cfa 111 reading 4 - ClassReadings AIGAEthnography...

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Class Readings AIGA Ethnography Ethnography is a tool for better design. Great design always connects with people. Designers inspire, provoke, validate,  entertain and provide utility for people. To truly connect, designers need to have compassion and empathy for their  audiences. Designers need to understand the relationship between what they produce and the meaning their product  has for others. Ethnography informs design by revealing a deep understanding of people and how they make sense of their world.  Ethnography is a research method based on observing people in their natural environment rather than in a formal  research setting. When ethnography is applied to design, it helps designers create more compelling solutions. People and culture are incredibly complex. Ethnography offers a way to make sense of this complexity. It lets us see  beyond our preconceptions and immerse ourselves in the world of others. Most importantly, it allows us to see patterns  of behavior in a real world context— patterns that we can understand both rationally and intuitively. Ethnography is a systematic process. While useful ideas can emerge during casual observation, the most powerful  insights come from a rigorous analysis of systematically collected data. During research, a trained ethnographer will  collect photos, video, audio and other contextual data. These photos or images may look “unpolished” or “rough.”  However, the beauty of ethnography is that what one observes is visually compelling, real and meaningful without  being staged. Ethnography allows us to Discover meaning: People have a need for meaning in their lives. Ethnography provides rich insights into how  people make sense of their world. For example, people incorporate rituals into their lives—but some rituals  are large and public while others are small and private. By examining the artifacts that reflect people’s lives,  we learn what they value and hold dear. As a result, we can design products and services that evoke  meaningful experiences for them.
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