Ethnography claims its roots from the field of anthropology. How can a method used for such a seemingly exotic purpose be useful in the modern world of software design? Revealing and, most importantly, understanding user needs requires sensitivity, empathy, and a disciplined approach – all of which can be found within ethnography. This talk outlines the basic components of an ethnographic perspective, explores a case study from a recent engagement between projekt202 and an accounting software development firm, and highlights how the impact of this research ripples through the software development process.
This is a talk that Kelly Moran delivered in Krakow a couple of weeks ago and I found it fun and motivating. I think she does of great job of describing the value that ethnographic tools brought to an IT project that she worked on.