Video Transcript I'm not completely confident that this goes together Discover common It's casual and conservative and it fits really well. I'm a little concerned about these pockets. It's different from the typical teacher outfit, it has a touch of style. themes: I don't like things that are too loud or flashy. I like a sense of casuality. This is nice. It's not overly loud. The things in this store are a little older looking. They're not modern enough. Appropriateness This looks like it would fit a cruise dinner. It's bright, fun, flashy, not formal. Value It looks like it will fit a party atmosphere. I like the bright colors. Fit I got stopped by these dresses. it's kind of tight around the bottom. Personality This looks appropriate for a casual dinner date. this dress looks perforct for a cruise dinner. Appeal I look good in this. It hugs tightly around the hops.. This dress is funky and colorful. Matching It's not too bright. It's strapless and has a sweetheart neckline. Style This would go with a tight pair of jeans. This is an everyday kind of outfit, you can go out casually in it. it's free flowing and has an odd shape, not my style at all. This is my favorite outfit of today. i love it. It looks good on me and accentuates what i want to accentuate. This skirt is stylish, fun, playful, colors are great, its the perfect length and the fit is just right. 20 Usography (
  21. 21. Ethnography 101 Example: Apparel Category Filters Text analysis: Create a table of quotes and apply codes Sort the coded data by theme and distill to key concepts. Highlight concepts that have the greatest impact on targeted behaviors. 21 Usography (
  22. 22. Ethnography 101 Example: Apparel Category Filters Text analysis: Isolate key dimensions ➔  Personality: Clothes portray the wearer’s mood, character, position, or personality: fun, simple elegance, or more nuanced personality ➔  Packaging: How do I look in it, fit, size, cut, draping, length ➔  Value = (Wear frequency x Matchability)/Price 22 Usography (
  23. 23. Ethnography 101 4) Data Collection Methods 23 Usography (
  24. 24. Ethnography 101 Data Collection Methods Ethnography produces a feast of rich data 24 Usography (
  25. 25. Ethnography 101 Data Collection Methods (Participant) Observation ➔  The “original” ethnographic research method ➔  With or without video ➔  Coupled with informant debriefs 25 Usography (
  26. 26. Ethnography 101 Data Collection Methods Participant observation tips ➔  Focus on behaviors that reveal key design concepts ➔  Capture cases at opposite ends of scale ➔  Look for the unseen behavioral scaffolding ➔  Be the foreigner ➔  Follow the golden rule 26 Usography (
  27. 27. Ethnography 101 Data Collection Methods Supplemental research methods include: ➔  Artifact analysis ➔  Context mapping ➔  Participant diaries, collages, or photojournals ➔  Shop along ➔  Digital Ethnography (…Webnography?) 27 Usography (
  28. 28. Ethnography 101 Data Collection Methods Context Mapping Template: 28 Usography (
  29. 29. Ethnography 101 5) Data Analysis and Reporting 29 Usography (
  30. 30. Ethnography 101 Data Analysis and Reporting Ethnography results in actionable findings 30 Usography (
  31. 31. Ethnography 101 Data Analysis and Reporting Steps in Ethnography data analysis and reporting: ➔  Review complete data set ➔  Text analysis and coding (Atlas.ti, nVivo,, HyperResearch) ➔  Themes and variables ➔  Mental, behavioral, experience model ➔  Findings and recommendations ➔  Design strategy, concept 31 Usography (
  32. 32. Ethnography 101 Audience Participation 1: Plan an Ethnography study for hotel resort guest system 32 Usography (
  33. 33. Ethnography 101 Audience Participation 2: Discuss audience Ethnography research scenarios 33 Usography (
  34. 34. Ethnography 101 Appendix: Ethnography References & Resources 34 Usography (
  35. 35. Ethnography 101 References and Resources 1) Anthrodesign. A professional forum created and moderated by Dr. Natalie Hanson, Director of User Experience Services at SAP. Sign up at 2) Bernard, H. Russell (2006), Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods, Fourth Edition. Altamira Press. 3) Faulkner, Susan (2007), Real Reality TV: Using Documentary-Style Video to Place Real People at the Center of the Design Process. Intel Technology Journal, Volume 11, Issue 01. 4) Gobo, Giampietro (2008), Doing Ethnography. Sage Publications. 5) Hammersley, M. and Atkinson, P. (2007) Ethnography: Principles in Practice, Third Edition. Routledge. 6) Handwerker, W. Penn (2001). Quick Ethnography. Altamira Press. 7) Mariampolski, Hy (2006), Ethnography for Marketers: A Guide to Consumer Immersion. Sage Publications. 35 Usography (