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Gearing up for Ethnography at Midwest UX 2018

We are all low on time and resources, and our UX research must occur wherever and whenever possible. Carol will share her personal experiences in the field, both good and bad. She has learned the hard way doing observations in moving vehicles, coal mines, hospitals, schools, homes, and offices. She will also share interesting anecdotes from colleagues and review both ethical and behavioral standards for researchers. The key is to prepare well, learn to be flexible and to adapt to the situation.
Presented at Midwest UX 2018 held in Chicago, IL.

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Gearing up for Ethnography at Midwest UX 2018

  1. 1. Carol Smith @carologic Midwest UX, October 13, 2018 Gearing Up for Ethnography
  2. 2. Journal of Anthropological Research
  3. 3. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Ethnography: Go Where They Are • Learning from people, in their environment • Be present, limit interactions • Participants lead
  4. 4. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Ethnography in Design/UX An Evolving Map of Design Practice and Design Research. Written for Interactions magazine by Liz Sanders. Edited by Hugh Dubberly. Nov 1, 2008 See also book: Convivial Toolbox: Generative Research for the Front End of Design. January 8, 2013 by Liz Sanders and Pieter Jan Stappers.
  5. 5. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Ethnography in Product Design • Measured in hours-days • Small, cumulative learning • Build on over time
  6. 6. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Any experience • Physical experiences and relationships • Multiple-person interactions • Large group interactions • Digital experiences
  7. 7. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Across product lifecycle • Early discovery • Experimenting/prototyping to learn • Learning from use – in the field
  8. 8. Clothing
  9. 9. Case Study: Race Track
  10. 10. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Pockets • Breathable travel vest or many-pocketed clothing • Hands free • Easy access • Protection
  11. 11. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic What’s in my pockets? • Pens and notepad • Recording equipment • Water, crushable snack • Wallet (with cash) Water bottle:
  12. 12. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Additional Bag • Power cords • Extension cord • Batteries • Snacks • Rest of my purse
  13. 13. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Clothing • You are studying them – not their reaction to you • Dress for circumstances • Consider local customs • Messiness of work • Business casual
  14. 14. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Active Lifestyles • Keep up! • Be prepared for the length of study • or, a quick walk…
  15. 15. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Outdoor Observations - Precipitation
  16. 16. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Temperature
  17. 17. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic High Quality Personal Protection Fiberglass – lightweight & not affected by temp Toe, Ankle and Dirt Protection
  18. 18. Gear!
  19. 19. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Small, portable equipment • Pack up quickly • Move around • Everything on your body • Avoid bulky bags
  20. 20. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Cell phones • Pros • Already have it with you • Easy to carry • Cons • Hard to hold and attach • Proprietary Information • Risk to your phone
  21. 21. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Video Recording equipment • GoPro and similar • Wide view • Waterproof
  22. 22. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Video Placement • Tripod • Novel attachments as needed • On participant
  23. 23. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Audio Recording • Great sound • Light, easy to hold • Regular batteries • SD Cards
  24. 24. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Power concerns • Consider hotel room power limitations • Extension cord(s) • Extra backup batteries and/or equipment • Identify local office
  25. 25. SomerightsreservedbyRockyVI- License: Preparation
  26. 26. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Planning is Power • Who you are meeting? • Conditions and study design • Logistics
  27. 27. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Time for observations • Task length • Repetition • Frequency • Location changes
  28. 28. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Schedule breaks • Bio Breaks (food, bathroom, etc.) • Recharge, change memory cards, etc. • Location changes • Rest during highly physical studies • Be participant’s advocate
  29. 29. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Print reference • Logistics • Cell phones • Consent forms • Screenshots
  30. 30. Someone must have your itinerary and expect to hear from you.
  31. 31. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Don’t go alone • Homes • Non-public places • In vehicles • Leave if it gets weird. Just leave.
  32. 32. Moderating Studies
  33. 33. In their home… don’t make yourself at Home
  34. 34. Get close, without being gross
  35. 35. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Be Above Reproach and Stay Safe • Give people space • Work in pairs • Never be alone with children! Photo:U.S.ArmyphotobyPfc.LeeHyokang(IMCOM),July20,2012
  36. 36. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Public Spaces • Everyone compromised • Create/find smaller spaces • Speak quietly aWZKQp-ddmvTP-awqfuc-eyifAV-8M8tpm-7N1DPb-ciG1K9-dsxcY9-9WAQhy-88ENpV-aDQndx-avV5GZ-8jHtix-aAGD5M-as9pmp- ebCh5H-c8K8Wj-89kvjU-7TmgvL/ SomerightsreservedbySlicesofLight: License:
  37. 37. Get Artifacts! (ask nicely) via
  38. 38. Common Issues
  39. 39. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Misunderstandings about purpose • Conversations with managers are enough • Set up a conference room for “meeting” • Respond politely
  40. 40. Case Study: Mining MiningEquipmentatBinghamCanyon,CopperMine,Utah,USA
  41. 41. Ethnography Short Course, UXPA 2018 / @carologic We become “Representative” • Critical situations - angry customers • Help desk vs. research • Respond to situation
  42. 42. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Inherent Challenges • Location • Space • Time • Conditions • Policy • Limited Access Photo:
  43. 43. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Interruptions • Typical • Incessant • Consider rescheduling/ cancellation Photo:
  44. 44. Ethnography Short Course, UXPA 2018 / @carologic Unexpected from participants • Not disclosing disabilities ahead of time • Having to handle an emergent issue • Being difficult / changing their minds (they can) Imagevia:
  45. 45. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic The Show Must Go On • Weather • Loss of power, or no power • No Wi-Fi connectivity
  46. 46. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Prepare mentally and physically • Chaos - kids , pets • Allergic reactions • Clutter and cleanliness Photo:
  47. 47. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Breath … then respond calmly "Surprise" by Katie Arvidson Follow. Taken on December 27, 2007 27/in/photolist-4hPEmx-9nhjgS-sd2s9V-MiRBB- s73kVU-iRNGQj-63gNpq-7JU38d-X6emHZ- GQAKjM-4vD6x2-CATpB7-fyV3F-83Et52-sD5nM- 8A3c92-46cRK2-8A6ih1-78phcs-mpDWQ-6XXC3j- 8CJ3hC-4cGvDF-8j2dyT-2McBW-396dfJ-73xgPy- 8EPZZy-6rXeTT-a3MY3w-gx8f9L-7TZnj2-4t23jz- 6PsHCu-S7SmT-T5B3ZY-vQo8C-qZ58PW-5zXVMy- p7xQ1X-q1CH3-5DHdY8-4eiFff-5ooscu-fB3WGu- 2LG8WD-TkwKM-tYHXr-dHCMMS-7YLDoj
  48. 48. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Most common – lack of time • 2x sessions for analysis • Prep team expectations • Risk of not doing thoroughly
  49. 49. Ethics in Ethnography
  50. 50. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Full disclosure - informed consent • Your responsibility • Every time • Ethical and legal responsibility • Do no harm Consent Form (Adult),, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
  51. 51. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Recording sessions • Even with permission • Turn off - personal phone call • Be willing to turn off at any time • Be aware of local customs
  52. 52. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic UXR is not for entertainment • Never on social media • EVERYONE with access • Responsible • Understands sharing externally is prohibited
  53. 53. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Case Study: Hospital RoundsPhotoby:MalovaGobernador"SINALOAALAVANGUARDIAENATENCIÓNDEENFERMEDADESDELCORAZÓN"Taken onFebruary16,2015. wmTSHf-N5PEbC-AT9UtW-wWJpLP-EZQUvL-EA418S-QmBXDe-EZS6eC-dRo295-fgRZi8-2iCpad-FkbGVC-7dRyLj-KL1h9t-QfTdxY- EzzzCo-G3Z46L-43oVKK-cbUvdd-ERFQ27-P8S8mi-JDSABR-xZL8V1-uJh7n6-LhMLGw-6qWa4-rWGUHe-E5MibP-N8jXki-H29g8X- 5woB8x-NjQQrk-L8hAkY-65Ut11-E5MHLR-LhMMMs-7BQwit-HaHuLq-65yGH6-RKiHin-Bwsxh3-DHyRb5-5J2SQV-ETZ6Bt-euTUcV- u6HzHt
  54. 54. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Get Out There! • Flexible and adapt • Open to opportunities • Light and portable • Never miss an opportunity for food, water, bio-break
  55. 55. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Office Hours 2-3pm Schubas Lounge (2nd Floor) LinkedIn – CarolJSmith Twitter - @Carologic Slideshare – carologic
  56. 56. Resources, References, etc.
  57. 57. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Ethnography in Agile • Constant communication between tracks is essential for success • These are not just hand-offs Iteration 4 Development Problem Solving Learning Iteration 1 Iteration 2 Iteration 3 Gather user information for iterations 2-5 Groundwork for Design Implement designs Implement high dev cost low UI cost features Gather user info and plan studies Implement designs Design for Iteration 3 Design for Iteration 4 Run usability study and UXR (4-7)
  58. 58. Activity ______________________________________ Who are you observing? (e.g. SME in soft-goods manufacturing, application admin) What is the situation? _________________________ (e.g. phone interview, their work at their desk in person, remote usability study, etc.) Date: __________________ Time: __________________ Location: ________________ Note-Taker: ______________ People (P) Who are you observing? Who else is involved in the experience? Objects (O) What objects do they interact with? What apps? Phone, etc.? Environment (E) Characteristics of the setting, number/types of interruptions Messages (M) What is communicated? How is it transmitted? Services (S) What services are available to them? Watch for these types of observations and put additional Questions/Ideas on the back. Content in this document described by Vijay Kumar in his book: 101 Design Methods Physical What do they interact with? Cognitive How associate meanings? How learn? Social Interactions, decision making, scheduling, work? Cultural What are shared norms, habits, values? Emotional What emotions are expressed and how? What are your biggest takeaways? What did you learn? What surprised you? What is the participants need? Interview & Observation Notetaking Form
  59. 59. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Remote Work is Possible • Screen sharing • Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting, • Sharing ideas • Virtual post-its - • Real-time co-editing (Google Docs, Box) • Document cameras (higher quality)
  60. 60. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Observer Rules Everyone who observes a design session is asked to abide by a set of rules. The purpose of these rules is to minimize stress for the participants and to maximize the amount of information we get from the study. •Stay for the entire study • Distractions are unhelpful and participants may get impression that you’re leaving because they’ve done something wrong (e.g. walking out in middle of a movie). If you can attend only part of a study, discuss with facilitator beforehand to determine how to accommodate this. •Don’t reveal information about the study to the participant • It is often more useful to explore an area of difficulty in detail rather than try to “get through” all the topics. The facilitator will track time to cover as many of the important areas as possible. •Respect participants and the confidentiality of their data • We have promised the participants that their participation is confidential. This means that we should not include their names in any reports or other communication such as email, and we should refrain from discussing them by name outside the test setting. • Do not make negative comments about people—there is always a risk that a derogatory comment could be overheard or otherwise make its way back to the user. Adapted from the book Paper Prototyping by Carolyn Snyder, published by Morgan Kaufmann Publishers. Copyright (c) 2003 Elsevier. All rights reserved.
  61. 61. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Observer Rules (continued) • Remain silent and silence phones • You may notice something so surprising that you are tempted to laugh or exclaim out loud. This is not unusual. Unfortunately, participants might think you are laughing at them. Keep as quiet as possible. You will have opportunities to ask questions at the end. You may pass a note to facilitator. • Observe only - no questions or support • If reviewing an interface, it’s likely participants will have problems, and it is normal to feel a temptation to help. Please don’t. Instead, try to understand why it was that the user got stuck or went down the wrong path. It’s the facilitator’s role to get users back on track if they get really stuck. And if the facilitator poses a question during the test, he or she is asking the users, not you—please don’t answer unless the facilitator specifically directs a question to you. • Avoid “Design Questions” - Questions that ask the user their opinions about how to design aspects of the application (such as, “Where would you like to see these navigation buttons?”) can take a lot of time to answer and produce only limited results. Instead, focus on trying to understand the problem—we’ll come up with solutions later, outside the test. • In person, be conscious of your body language • Most studies are interesting, not every moment will be fascinating. If something is happening that isn’t of interest to you but may be to others, sit quietly without fidgeting. Take notes to stay alert. Adapted from the book Paper Prototyping by Carolyn Snyder, published by Morgan Kaufmann Publishers. Copyright (c) 2003 Elsevier. All rights reserved.
  62. 62. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Ethics Resources • Treatment of human subjects • Web-based course • Gives certificate of completion protections.asp • Guidelines for writing informed consent • • UXPA Code of Conduct •
  63. 63. Gearing Up for Ethnography / @carologic Resources • Bolt, Nate and Tony Tulathimutte. Remote Research. Rosenefeld. • Krug, Steve. Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. • Krug, Steve. Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems. • Kumar, Vijay. 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization. October 9, 2012. Wiley. • Kuniavsky, Mike. Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner's Guide to User Research • Snyder, Carolyn. Paper Prototyping. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers. • Rubin, Jeffrey and Dana Chisnell. Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests.