UX Australia 2009

The new digital ethnographer’s toolkit: Capturing a participant’s lifestream

Christopher Khalil

A great user experience is grounded in the insights gained from understanding users’ needs, behaviours and motivations. One powerful way of gaining this insight is by simply observing users in their natural environment, often over a long period of time by means of ethnographic research.

However, this isn’t always possible, due to factors such as a lack of time or resource. In these circumstances, a good alternative is to use a Cultural Probe. A Cultural Probe often, simply, takes the form of a paper diary that the participant uses on a daily basis to record their thoughts.

In this talk, Dr Chris Khalil of News Digital Media (NDM) will explain how NDM are using an innovative web/mobile based approach to Cultural Probes (digital scrapbooks) and other research tools, utilising an array of low cost and freely available web and mobile applications such as Tumblr and Facebook. He’ll step through a specific case study based on one of Australia’s best known transactional websites, taking the audience through some of the lessons learnt and giving examples of some of the actual digital scrapbooks generated.

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