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Unfinished Business Lecture: Culture, User Research & Design


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Culture is everywhere we look, and (perhaps more importantly) everywhere we don’t look. It informs our work, our purchases, our usage, our expectations, our comfort, and our communications. In this presentation, Steve will explore the ways we can experience, observe, and understand diverse cultures to foster successful collaborations, usable products, and desirable experiences.

Published in: Design

Unfinished Business Lecture: Culture, User Research & Design

  1. 1. Culture, User Research & Design1 Steve Portigal
  2. 2. A sort of homecoming2 @steveportigal
  3. 3. Portigal Consulting is a bite-sized California firm that helps companies discover and act on new insights about their customers and themselves3 @steveportigal
  4. 4. Typical development lifecycle What to Refine & make or do prototype Launch Iterate & improve4 @steveportigal
  5. 5. Ethnographic insights through the development cycle Take a fresh look at people What to Refine & make or do prototype Launch Iterate & improve5 @steveportigal
  6. 6. Ethnographic insights through the development cycle Use existing ideas as hypotheses What to Refine & make or do prototype Launch Iterate & improve6 @steveportigal
  7. 7. Ethnographic insights through the development cycle Is it working like we hoped? What to Refine & make or do prototype Launch Iterate & improve7 @steveportigal
  8. 8. Ethnographic insights through the development cycle What to Refine & make or do prototype Launch History provides context to explore new ideas Iterate & improve8 @steveportigal
  9. 9. What is culture?9 @steveportigal
  10. 10. What is culture?10 @steveportigal
  11. 11. Culture defined How a group of people make sense of the world, through common • Experiences • Beliefs • Knowledge • Values • Attitudes • Behaviors • Meanings • Patterns • Symbols • • •11 @steveportigal
  12. 12. Cultural norms Articulates what is normal – Normal isn‟t “right or wrong”, it‟s the set of background rules that define much of what people choose or ignore Seen in artifacts • Media • Products • Advertisements • Street culture • Trends and fads12 @steveportigal
  13. 13. What is Normal?13 Steve Portigal
  14. 14. 14 Steve Portigal
  15. 15. 15 Steve Portigal
  16. 16. Ethnography and technology reveal norms People assert their own normalcy by verbally distancing themselves from the end-points of the normal curve • We hear these stories over and over Me People who are People who are Thinking someone is weird too… too… or a jerk is a manifestation of the norms of one’s New technologies (especially those that enable society. What is weird in one age may eventually new, visible behaviors) are often met with distrust become normal over time. • Society “sanctions” people who violate these norms16 @steveportigal
  17. 17. Some cultures we care about Inside • Company cultures – different organizations • Profession cultures – different ways of working Outside • Regional cultures – different places • User cultures – different groups of people17 @steveportigal
  18. 18. Company cultures Belkin, 2011 Belkin, 1982 Belkin, 198318 @steveportigal
  19. 19. Company cultures • Communication tools • Communication preferences • “Speed” • Decision-making styles • Hierarchical/flat • Shared beliefs • Natural language Company culture on display in an employee’s cubicle • Internally/externally orientedUncover ’em. Work with ’em. Work around ’em. Change ’em. You can’t ignore ’em, though!19 @steveportigal
  20. 20. Company culture meets customer cultureExecutives at Harley-Davidson are Clif Bar founders are passionate about outdoor activities andalso Harley riders, and spend time environmentalism. They are actively involved and encouragewith their consumers. There is no their customers to join them in their efforts, enabling peopledistinction between executives, to be more active and reach their aspirations.dealers, and consumers. They areall part of the same group ofauthentic enthusiasts.20 @steveportigal
  21. 21. Inauthenticity dooms culture change efforts21 @steveportigal
  22. 22. Not yet time to eat22 @steveportigal
  23. 23. Profession cultures23 @steveportigal
  24. 24. Profession cultures24 @steveportigal
  25. 25. Profession cultures25 @steveportigal
  26. 26. Regional cultures26 @steveportigal
  27. 27. User cultures27 @steveportigal
  28. 28. User cultures28 @steveportigal
  29. 29. User cultures29 @steveportigal
  30. 30. Pop culture is user culture “Pop culture is a rich source of information that can often be crucial for our work. When the public begins to compare and contrast the voting for American Idol with voting for the American president, that‟s something we want to pay attention to. Dismissing this cultural data by sniffing „I don‟t watch American Idol‟ isn‟t a relevant response.” Steve Portigal Living In the Overlap interactions, Sep+Oct 200830 @steveportigal
  31. 31. Pop quiz31 @steveportigal
  32. 32. Pop quiz32 @steveportigal
  33. 33. Pop quiz33 @steveportigal
  34. 34. Pop quiz34 @steveportigal
  35. 35. Pop quiz35 @steveportigal
  36. 36. To know (about) him Is not to love him36 @steveportigal
  37. 37. Innovation means getting beyond pain points Understanding culture is essential if we want to use the information we‟ve gathered37 to do more than solve known “pain points.” @steveportigal
  38. 38. What do pain points ultimately reveal? While we always uncover so-called pain points, the bigger opportunity may come from understanding why – how did we get here?38 @steveportigal
  39. 39. Using culture (and design) to innovate Ethnography answers more than just • What features do people want? • What do they like or dislike about our current service or prototype? • Where is the ideal button placement? • Which version reduces error rates? • What are the three personas to share with our marketing team? Ethnography uncovers cultural data • What do they care about? • Where are people trying to accomplish? • What do people have in common? • How are people making sense of their world? Design doesn‟t just fix known problems, it addresses cultural insights Answers “How can we help people to…?”39 @steveportigal
  40. 40. Cultural data fromfieldwork40 @steveportigal
  41. 41. •41 @steveportigal
  42. 42. Coming tomorrow!42 @steveportigal
  43. 43. Coming in 2012! A book by Steve Portigal The Art and Craft of User Research Interviewing @steveportigal
  44. 44. Thank you!@steveportigal Portigal 44 @steveportigal