Confessions of an Anthropologist Passing as a UX Researcher
Ethnography has become an integral part of the UX and design research process, as product and branding teams seek deep and holistic understandings of consumers’ lifestyles as a way to develop meaningful, culturally relevant solutions. These days, just about every design consultancy offers some form of ethnography in their toolkit, and most corporate-side research teams have incorporated it into their process.
In this talk, LiAnne tells the story of how an academic anthropologist quickly embraced and thrived in the role of UX researcher. But now, after 17 years of working in the field, she’s rediscovering many of the unexpected and quirky strengths of ethnography that she thought she had to leave behind in order to fit into the corporate research world. This talk is about a personal journey back to one’s roots. But it is also about how — in the quest to define and fix ethnography as part of our UX “process” — we may be missing out on the most powerful and delightful aspects of it.