Experience Models: Where Ethnography and Design Meet

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Abstract

This paper contributes to the ongoing debate about the role of ethnography in design. Whilst I believe that the contribution of ethnography to design has yet to be fully explored and articulated, I also hold the view that ethnography has a more effective role to play in “informing design” that goes beyond developing design guidelines, and yet involves a very different type of activity to specifying requirements. In this paper, I begin to outline the roles ethnography currently assumes in design. I explore existing ways that ethnographic research is involved in design and identify the need for a clear process. I suggest that developing an experience model would add great value to transitioning from ethnographic research to designing concepts. Though not new, experience models are not widely known nor practised. I believe that as practitioners we need to adopt experience models into our broader practice to make our findings actionable.

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