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Ethnography in Software Design 

An Anthropologist’s Point of View
Big Design - Dallas, September 2015
: https://www.flickr.com/photos/101187156@N03/14366224997/
@Kel_Moran#bigd15
Kelly	
  Moran	
  
Lead Design Researcher
@Kel_Moran
#bigd15
MS Applied Anthropology
University of North Texas
BA Anthropology
California State U. Northridge
US Peace Corps
Uzbekistan
Study Abroad
Saudi Arabia
In
the
Wild
Worked with:
“Uncover user needs, 

Design great solutions, 

and build out solutions to launch.”
“Uncover user needs, 

Design great solutions, 

and build out solutions to launch.”
DistillMeaningfromObservation
BuildtheBacklog
CONTACT BUILDING & EVOLVINGFOCUSED INNOVATION
Only a subset of these activities will be appropriate for any given project.
Qualitative Research
Quantitative Research
Affinity Diagramming
Construct themes from qualitative
data.
Analysis & Synthesis Opportunities
Ideation & Iteration
Validation & Evaluation
Approach Planning Design Research Experience Strategy & Strategic Ideation PlanningDefinition
IdentifyChallengesinContext
SettheStage
REVEALING REALITY
Foundational Analysis
Heuristic Evaluation
Identify inital breakdowns and
opportunities
Digital Marketing SWOT
Analysis
Identify strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities & theats.
Stakeholder Interviews
Understand staheholders’ business
goals & strategy.
Technical Organization
Capability Aanalysis
Analyze existing skills and toolsets.
Scenario-based System
Walkthroughs
Demo of existing solution.
Metrics Evaluation
Establish quantitative baseline of
engagement & conversion data.
Content Inventory
Catalog the content of the site or
application.
Competitive Analysis
Evaluate competitors and
comparables on specific axes.
User Experience
Data
Technology
Enterprise Architecture
Capability Assesment
Review existing enterprise
technology infrastructure.
Solution(s) Architecture
Assessment
Review existing application(s)
architecture.
RFP Request
Deliver proposal to defined scope
document and existing
requirements.
Project Approach
Asses a possible project and plan
high level approach.
Align & Assess Workshop
Assess readiness across core
capabilities.
Backlog Grooming
Reprioritize backlog, add new
stories.
Zero Feature Release
Demonstrate CI, automated
testing, core solution setup.
High Level Technical
Architecture
Describe high level architecture,
including packaged components.
Development
Infrastructure
Configuration
Continuous integration setup.
Technical Package
Identification & Evaluation
Perform product evaluations for
package solution components.
Architecture Spikes &
Proofs of Concept
Prove candidate architectures via
top bottom spikes.
Existing Research Review
Market research, website feedback,
corporate strategy, etc.
BringtheSolutionintoFocus
Research Plan
Design activities to meet research
goals.
Contextual Inquiries
Observe & document user in
context & environment.
User Journals & Diaries
User document their experiences
over time.
Participatory Design
Co-creation explorations with
users.
Card Sort
Explore users’ mental models for
content and labeling.
Surveys
Solicit structured feedback from
users.
User Workflow Modeling
Visually document workflows &
work systems.
Ideation Workshops
Immerse stakeholders in data and
brainstorm opportunities.
Persona Development
Create customer types to
document observed behaviors and
values.
Consolidated Workflow
Diagram
Aggregate individual user workflows
into one diagram.
Current Journey Map
Visualize the user’s perspective of
the current experience.
Quantitative Data
Visualization
Present quantitative data visually.
Opportunities Generation &
Evaluation
Opportunities & prototype choice.
Opportunities Matrix
Prioritize in three dimensions,
including user experience impact.
Marketing Opportunities
Strategic planning of owned,
earned & paid online tactics.
Engagement Plan
Develop the strategic and tactical
plan to achieve the client’s goal.
Experience-Driven
Roadmap
Plan how great UX can be achieved
through the design.
Design Principals
Articulate design principals to
guide the design and development
process.
Requirements & User
Stories Definition
Write user stories based on
detailed user scenarios.
Application & Navigation
Framework
Validated navigation and
framework.
Wireframed Key Workflows
Validated wireframes of key
workflows.
Visual Design Language
Visual design language defined.
Information Architecture
Map the product from the users’
point of view.
Storyboards
Illustrate graphical representations
of scenarios.
Qualitative & Quantitative
Data Synthesis
Analyze validation data..
User Scenarios
Write detailed narratives for user
experience flows.
Future Journey Map
Visualize the user’s future,
improved experience.
Concept Validation
Validate design prototypes through
user feedback.
Application & Navigation
Framework Concepts
Create models for the navigation &
framework of the application or
site.
Workflow Concepts
Draw high-level wireframes for key
workflows.
Visual Exploration
Explore different visual treatments
and styles of the application or site.
KANO Feature Prioritization
Prioritize features with users
through KANO analysis.
we make software make sense.
TM
“Design Research directs
the strategy & design for
our software projects”
WHAT DOES 

ANTHROPOLOGY
LOOK LIKE?
http://michaelvhurley.com/2013/01/04/my-worthless-degree/
Anthropologist?
CSI Vegas?
Me!
“Anthropology demands the
open-mindedness with which one
must look and listen, record in
astonishment, and wonder that
which one would not have been
able to guess"
– Margaret Mead
@Kel_Moran
@Kel_Moran
@Kel_Moran
WHAT IS 

ETHNOGRAPHY?
10 things to know
1
Ethnography is the descriptive
study of people and cultures
@Kel_Moran
2
Ethnographic Research is…
An approach not a specific
method
@Kel_Moran
3
Ethnographic Research…
Favors qualitative over
quantitative - the ethnographer
seeks to provide “thick”
description
@Kel_Moran
;-}
;-/
;-)
Thick Description: Clifford Geertz @Kel_Moran
4
Ethnographic Research is…
Conducted in context, typically
over an extended period of time,
and holistic, seeking the wider
picture
@Kel_Moran
To understand the pen, you must
understand the paper.
@Kel_Moran
5
Ethnographic Research is…
Systematically conducted
but responsive to emerging
trends and themes.
@Kel_Moran
6
Ethnographic Research…
Utilizes key informants who can
act as guides and help provide
access to the community
(Also offer “reality checks”)
@Kel_Moran
7
Ethnographic Research…
Seeks out the insider (emic)
perspective and layers in outsider
(etic) insights and
interpretations
@Kel_Moran
8
Ethnographic Research is…
Generative - done to discover
new information, not to test
existing hypotheses
@Kel_Moran
“Never theorize before you have
data. Invariably you end up
twisting facts to suit theories
instead of theories to suit facts.”
- Sherlock Holmes
(Arthur Conan Doyle)
@Kel_Moran
9
Ethnographic Research…
Seeks to tease out the implicit, not
typically stated, features of a group
@Kel_Moran
“Making the familiar strange
and the strange familiar”
@Kel_Moran
http://www.gizmocrazed.com/2012/04/top-10-theories-on-how-the-world-will-end/
The Nacirema
@Kel_MoranThe Nacirema: Horace Miner
The Nacirema
American
@Kel_MoranThe Nacirema: Horace Miner
Ethnographic Research…
Is inclusive, typically including a
participatory component
10
@Kel_Moran
Texas BONUS!
In 1919 James Edwin
Pearce, chairman of the
Department of
Institutional History at the
University of Texas,
changed its name to the
Department of
Anthropology - making it
one of the first such
departments of its type.
@Kel_Moran
WHAT IS 

DESIGN ETHNOGRAPHY?
3 things to know
@Kel_Moran
1
Design Ethnography…
Is a way “…to increase the success
probability of a new product or service
or, more appropriately, to reduce the
probability of failure specifically due to a
lack of understanding the basic
behaviors and frameworks of
consumers.”
Salvator, Tony; Genevieve Bell; and Ken Anderson (1999) “Design Ethnography,”
Design Management Journal (pp. 35-41). p.37
1
Design Ethnography…
Is a way “…to increase the success
probability of a new product or service
or, more appropriately, to reduce the
probability of failure specifically due to a
lack of understanding the basic
behaviors and frameworks of
consumers.”
Salvator, Tony; Genevieve Bell; and Ken Anderson (1999) “Design Ethnography,”
Design Management Journal (pp. 35-41). p.37 @Kel_Moran
75-95%
of
new
products
fail
75-95%
of
new
products
fail
2
Avoids an over-reliance on
self-reported data


(what they say is not always what they do)
@Kel_Moran
What does “green” mean?
3
Qualitative research, done in the context
(environment) of the intended users,
seeking to discover and understand
their problems from their viewpoint,
with the designer’s viewpoint used to
ideate potential solutions.
@Kel_Moran
INTEGRATING

IN-CONTEXT RESEARCH
Discovery Phase
• Designer pairs with a Researcher
• Researcher leads with a background in the social
sciences
• Designer assists
Researcher Designer
@Kel_Moran
Design Phase
• Roles switch, and the Researcher assists the Designer
ResearcherDesigner
@Kel_Moran
After Detailed Design
• Designer typically is embedded into the Development
Phase
• Researcher comes back on board for user testing
Designer
Developer (x N)
Researcher @Kel_Moran
Provides continuity and keeps the
user’s voice present
User Focused Innovation
Discovery Design Build
@Kel_Moran
CASE STUDY
ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE
ACCOUNT RECONCILIATIONS
The Client and the Product
Vendor of accounting software
• Customer feedback of “too many clicks” and “hard to use”
• Sales were lagging
Used in organizations with large, multi-
functional accounting departments
• Needed to be customizable
• Should fit within a suite of other enterprise products
@Kel_Moran
Research Basics
Who
• Nineteen users at six user sites, plus three users inside the client
company
Where
• Seven locations across four states
• 2-4 users at each location
@Kel_Moran
From 22 users:
Around 800 unique
insights and observations
were recorded
@Kel_Moran
IN-CONTEXT OBSERVATION
@Kel_Moran
“We have everything set up
for you in a
conference room.”
@Kel_Moran
What do you see?
@Kel_Moran
Contextual Learnings
• 5 out of 6 of the client-user groups observed used two monitors
• adding machines still in use
• typically in either a cube or an open workspace
• paper everywhere - post its galore!
• User observed walking to a locked room (with a broken ankle)
to look up reference numbers
@Kel_Moran
CONTEXTUAL LESSONS
FROM USERS
@Kel_Moran
Contextual Learnings
With a lot on their minds, Excel is king
• High cognitive load
• High use of Excel quick keys
• Importing data of multiple types into Excel as images
• Highlighting and/or circling important data
http://icons8.com
@Kel_Moran
“It’s better than having it
rejected back.”
@Kel_Moran
Contextual Learnings (continued)
Attachments and cover sheets
• Manager preference for a single attachment
• Printing out documents from multiple sources to scan
them into one attachment
• Making a Custom “cover sheet” in Excel to sum up the
work
@Kel_Moran
“I look at this as
basically
just a holding station.”
@Kel_Moran
Contextual Learnings (continued)
“Roles” as defined in the software did not match the
work-based roles of the users
• In several locations a “reconciler” also held the role of
“administrator,” but juggling these in the software was
cumbersome
• The administrator role could become overwhelming
Assumed User Role with Linear Workflow
Observed Interrupted User/Admin Workflow
Start
Administrative Work
Start End
User Work
End
User WorkUser Work
Interruption
@Kel_Moran
“I have to change gear…
to move to that other role.”
@Kel_Moran
“Soon I won’t have any
accounting work. It will all
be [administrative] work.”
@Kel_Moran
Contextual Learnings (continued)
The problem goes beyond the system
• Lack of technical support
• The “real work” was done outside the system
@Kel_Moran
Now what do we do
with all that data?
@Kel_Moran
Synthesizing the Data - Major Themes
1. Learning, training, &
support
2. Don’t make it hard on us
3. We know who we are and
what we need
4. We need an agile, smart
workflow and tracking
system
5. Don’t add to our cognitive
load
6. Be our partner
7. We have a lot going on
besides what you do for us
8. Collaboration, teamwork,
communication, & working
with others
@Kel_Moran
Users viewed the system
as supplementary, and
part of a larger process.
Organize the
system’s
workstream to
match the user’s
view.
Cover sheets were
created and
standardized by each
accounting group.
Renaming the
“account home
page” the “cover
sheet” and
emphasizing its
similarities to the
Excel-made
coversheets.
High use of Excel.
Bringing in more
Excel patterns.
Observations Lead to Design Ideas
@Kel_Moran
Observations Lead to Design Ideas (continued)
Uploading and viewing
attachments was a
common problem; and it
didn’t match the rest of
the experience.
Making both
uploading and
viewing
attachments
easier and more
consistent with
the rest of the UI.
Inconsistent UI was
jarring to navigate.
Overall more
consistent UI.
Users had to scan the
page to find the most
relevant information on
each screen.
Putting the
information the
users needed
most to keep in
mind in a
prominent, and
persistent, place
on every screen.
@Kel_Moran
Design Ideas get Prioritized
TRANSITIONING
INTO DESIGN
@Kel_Moran
Old
New
VALIDATION TESTING
@Kel_Moran
Three Pages Tested
Two Versions Each
• Dashboard
• List Page - results of search
• Refined filtering
• Account Details - account home; i.e. cover sheet
@Kel_Moran
(revised and re-tested for a total of three testing rounds)
User-Led Validation and Changes
• Most users don’t need the 6-currency view panel
• Changed the default to 3 currencies
• Accountants need to be sure their entries save
• Ties back to the generative research
• Added a “save” confirmation button instead of auto-saving
• Attaching files to the cover page was validated as
preferable to using a separate attachments page
@Kel_Moran
BRINGING ETHNOGRAPHY

TO YOUR PROJECTS
Start Small - Start Anywhere!
Does not need to cover 7 regions across a continent
(seeing a few users makes a difference)
Get into the environment
(try Skype if needed)
Don’t go in with solutions in mind
(don’t be too sure you know the problems already either)
@Kel_Moran
Obtain Informed Consent
@Kel_Moran
How to Observe
The physical environment
- open? cramped? hot? cold?
Lighting, noise
- pleasant? distracting? manipulated by the user?
People
- who interacts with whom?
Artifacts
- equipment, paper notes, binders…
Document it all
- notes, yes, but also photographs and audio/video if permitted.
@Kel_Moran
How to Ask Questions
You are not an expert in their work/play
- even if you think you are
Rephrase what they say and ask if you got it right
- let them correct you even if you know you did
Avoid leading questions
- ask them to describe instead
Take note of their ideas and ask “What problem does this solve?”
- they’re not the experts at finding solutions, but they tried their best
@Kel_Moran
Honor the Idea of Reciprocity
Your users (research participants) are giving
you something, so be sure to give
something back.
@Kel_Moran
RECOMMENDED

READING
: https://www.flickr.com/photos/101187156@N03/14366224997/
Kelly Moran
Lead Design Researcher
Thank You
@Kel_Moran#bigd15
SUGGESTED

RESOURCES
How Tos
Brian A. Hoey. "A Simple Introduction to the Practice of Ethnography and Guide to Ethnographic
Fieldnotes" Marshall University Digital Scholar (2014): 1-10.

Available at: http://works.bepress.com/brian_hoey/12
Methods of Discovery a Guide to Research Writing http://methodsofdiscovery.net/?q=node/19
Ethnography https://www.academia.edu/1022047/
Picken_F._2009_What_is_Ethnography_in_M._Walter_Ed_Social_Research_Methods_Melbourne_OUP
What is Ethnography? http://www.cusag.umd.edu/documents/workingpapers/epiontattrib.pdf
Articles
Horace Miner’s (1956) article “Body Ritual among the Nacirema”
Available at: https://www.msu.edu/~jdowell/miner.html or at: http://www.sfu.ca/~palys/Miner-1956-
BodyRitualAmongTheNacirema.pdf
Salvador, Tony; Genevieve Bell; and Ken Anderson. "Design Ethnography," Design Management Journal. (1999) (pp.
35-41). p.37
Books
Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. Basic Books, Inc. (1973) 470pp.

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Ethnography in Software Design *UPDATED for Big Design 2015*

  • 1. Ethnography in Software Design 
 An Anthropologist’s Point of View Big Design - Dallas, September 2015 : https://www.flickr.com/photos/101187156@N03/14366224997/ @Kel_Moran#bigd15
  • 2. Kelly  Moran   Lead Design Researcher @Kel_Moran #bigd15
  • 3. MS Applied Anthropology University of North Texas BA Anthropology California State U. Northridge
  • 4. US Peace Corps Uzbekistan Study Abroad Saudi Arabia In the Wild
  • 6. “Uncover user needs, 
 Design great solutions, 
 and build out solutions to launch.”
  • 7. “Uncover user needs, 
 Design great solutions, 
 and build out solutions to launch.”
  • 8. DistillMeaningfromObservation BuildtheBacklog CONTACT BUILDING & EVOLVINGFOCUSED INNOVATION Only a subset of these activities will be appropriate for any given project. Qualitative Research Quantitative Research Affinity Diagramming Construct themes from qualitative data. Analysis & Synthesis Opportunities Ideation & Iteration Validation & Evaluation Approach Planning Design Research Experience Strategy & Strategic Ideation PlanningDefinition IdentifyChallengesinContext SettheStage REVEALING REALITY Foundational Analysis Heuristic Evaluation Identify inital breakdowns and opportunities Digital Marketing SWOT Analysis Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & theats. Stakeholder Interviews Understand staheholders’ business goals & strategy. Technical Organization Capability Aanalysis Analyze existing skills and toolsets. Scenario-based System Walkthroughs Demo of existing solution. Metrics Evaluation Establish quantitative baseline of engagement & conversion data. Content Inventory Catalog the content of the site or application. Competitive Analysis Evaluate competitors and comparables on specific axes. User Experience Data Technology Enterprise Architecture Capability Assesment Review existing enterprise technology infrastructure. Solution(s) Architecture Assessment Review existing application(s) architecture. RFP Request Deliver proposal to defined scope document and existing requirements. Project Approach Asses a possible project and plan high level approach. Align & Assess Workshop Assess readiness across core capabilities. Backlog Grooming Reprioritize backlog, add new stories. Zero Feature Release Demonstrate CI, automated testing, core solution setup. High Level Technical Architecture Describe high level architecture, including packaged components. Development Infrastructure Configuration Continuous integration setup. Technical Package Identification & Evaluation Perform product evaluations for package solution components. Architecture Spikes & Proofs of Concept Prove candidate architectures via top bottom spikes. Existing Research Review Market research, website feedback, corporate strategy, etc. BringtheSolutionintoFocus Research Plan Design activities to meet research goals. Contextual Inquiries Observe & document user in context & environment. User Journals & Diaries User document their experiences over time. Participatory Design Co-creation explorations with users. Card Sort Explore users’ mental models for content and labeling. Surveys Solicit structured feedback from users. User Workflow Modeling Visually document workflows & work systems. Ideation Workshops Immerse stakeholders in data and brainstorm opportunities. Persona Development Create customer types to document observed behaviors and values. Consolidated Workflow Diagram Aggregate individual user workflows into one diagram. Current Journey Map Visualize the user’s perspective of the current experience. Quantitative Data Visualization Present quantitative data visually. Opportunities Generation & Evaluation Opportunities & prototype choice. Opportunities Matrix Prioritize in three dimensions, including user experience impact. Marketing Opportunities Strategic planning of owned, earned & paid online tactics. Engagement Plan Develop the strategic and tactical plan to achieve the client’s goal. Experience-Driven Roadmap Plan how great UX can be achieved through the design. Design Principals Articulate design principals to guide the design and development process. Requirements & User Stories Definition Write user stories based on detailed user scenarios. Application & Navigation Framework Validated navigation and framework. Wireframed Key Workflows Validated wireframes of key workflows. Visual Design Language Visual design language defined. Information Architecture Map the product from the users’ point of view. Storyboards Illustrate graphical representations of scenarios. Qualitative & Quantitative Data Synthesis Analyze validation data.. User Scenarios Write detailed narratives for user experience flows. Future Journey Map Visualize the user’s future, improved experience. Concept Validation Validate design prototypes through user feedback. Application & Navigation Framework Concepts Create models for the navigation & framework of the application or site. Workflow Concepts Draw high-level wireframes for key workflows. Visual Exploration Explore different visual treatments and styles of the application or site. KANO Feature Prioritization Prioritize features with users through KANO analysis. we make software make sense. TM
  • 9. “Design Research directs the strategy & design for our software projects”
  • 10.
  • 15. Me!
  • 16. “Anthropology demands the open-mindedness with which one must look and listen, record in astonishment, and wonder that which one would not have been able to guess" – Margaret Mead @Kel_Moran
  • 19. WHAT IS 
 ETHNOGRAPHY? 10 things to know
  • 20. 1 Ethnography is the descriptive study of people and cultures @Kel_Moran
  • 21. 2 Ethnographic Research is… An approach not a specific method @Kel_Moran
  • 22. 3 Ethnographic Research… Favors qualitative over quantitative - the ethnographer seeks to provide “thick” description @Kel_Moran
  • 24. 4 Ethnographic Research is… Conducted in context, typically over an extended period of time, and holistic, seeking the wider picture @Kel_Moran
  • 25. To understand the pen, you must understand the paper. @Kel_Moran
  • 26. 5 Ethnographic Research is… Systematically conducted but responsive to emerging trends and themes. @Kel_Moran
  • 27. 6 Ethnographic Research… Utilizes key informants who can act as guides and help provide access to the community (Also offer “reality checks”) @Kel_Moran
  • 28. 7 Ethnographic Research… Seeks out the insider (emic) perspective and layers in outsider (etic) insights and interpretations @Kel_Moran
  • 29.
  • 30. 8 Ethnographic Research is… Generative - done to discover new information, not to test existing hypotheses @Kel_Moran
  • 31. “Never theorize before you have data. Invariably you end up twisting facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.” - Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) @Kel_Moran
  • 32. 9 Ethnographic Research… Seeks to tease out the implicit, not typically stated, features of a group @Kel_Moran
  • 33. “Making the familiar strange and the strange familiar” @Kel_Moran http://www.gizmocrazed.com/2012/04/top-10-theories-on-how-the-world-will-end/
  • 36. Ethnographic Research… Is inclusive, typically including a participatory component 10 @Kel_Moran
  • 37. Texas BONUS! In 1919 James Edwin Pearce, chairman of the Department of Institutional History at the University of Texas, changed its name to the Department of Anthropology - making it one of the first such departments of its type. @Kel_Moran
  • 38. WHAT IS 
 DESIGN ETHNOGRAPHY? 3 things to know
  • 39. @Kel_Moran 1 Design Ethnography… Is a way “…to increase the success probability of a new product or service or, more appropriately, to reduce the probability of failure specifically due to a lack of understanding the basic behaviors and frameworks of consumers.” Salvator, Tony; Genevieve Bell; and Ken Anderson (1999) “Design Ethnography,” Design Management Journal (pp. 35-41). p.37
  • 40. 1 Design Ethnography… Is a way “…to increase the success probability of a new product or service or, more appropriately, to reduce the probability of failure specifically due to a lack of understanding the basic behaviors and frameworks of consumers.” Salvator, Tony; Genevieve Bell; and Ken Anderson (1999) “Design Ethnography,” Design Management Journal (pp. 35-41). p.37 @Kel_Moran
  • 43. 2 Avoids an over-reliance on self-reported data 
 (what they say is not always what they do) @Kel_Moran
  • 45.
  • 46.
  • 47. 3 Qualitative research, done in the context (environment) of the intended users, seeking to discover and understand their problems from their viewpoint, with the designer’s viewpoint used to ideate potential solutions. @Kel_Moran
  • 49. Discovery Phase • Designer pairs with a Researcher • Researcher leads with a background in the social sciences • Designer assists Researcher Designer @Kel_Moran
  • 50. Design Phase • Roles switch, and the Researcher assists the Designer ResearcherDesigner @Kel_Moran
  • 51. After Detailed Design • Designer typically is embedded into the Development Phase • Researcher comes back on board for user testing Designer Developer (x N) Researcher @Kel_Moran
  • 52. Provides continuity and keeps the user’s voice present User Focused Innovation Discovery Design Build @Kel_Moran
  • 53.
  • 56. The Client and the Product Vendor of accounting software • Customer feedback of “too many clicks” and “hard to use” • Sales were lagging Used in organizations with large, multi- functional accounting departments • Needed to be customizable • Should fit within a suite of other enterprise products @Kel_Moran
  • 57. Research Basics Who • Nineteen users at six user sites, plus three users inside the client company Where • Seven locations across four states • 2-4 users at each location @Kel_Moran
  • 58. From 22 users: Around 800 unique insights and observations were recorded @Kel_Moran
  • 60. “We have everything set up for you in a conference room.” @Kel_Moran
  • 61. What do you see? @Kel_Moran
  • 62. Contextual Learnings • 5 out of 6 of the client-user groups observed used two monitors • adding machines still in use • typically in either a cube or an open workspace • paper everywhere - post its galore! • User observed walking to a locked room (with a broken ankle) to look up reference numbers @Kel_Moran
  • 64. Contextual Learnings With a lot on their minds, Excel is king • High cognitive load • High use of Excel quick keys • Importing data of multiple types into Excel as images • Highlighting and/or circling important data http://icons8.com @Kel_Moran
  • 65. “It’s better than having it rejected back.” @Kel_Moran
  • 66. Contextual Learnings (continued) Attachments and cover sheets • Manager preference for a single attachment • Printing out documents from multiple sources to scan them into one attachment • Making a Custom “cover sheet” in Excel to sum up the work @Kel_Moran
  • 67. “I look at this as basically just a holding station.” @Kel_Moran
  • 68. Contextual Learnings (continued) “Roles” as defined in the software did not match the work-based roles of the users • In several locations a “reconciler” also held the role of “administrator,” but juggling these in the software was cumbersome • The administrator role could become overwhelming Assumed User Role with Linear Workflow Observed Interrupted User/Admin Workflow Start Administrative Work Start End User Work End User WorkUser Work Interruption @Kel_Moran
  • 69. “I have to change gear… to move to that other role.” @Kel_Moran
  • 70. “Soon I won’t have any accounting work. It will all be [administrative] work.” @Kel_Moran
  • 71. Contextual Learnings (continued) The problem goes beyond the system • Lack of technical support • The “real work” was done outside the system @Kel_Moran
  • 72. Now what do we do with all that data? @Kel_Moran
  • 73.
  • 74. Synthesizing the Data - Major Themes 1. Learning, training, & support 2. Don’t make it hard on us 3. We know who we are and what we need 4. We need an agile, smart workflow and tracking system 5. Don’t add to our cognitive load 6. Be our partner 7. We have a lot going on besides what you do for us 8. Collaboration, teamwork, communication, & working with others @Kel_Moran
  • 75. Users viewed the system as supplementary, and part of a larger process. Organize the system’s workstream to match the user’s view. Cover sheets were created and standardized by each accounting group. Renaming the “account home page” the “cover sheet” and emphasizing its similarities to the Excel-made coversheets. High use of Excel. Bringing in more Excel patterns. Observations Lead to Design Ideas @Kel_Moran
  • 76. Observations Lead to Design Ideas (continued) Uploading and viewing attachments was a common problem; and it didn’t match the rest of the experience. Making both uploading and viewing attachments easier and more consistent with the rest of the UI. Inconsistent UI was jarring to navigate. Overall more consistent UI. Users had to scan the page to find the most relevant information on each screen. Putting the information the users needed most to keep in mind in a prominent, and persistent, place on every screen. @Kel_Moran
  • 77. Design Ideas get Prioritized
  • 79. Old
  • 80. New
  • 82. Three Pages Tested Two Versions Each • Dashboard • List Page - results of search • Refined filtering • Account Details - account home; i.e. cover sheet @Kel_Moran (revised and re-tested for a total of three testing rounds)
  • 83. User-Led Validation and Changes • Most users don’t need the 6-currency view panel • Changed the default to 3 currencies • Accountants need to be sure their entries save • Ties back to the generative research • Added a “save” confirmation button instead of auto-saving • Attaching files to the cover page was validated as preferable to using a separate attachments page @Kel_Moran
  • 85. Start Small - Start Anywhere! Does not need to cover 7 regions across a continent (seeing a few users makes a difference) Get into the environment (try Skype if needed) Don’t go in with solutions in mind (don’t be too sure you know the problems already either) @Kel_Moran
  • 87. How to Observe The physical environment - open? cramped? hot? cold? Lighting, noise - pleasant? distracting? manipulated by the user? People - who interacts with whom? Artifacts - equipment, paper notes, binders… Document it all - notes, yes, but also photographs and audio/video if permitted. @Kel_Moran
  • 88. How to Ask Questions You are not an expert in their work/play - even if you think you are Rephrase what they say and ask if you got it right - let them correct you even if you know you did Avoid leading questions - ask them to describe instead Take note of their ideas and ask “What problem does this solve?” - they’re not the experts at finding solutions, but they tried their best @Kel_Moran
  • 89.
  • 90. Honor the Idea of Reciprocity Your users (research participants) are giving you something, so be sure to give something back. @Kel_Moran
  • 92.
  • 93.
  • 94.
  • 97. How Tos Brian A. Hoey. "A Simple Introduction to the Practice of Ethnography and Guide to Ethnographic Fieldnotes" Marshall University Digital Scholar (2014): 1-10.
 Available at: http://works.bepress.com/brian_hoey/12 Methods of Discovery a Guide to Research Writing http://methodsofdiscovery.net/?q=node/19 Ethnography https://www.academia.edu/1022047/ Picken_F._2009_What_is_Ethnography_in_M._Walter_Ed_Social_Research_Methods_Melbourne_OUP What is Ethnography? http://www.cusag.umd.edu/documents/workingpapers/epiontattrib.pdf Articles Horace Miner’s (1956) article “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” Available at: https://www.msu.edu/~jdowell/miner.html or at: http://www.sfu.ca/~palys/Miner-1956- BodyRitualAmongTheNacirema.pdf Salvador, Tony; Genevieve Bell; and Ken Anderson. "Design Ethnography," Design Management Journal. (1999) (pp. 35-41). p.37 Books Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. Basic Books, Inc. (1973) 470pp.