While the ethnographer is interested in understanding human behavior as it is reflected in the lifeways of diverse communities of people, the designer is interested in designing artifacts that will support the activites of these communities.
Reference: Blomberg J., Schukler D. ed., Namioka A. ed. (1993) Ethnographic Field Methods and Their Relation to Design. Participatory Design: Principles and Practices. London, Hove. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers. p. 123.
The reason I selected this quote and added it to the Journal, is that it has highlighted for me, an interesting area of discussion in Interaction Design – The idea of combining ethnographic approaches with that of approaches in other fields, for example, design or web development.
I will come back and comment more on this point…
What is ethnography you say? Ethnography is a branch of anthropology that deals with the scientific description of specific human cultures.
It is an area of study I have touched on for the first time in my Masters degree while studying the Interaction between computers and computer users. The study allows the further exploration of reasons and approaches for why people enjoy or dislike interfaces for example. It can cover the topic of usability also, and how people use things.