several resource questions

22 Nov 2005 - 12:10pm
8 years ago
13 replies
811 reads
Michele Marut
2005

Good afternoon

I find this list group to be one of the most informative.

Here are my questions:

1. Can anyone recommend great consulting firms for true
ethnographic research and who employ trained ethnographers and/or
anthropologists? Some firms seem to be advertising ethnography when they
are just doing site visits.
2. As interaction designers which books have you found most
helpful?
3. Is there anyone in the greater Pittsburgh area that would want
to have a F2F? If so I'd be happy to coordinate it.

Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating it.

Michele Marut

Email: michele.marut at respironics.com
<mailto:michele.marut at respironics.com>

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Comments

22 Nov 2005 - 12:29pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Nov 22, 2005, at 12:10 PM, Marut, Michele wrote:

> 3. Is there anyone in the greater Pittsburgh area that would want
> to have a F2F? If so I'd be happy to coordinate it.

I have been thinking for awhile now that we ought to have a
Pittsburgh area event, but I haven't had the time to initiate
anything. I would definitely be interested in participating.

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.690.2360 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

The World is not set up to facilitate the best
any more than it is set up to facilitate the worst.
It doesn't depend on brilliance or innovation
because if it did, the system would be unpredictable.
It requires averages and predictables.

So, good deeds and brilliant ideas go against the
grain of the social contract almost by definition.
They will be challenged and will require
enormous effort to succeed.

Most fail.
- Michael McDonough

***********************************************************************
Confidentiality Note: The information contained in this email and document(s) attached are for the exclusive use of the addressee and contains confidential, privileged and non-disclosable information. If the recipient of this email is not the addressee, such recipient is strictly prohibited from reading, photocopying, distributing or otherwise using this email or its contents in any way.
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22 Nov 2005 - 1:40pm
livlab
2003

Jack, Michele,

In case you are planning (or not) on going to the "User Interfaces for
Physical Spaces" on December 12 at MAYA Design, we are going to have a
drinks afterwards (where TBD). It might be a good opportunity for you to
connect with other locals and get some type of meetup going.

By the way, I encourage everyone to sign up for the event, it will be
awesome: http://iainstitute.org/events/archives/000452.php

Cheers,

Livia

Jack Moffett wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>
>
> On Nov 22, 2005, at 12:10 PM, Marut, Michele wrote:
>
>
>>3. Is there anyone in the greater Pittsburgh area that would want
>>to have a F2F? If so I'd be happy to coordinate it.
>
>
> I have been thinking for awhile now that we ought to have a
> Pittsburgh area event, but I haven't had the time to initiate
> anything. I would definitely be interested in participating.
>
> Jack
>
>
> Jack L. Moffett
> Interaction Designer
> inmedius
> 412.690.2360 x219
> http://www.inmedius.com
>
>
> The World is not set up to facilitate the best
> any more than it is set up to facilitate the worst.
> It doesn't depend on brilliance or innovation
> because if it did, the system would be unpredictable.
> It requires averages and predictables.
>
> So, good deeds and brilliant ideas go against the
> grain of the social contract almost by definition.
> They will be challenged and will require
> enormous effort to succeed.
>
> Most fail.
> - Michael McDonough
>
>
>
> ***********************************************************************
> Confidentiality Note: The information contained in this email and document(s) attached are for the exclusive use of the addressee and contains confidential, privileged and non-disclosable information. If the recipient of this email is not the addressee, such recipient is strictly prohibited from reading, photocopying, distributing or otherwise using this email or its contents in any way.
> ***********************************************************************
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

22 Nov 2005 - 1:49pm
Dave Malouf
2005

On 11/22/05 12:10 PM, "Marut, Michele" <Michele.Marut at respironics.com>
wrote:

> 1. Can anyone recommend great consulting firms for true
> ethnographic research and who employ trained ethnographers and/or
> anthropologists? Some firms seem to be advertising ethnography when they
> are just doing site visits.

I don't know of a firm, but I know of a consultant. Steve Portigal does this
work: http://www.portigal.com/
His presentation on his work that he did in Japan at DUX2003 was one of my
favorites.

> 2. As interaction designers which books have you found most
> helpful?

Gosh, there are so many levels that this question can be answered.
About Face 2.0 - Cooper/Reimann
The Elements of User Experience Design - Garrett
Digital Ground - MacCollough
Understanding Comics - McCloud
A Pattern Language - Alexander

On a more inspirational angle, I love Neuromancer!

-- dave

-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org/
Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com

22 Nov 2005 - 2:47pm
Josh Seiden
2003

You might try:

http://www.ethnographic-research.com/ I haven't worked with them, but I have
met one of their researchers, and it sounds like they do what you want, and
have the background that you're looking for.

You might also try www.cheskin.com. Again, I haven't worked with them, and
in this case, I don't know anything about the training of their researchers,
but they have a good reputation.

Finally, I wouldn't discount entirely the site visit work done by less
formally trained shops. In my experience, it can be very very effective for
certain classes of problems.

JS

-----Original Message-----

1. Can anyone recommend great consulting firms for true
ethnographic research and who employ trained ethnographers and/or
anthropologists? Some firms seem to be advertising ethnography when they are
just doing site visits.

22 Nov 2005 - 3:16pm
Desiree Sy
2005

>1. Can anyone recommend great consulting firms for true
>ethnographic research and who employ trained ethnographers and/or
>anthropologists? Some firms seem to be advertising ethnography when they
>are just doing site visits.

Of course, there's InContext:

http://www.incent.com/

Beyer and Holtzblatt literally wrote the book on ethnographic
research for product design, CONTEXTUAL DESIGN. I'm not certain
that this company takes contracts where they split the research
off separately, as they have resources for the full cycle.

They also have a number of resources on their website:

http://www.incent.com/resource/resources.html

Also, Tec-Ed does very good work; in their case, they are
advertising field studies and CI:

http://www.teced.com/ue-fs.html

They have also published on the topic:

http://www.teced.com/c_and_p.html#FM

Desirée

--
Desirée Sy Phone: 416-874-8296
Interaction Designer Email: dsy at alias.com
Alias Fax: 416-369-6150

22 Nov 2005 - 3:19pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Does the In context team do ethnography (as different from site visit)?
The reason I ask is that my reading of Contextual Design (ages ago) seemed
to speak more about "interviewing" than doing emic/etic work that is more
typical of an anthropological approach to ethnography.

-- dave

On 11/22/05 3:16 PM, "Desiree Sy" <dsy at alias.com> wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>> 1. Can anyone recommend great consulting firms for true
>> ethnographic research and who employ trained ethnographers and/or
>> anthropologists? Some firms seem to be advertising ethnography when they
>> are just doing site visits.
>
> Of course, there's InContext:
>
> http://www.incent.com/
>
> Beyer and Holtzblatt literally wrote the book on ethnographic
> research for product design, CONTEXTUAL DESIGN. I'm not certain
> that this company takes contracts where they split the research
> off separately, as they have resources for the full cycle.
>
> They also have a number of resources on their website:
>
> http://www.incent.com/resource/resources.html
>
> Also, Tec-Ed does very good work; in their case, they are
> advertising field studies and CI:
>
> http://www.teced.com/ue-fs.html
>
> They have also published on the topic:
>
> http://www.teced.com/c_and_p.html#FM
>
> Desirée
>
> --
> Desirée Sy Phone: 416-874-8296
> Interaction Designer Email: dsy at alias.com
> Alias Fax: 416-369-6150
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org/
Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com

22 Nov 2005 - 3:21pm
Vishal Subraman...
2005

> 2. As interaction designers which books have you found most
> helpful?

Design Research: Methods and Perspective (Brenda Laurel) is my personal
favorite. Though it is a collection of articles on qualitative
reasearch, I love the thread that she weaves. Has a good combination of
top level/ inspirational stuff and ground work.

Vishal
http://vishaliyer.com

Marut, Michele wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> Good afternoon
>
>
>
> I find this list group to be one of the most informative.
>
>
>
> Here are my questions:
>
>
>
> 1. Can anyone recommend great consulting firms for true
> ethnographic research and who employ trained ethnographers and/or
> anthropologists? Some firms seem to be advertising ethnography when they
> are just doing site visits.
> 2. As interaction designers which books have you found most
> helpful?
> 3. Is there anyone in the greater Pittsburgh area that would want
> to have a F2F? If so I'd be happy to coordinate it.
>
>
>
> Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating it.
>
>
>
>
>
> Michele Marut
>
> Email: michele.marut at respironics.com
> <mailto:michele.marut at respironics.com>
>
>
>
>
> ========================================================================
> CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE
> ----------------------
> This message, together with any attachments, may be legally privileged
> and is confidential information intended only for the use of the
> individual or entity to which it is addressed. It is exempt from
> disclosure under applicable law including court orders. If you are not
> the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use,
> dissemination, distribution or copy of this message, or any attachment,
> is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error,
> please notify the original sender and delete this message, along with
> any attachments, from your computer.
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

22 Nov 2005 - 3:31pm
Vishal Subraman...
2005

If I'm not mistaken they talk about 'Contextual Inquiry interview',
wherin they suggest collecting data 'from real users doing real tasks at
the site of real work'. This is nothing but ethnographic observation,
the type where the researcher asks questions to the user(?) as opposed
to observing silently. Hence the term 'interview'.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Vishal
http://vishaliyer.com

David Heller wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> Does the In context team do ethnography (as different from site visit)?
> The reason I ask is that my reading of Contextual Design (ages ago) seemed
> to speak more about "interviewing" than doing emic/etic work that is more
> typical of an anthropological approach to ethnography.
>
> -- dave
>
>
> On 11/22/05 3:16 PM, "Desiree Sy" <dsy at alias.com> wrote:
>
>
>>[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>>
>>
>>>1. Can anyone recommend great consulting firms for true
>>>ethnographic research and who employ trained ethnographers and/or
>>>anthropologists? Some firms seem to be advertising ethnography when they
>>>are just doing site visits.
>>
>>Of course, there's InContext:
>>
>>http://www.incent.com/
>>
>>Beyer and Holtzblatt literally wrote the book on ethnographic
>>research for product design, CONTEXTUAL DESIGN. I'm not certain
>>that this company takes contracts where they split the research
>>off separately, as they have resources for the full cycle.
>>
>>They also have a number of resources on their website:
>>
>>http://www.incent.com/resource/resources.html
>>
>>Also, Tec-Ed does very good work; in their case, they are
>>advertising field studies and CI:
>>
>>http://www.teced.com/ue-fs.html
>>
>>They have also published on the topic:
>>
>>http://www.teced.com/c_and_p.html#FM
>>
>>Desirée
>>
>>--
>>Desirée Sy Phone: 416-874-8296
>>Interaction Designer Email: dsy at alias.com
>>Alias Fax: 416-369-6150
>>
>>________________________________________________________________
>>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>>(Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>>Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>>Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>>Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>>Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
>
> -- dave
>
> David Heller
> http://synapticburn.com/
> http://ixdg.org/
> Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
> Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
> AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

22 Nov 2005 - 3:33pm
Desiree Sy
2005

At 03:19 PM 11/22/2005, David Heller wrote:
>[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>Does the In context team do ethnography (as different from site visit)?
>The reason I ask is that my reading of Contextual Design (ages ago) seemed
>to speak more about "interviewing" than doing emic/etic work that is more
>typical of an anthropological approach to ethnography.

Good clarification. In both instances of consulting cited,
the companies are doing Contextual Inquiry research, which is
not the same as a pure anthropological approach, but I do not
think could be fairly described as just an interviewing
technique, either. There's definitely field method involved
in CI. However, there is certainly more bias introduced in
CI than there is when doing a field study for the purpose of
capturing cultural behaviour because of the nature of the
interaction between the researcher and the subject(s).

But I should have asked the original requester what she wanted
the firm to do for them. I contend that if its research about
customer or user behaviour for the purpose of product design,
that CI is a better approach than pure ethnography, anyway.

--
Desirée Sy Phone: 416-874-8296
Interaction Designer Email: dsy at alias.com
Alias Fax: 416-369-6150

22 Nov 2005 - 3:38pm
Dave Malouf
2005

I'm always one to try and be a semantic annoyance, so here I go ... <tongue
in cheek>

But seriously, As developed by Malanowski (sp?) doing his field work in
Papuua New Guinea at the turn of the century, ethnography is not merely the
art of observation, and data collection, but is about "living among" the
"other", becoming that "other" even while (as a double agent) maintaining
your "objectivity" as that "other" ... Neat trick, highly criticized, but
definitely different from "interviewing" and observing.

What do others think about this take. I know that ethnography has changed
greatly in the applied anthro arena, but doesn't it still hold SOME of its
old days feel of truly attempting to gain empathy, as opposed to catalog
information and observations?

-- dave

On 11/22/05 3:31 PM, "Vishal iyer" <iyervish at msu.edu> wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> If I'm not mistaken they talk about 'Contextual Inquiry interview',
> wherin they suggest collecting data 'from real users doing real tasks at
> the site of real work'. This is nothing but ethnographic observation,
> the type where the researcher asks questions to the user(?) as opposed
> to observing silently. Hence the term 'interview'.
>
> Correct me if I'm wrong.
>
> Vishal
> http://vishaliyer.com
>
>
>
> David Heller wrote:
>> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>>
>> Does the In context team do ethnography (as different from site visit)?
>> The reason I ask is that my reading of Contextual Design (ages ago) seemed
>> to speak more about "interviewing" than doing emic/etic work that is more
>> typical of an anthropological approach to ethnography.
>>
>> -- dave
>>
>>
>> On 11/22/05 3:16 PM, "Desiree Sy" <dsy at alias.com> wrote:
>>
>>
>>> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>>>
>>>
>>>> 1. Can anyone recommend great consulting firms for true
>>>> ethnographic research and who employ trained ethnographers and/or
>>>> anthropologists? Some firms seem to be advertising ethnography when they
>>>> are just doing site visits.
>>>
>>> Of course, there's InContext:
>>>
>>> http://www.incent.com/
>>>
>>> Beyer and Holtzblatt literally wrote the book on ethnographic
>>> research for product design, CONTEXTUAL DESIGN. I'm not certain
>>> that this company takes contracts where they split the research
>>> off separately, as they have resources for the full cycle.
>>>
>>> They also have a number of resources on their website:
>>>
>>> http://www.incent.com/resource/resources.html
>>>
>>> Also, Tec-Ed does very good work; in their case, they are
>>> advertising field studies and CI:
>>>
>>> http://www.teced.com/ue-fs.html
>>>
>>> They have also published on the topic:
>>>
>>> http://www.teced.com/c_and_p.html#FM
>>>
>>> Desirée
>>>
>>> --
>>> Desirée Sy Phone: 416-874-8296
>>> Interaction Designer Email: dsy at alias.com
>>> Alias Fax: 416-369-6150
>>>
>>> ________________________________________________________________
>>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>>> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>>
>>
>> -- dave
>>
>> David Heller
>> http://synapticburn.com/
>> http://ixdg.org/
>> Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
>> Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
>> AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com
>>
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org/
Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com

22 Nov 2005 - 3:52pm
Marijke Rijsberman
2004

Ethnography the way it was conceived by Malinowski is interested in meaning,
and the ethnographer language and behavior in order to discover meaning.
Most of the fieldwork I have been paid to do and have heard other people
talk about being paid to do is not about meaning at all, except perhaps
incidentally, in service to some other goal. Which is not to say there's
anything wrong with it.

Marijke

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of David
Heller
Sent: Tuesday, November 22, 2005 12:38 PM
To: Vishal iyer; ixd-discussion
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] several resource questions

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]

I'm always one to try and be a semantic annoyance, so here I go ... <tongue
in cheek>

But seriously, As developed by Malanowski (sp?) doing his field work in
Papuua New Guinea at the turn of the century, ethnography is not merely the
art of observation, and data collection, but is about "living among" the
"other", becoming that "other" even while (as a double agent) maintaining
your "objectivity" as that "other" ... Neat trick, highly criticized, but
definitely different from "interviewing" and observing.

What do others think about this take. I know that ethnography has changed
greatly in the applied anthro arena, but doesn't it still hold SOME of its
old days feel of truly attempting to gain empathy, as opposed to catalog
information and observations?

-- dave

On 11/22/05 3:31 PM, "Vishal iyer" <iyervish at msu.edu> wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]
>
> If I'm not mistaken they talk about 'Contextual Inquiry interview',
> wherin they suggest collecting data 'from real users doing real tasks at
> the site of real work'. This is nothing but ethnographic observation,
> the type where the researcher asks questions to the user(?) as opposed
> to observing silently. Hence the term 'interview'.
>
> Correct me if I'm wrong.
>
> Vishal
> http://vishaliyer.com
>
>
>
> David Heller wrote:
>> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]
>>
>> Does the In context team do ethnography (as different from site visit)?
>> The reason I ask is that my reading of Contextual Design (ages ago)
seemed
>> to speak more about "interviewing" than doing emic/etic work that is more
>> typical of an anthropological approach to ethnography.
>>
>> -- dave
>>
>>
>> On 11/22/05 3:16 PM, "Desiree Sy" <dsy at alias.com> wrote:
>>
>>
>>> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]
>>>
>>>
>>>> 1. Can anyone recommend great consulting firms for true
>>>> ethnographic research and who employ trained ethnographers and/or
>>>> anthropologists? Some firms seem to be advertising ethnography when
they
>>>> are just doing site visits.
>>>
>>> Of course, there's InContext:
>>>
>>> http://www.incent.com/
>>>
>>> Beyer and Holtzblatt literally wrote the book on ethnographic
>>> research for product design, CONTEXTUAL DESIGN. I'm not certain
>>> that this company takes contracts where they split the research
>>> off separately, as they have resources for the full cycle.
>>>
>>> They also have a number of resources on their website:
>>>
>>> http://www.incent.com/resource/resources.html
>>>
>>> Also, Tec-Ed does very good work; in their case, they are
>>> advertising field studies and CI:
>>>
>>> http://www.teced.com/ue-fs.html
>>>
>>> They have also published on the topic:
>>>
>>> http://www.teced.com/c_and_p.html#FM
>>>
>>> Desirée
>>>
>>> --
>>> Desirée Sy Phone: 416-874-8296
>>> Interaction Designer Email: dsy at alias.com
>>> Alias Fax: 416-369-6150
>>>
>>> ________________________________________________________________
>>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>>> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>>
>>
>> -- dave
>>
>> David Heller
>> http://synapticburn.com/
>> http://ixdg.org/
>> Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
>> Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
>> AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com
>>
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org/
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22 Nov 2005 - 7:24pm
Steve Portigal
2004

>>>>> 1. Can anyone recommend great consulting firms for true
>>>>> ethnographic research and who employ trained ethnographers and/or
>>>>> anthropologists? Some firms seem to be advertising ethnography
when
>>>>> they are just doing site visits.

I just returned last week from the EPIC conference -
http://www.epic2005.com/ - Ethnography in Praxis - it sorta dealt
with this issue but often in a ridiculously dense and theoretical
sense (oops I mean framework).

Every time I've joined into this list or it's neighbors or
predecessors, I see a lot of definition discussion that seem to be
unproductive. I've written elsewhere that I feel the "debate" about
what is "real" ethnography, etc. is similarly moot and ineffective. I
see a lot of folks from the anthropological academic side of things
who (often defensively) make sweeping statements about who is
qualified to do what and who isn't, based on academic training.

I guess that's one cut at it you can take - you don't hire a gardener
to do dry-wall, typically, but once the space gets crowded with
players with different orientations, backgrounds, training, etc. it's
a lot hard to over-generalize.

I thought about IAs during this conference because I saw a lot of
NEED to classify things - especially people, so anyway, it's ironic
for me to see a bit of crossover on this.

Another mailing list dealt with this conversation recently, and it
ironically was spurred by a request for references.

I honestly don't know how to judge the qualify of work from a
website, etc. or from job titles.

Wouldn't a better (and who am I to say that? sorry) request be - can
anyone recommend great consulting firms that produced really
interesting insights that we useful, inspirational, actionable,
applicable? Why don't we define the outcome we want instead of trying
to pin down the weird/opaque/contentious details of their "actual"
methodology?

Believe me, I'm a methodological snob - I saw every design firm buy
videocameras in the late 90s and put "user research" and
"ethnographic studies" on their websites, and I knew that some of
those people couldn't possibly conduct an interview or figure out
what it meant. It's disturbing to see one's professional commoditized
and devalued.

But my snobbery is more around the way people act and think than what
labels they use. Some of my favorite "ethnographers" are probably
called designers as much as researchers or anything else.

And yeah, this is the field I'm in. Here's how I've tried to describe
it: Portigal Consulting is a firm that brings together user research,
design and business strategy. We help clients to discover and act on
new insights about how their customers work, play, shop, entertain,
eat, and live their lives around products and services

Steve Portigal -- http://www.portigal.com
blog -- http://chittahchattah.blogspot.com

27 Nov 2005 - 11:57am
Steve Portigal
2004

Steve Portigal wrote:
> >>>>> 1. Can anyone recommend great consulting firms for true
> >>>>> ethnographic research and who employ trained ethnographers
> and/or
> >>>>> anthropologists? Some firms seem to be advertising
> ethnography when
> >>>>> they are just doing site visits.
>
>I just returned last week from the EPIC conference -
>http://www.epic2005.com/ - Ethnography in Praxis - it sorta dealt
>with this issue but often in a ridiculously dense and theoretical
>sense (oops I mean framework).

Hopefully not beating a dead thread here, but at any rate, I've
written a long thing about EPIC (as well as CanUX, DUX, and About
With and For) at
http://chittahchattah.blogspot.com/2005/11/canux-awf-dux-epic.html

Steve Portigal -- http://www.portigal.com
blog -- http://chittahchattah.blogspot.com

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