ABBAS JAFFER

Contributed Articles

Doing Ethnography in Civic Spaces

An EPIC Talk moderated by MATT BERNIUS, Principal Design Researcher, Code for America Panelists: NICHOLE CARELOCK, Tech Talent Project & EPIC Board A. KATHRYN HOHMAN, Director of Research and Future Planning, Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer ABBAS JAFFER, UX Researcher, Central Integrity, Facebook VICTOR UDOEWA, Service Design Lead & Customer Experience Strategist, NASA Overview Ethnography has always illuminated the interconnections between society and industry, private and public, economic and cultural, business and civic. But recent events—COVID-19, police violence, political disinformation—have reminded us that civic institutions are fragile, and that we all have a critical role in civic spaces, whether we work for private corporations, nonprofits, or governments. EPIC people have expressed renewed interest and urgency in addressing our roles and responsibilities in civic space. As a community of practitioners who span all sectors, industries, and disciplines, we are in a unique position...

The Trouble with Job Titles: Getting beyond Buzzwords in a Shifting Employment Landscape

by MARTHA COTTON, GARY GEBHARDT, TRACEY LOVEJOY, ABBAS JAFFER — and you! How have professional skills & requirements for ethnographers and other human-centered researchers changed over the last 10 years—and where are they headed? How can you evaluate the confusing terrain of position titles and descriptions, as well as assess the organizations offering them? Post your questions, insights & ideas! EPIC people gathered for an online discussion with Martha, Tracey, Gary & Abbas. Here are the introductions. Introductions Martha Cotton, Partner, gravitytank Back in the mid-90s when I was at eLab, researchers went through a brief period where our business cards said “Understander.” As a word, it fit to describe what I did for a living. But as a job title to communicate my role to others outside of my small ethnographer community, it was very hard to, well, understand. I have a memory of handing my business card to the store manager of a Boston area sporting goods store where I was to spend the day observing people...