Designing with ethnography

John A. Hughes, Jon O'Brien, Tom Rodden, Mark Rouncefield, Steve Blythin
1997 Proceedings of the conference on Designing interactive systems processes, practices, methods, and techniques - DIS '97  
Despite the growing number of ethnographic studies of work their use in design remains a matter of some debate. Acknowledging the problems designers face in utiiising ethnographies, and etlmographers face in meeting commercial demands, this paper outlines a 'framework' for the presentation of fieldstudies organised around three main dimensions; 'distributed coordination', 'plans and procedures' and 'awareness of work'; thereby facilitating effective communication and collaboration between
more » ... ation between designers and ethnographers. ' We suggestthat ettrnographicapproaches may clarify the role that actrrsi practices play in tfte management of work through viewing activities as social actions embedded witfdrr a socially organised domain and accomplished in and through the day-to-day activities of its usersThis is, in fact, a sociologically partisan conception of ethoography, but it d-have the advantage of focusing upmr the SPCCifk~d detailed organisation of activities which designers are concernedto understand,etrafyseand reconstruct 2 In particular, it offers the opportunity to reveal 'needs' or &y take them so much for granted that they do not think about ' ractices' of users which they may not be aware of -because them -or which they cannot articulate -because of tbe bureaucratic or power relationships within which they arc placed. Corrseqcmtty, ethnography is vahrable in identifying the exceptions, contradictions and contingencies of work activities which arc red conditionsof the wnrk's conduct but which wifl not (usually) figure in officird or formal representationsof that work. Permission to make digital/hard copy of part or all this work for personal or cleaaroom r.!ee ie granted without fee provided that copiee are not mode or distributed for profit or commercial advantage, the copyright notice, the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that copying ia by permission of ACM, Inc. To copy otherwiaa, to republish, to peat on servers, or to redistribute to Iiata, requiras prior specific permission and/or a fee. DIS '97 Amsterdam, Tha Natherlanda
doi:10.1145/263552.263598 dblp:conf/ACMdis/HughesORRB97 fatcat:lepmk2m4wfbc3pyj56xd372ooe