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Which clippings match 'Ethnographic Design Approach' keyword pg.1 of 1

Design for Action: designing the immaterial artefact

"Throughout most of history, design was a process applied to physical objects. Raymond Loewy designed trains. Frank Lloyd Wright designed houses. Charles Eames designed furniture. Coco Chanel designed haute couture. Paul Rand designed logos. David Kelley designed products, including (most famously) the mouse for the Apple computer.

But as it became clear that smart, effective design was behind the success of many commercial goods, companies began employing it in more and more contexts. High-tech firms that hired designers to work on hardware (to, say, come up with the shape and layout of a smartphone) began asking them to create the look and feel of user-interface software. Then designers were asked to help improve user experiences. Soon firms were treating corporate strategy making as an exercise in design. Today design is even applied to helping multiple stakeholders and organizations work better as a system.

This is the classic path of intellectual progress. Each design process is more complicated and sophisticated than the one before it. Each was enabled by learning from the preceding stage. Designers could easily turn their minds to graphical user interfaces for software because they had experience designing the hardware on which the applications would run. Having crafted better experiences for computer users, designers could readily take on nondigital experiences, like patients' hospital visits. And once they learned how to redesign the user experience in a single organization, they were more prepared to tackle the holistic experience in a system of organizations."

(Tim Brown and Roger Martin, 2015, Harvard Business Review)

A version of this article appeared in the September 2015 issue (pp.56–64) of Harvard Business Review.



Bill BuxtonCharles EamesCoco Chanelcomplex systems • David Kelley • design history • design intervention • design processdesign thinking • design-oriented approach • design-oriented thinkingdesigned artefactethnographic design approachFrank Lloyd Wright • genuinely innovative strategies • graphical user interfaceHarvard Business ReviewHerbert Simon • holistic user experience • IDEOimmateriality • intervention design • iPoditerative prototyping • iterative rapid-cycle prototyping • iTunes Store • Jeff Hawkins • look and feellow-fidelity prototype • low-resolution prototype • nondigital experiences • PalmPilot • Paul Randpersonal digital assistantphysical objectsrapid prototyping • Raymond Loewy • redesignRichard Buchananrole of the designerservice designuser experienceuser experience designuser feedbackuser interface designwicked problems


Simon Perkins
26 OCTOBER 2014

Donald Norman: The Research-Practice Gulf

"There is a great gulf between the research community and practice. Moreover, there is often a great gull between what designers do and what industry needs. We believe we know how to do design, but this belief is based more on faith than on data, and this belief reinforces the gulf between the research community and practice.

I find that the things we take most for granted are seldom examined or questioned. As a result, it is often our most fundamental beliefs that are apt to be wrong.

In this talk, deliberately intended to be controversial. I examine some of our most cherished beliefs. Examples: design research helps create breakthrough products; complexity is bad and simplicity good; there is a natural chain from research to product."



2010abstract models • applied social science • appropriately complex representationbreakthrough innovation • breakthrough products • call to actionChicagocomplexitydesign and innovationdesign communitydesign conferencedesign practicedesign research • design research conference • designer-centred designdisruptive innovationdogmaDonald Normanethnographic design approach • existing product categories • failure of design research • fundamental beliefs • generalised modelsHCDhuman-centred designideation • IIT Institute of Design (ID) • Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) • incremental innovationinnovation process • innovative breakthroughs • keynote address • product developmentradical innovationrapid prototypingreal-world designreal-world projectsresearch communityresearch-practice gulf • results-driven • simplicitytesting perpetuates mediocrity • translational engineering • translational sciencewhat designers do • what industry needs


Simon Perkins
12 FEBRUARY 2013

Two examples of the ethnographic design approach are shadowing and self-observations

"Shadowing is an ethnographic technique to understand a person's real–time interactions with products, services or process and their shifting contexts and needs over the course of a day. Shadowing often focuses on particular events or tasks participants are willing to share. Talk Aloud and closure interviews are used to clarify questions.

Self–observations / Diaries is a method used when it is difficult or impossible to directly access a certain place (like people's homes) or access is too time consuming. It consists of asking people to provide self–observations about their activities in the form of log reports or diaries, for example. Although this method involves the subjectivity of the participants in the data collected, it can be valuable to get a glimpse of life through the eyes of the people that are being studied."



ehaviours • context of use • contextual observations • design ethnography • diaries • diaryethnographic design approachethnographic researchethnographyexperience design • faithful reporting • human behaviour • key social actors • natural environment • observation and participation • remote user research • research method • self-observations • shadowing • social science research • unarticulated motivations • user interviews • user researchvalues • video ethnography


Simon Perkins

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