Make Room for Ethnography in Design

Jesper Simonsen, Finn Kensing

    Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

    Resumé

    Cultural analysis, especially in its ethnographic form/variant, has been applied for some years now within the Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), the Human Computer Interaction (HCI), and the Participatory Design (PD) communities. These communities attract academics and practitioners, who are concerned about the use-quality of computer based systems. Never the less, Bader and Nyce argue that cultural analysis "will probably not play a significant role in the development process at the least as it is presently defined." We argue that since the design and use of technology is socially constructed, cultural analysis will only play a role if its proponents strive to make room for it. The argument builds on our own experiences, being computer scientists who have integrated an ethnographic style of working with the design of computer based systems, and on the experiences of colleagues within the above mentioned communities. Some of us have gained our experience from projects in private and public organizations, and those of us also working in academia have included ethnographic techniques in our teaching. Such initiatives represent alternatives neglected by Bader and Nyce, whose assumptions seem to be that the role of cultural analysis is limited to assessments of a development process, to enlarging our understanding of the social nature of development and use, or to providing feedback to developers. We argue that ethnography can play a more proactive role within design.
    OriginalsprogEngelsk
    TidsskriftACM SIGDOC Asterisk Journal of Computer Documentation
    Vol/bind22
    Udgave nummer1
    Sider (fra-til)20-30
    ISSN0731-1001
    DOI
    StatusUdgivet - 1998

    Citer dette

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    abstract = "Cultural analysis, especially in its ethnographic form/variant, has been applied for some years now within the Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), the Human Computer Interaction (HCI), and the Participatory Design (PD) communities. These communities attract academics and practitioners, who are concerned about the use-quality of computer based systems. Never the less, Bader and Nyce argue that cultural analysis {"}will probably not play a significant role in the development process at the least as it is presently defined.{"} We argue that since the design and use of technology is socially constructed, cultural analysis will only play a role if its proponents strive to make room for it. The argument builds on our own experiences, being computer scientists who have integrated an ethnographic style of working with the design of computer based systems, and on the experiences of colleagues within the above mentioned communities. Some of us have gained our experience from projects in private and public organizations, and those of us also working in academia have included ethnographic techniques in our teaching. Such initiatives represent alternatives neglected by Bader and Nyce, whose assumptions seem to be that the role of cultural analysis is limited to assessments of a development process, to enlarging our understanding of the social nature of development and use, or to providing feedback to developers. We argue that ethnography can play a more proactive role within design.",
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    Make Room for Ethnography in Design. / Simonsen, Jesper; Kensing, Finn.

    I: ACM SIGDOC Asterisk Journal of Computer Documentation, Bind 22, Nr. 1, 1998, s. 20-30.

    Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Make Room for Ethnography in Design

    AU - Simonsen, Jesper

    AU - Kensing, Finn

    PY - 1998

    Y1 - 1998

    N2 - Cultural analysis, especially in its ethnographic form/variant, has been applied for some years now within the Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), the Human Computer Interaction (HCI), and the Participatory Design (PD) communities. These communities attract academics and practitioners, who are concerned about the use-quality of computer based systems. Never the less, Bader and Nyce argue that cultural analysis "will probably not play a significant role in the development process at the least as it is presently defined." We argue that since the design and use of technology is socially constructed, cultural analysis will only play a role if its proponents strive to make room for it. The argument builds on our own experiences, being computer scientists who have integrated an ethnographic style of working with the design of computer based systems, and on the experiences of colleagues within the above mentioned communities. Some of us have gained our experience from projects in private and public organizations, and those of us also working in academia have included ethnographic techniques in our teaching. Such initiatives represent alternatives neglected by Bader and Nyce, whose assumptions seem to be that the role of cultural analysis is limited to assessments of a development process, to enlarging our understanding of the social nature of development and use, or to providing feedback to developers. We argue that ethnography can play a more proactive role within design.

    AB - Cultural analysis, especially in its ethnographic form/variant, has been applied for some years now within the Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), the Human Computer Interaction (HCI), and the Participatory Design (PD) communities. These communities attract academics and practitioners, who are concerned about the use-quality of computer based systems. Never the less, Bader and Nyce argue that cultural analysis "will probably not play a significant role in the development process at the least as it is presently defined." We argue that since the design and use of technology is socially constructed, cultural analysis will only play a role if its proponents strive to make room for it. The argument builds on our own experiences, being computer scientists who have integrated an ethnographic style of working with the design of computer based systems, and on the experiences of colleagues within the above mentioned communities. Some of us have gained our experience from projects in private and public organizations, and those of us also working in academia have included ethnographic techniques in our teaching. Such initiatives represent alternatives neglected by Bader and Nyce, whose assumptions seem to be that the role of cultural analysis is limited to assessments of a development process, to enlarging our understanding of the social nature of development and use, or to providing feedback to developers. We argue that ethnography can play a more proactive role within design.

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