EPIC People

A Dozen Things Every Client Should Know about Ethnography

by LAITH ULABY, UX Researcher, AnswerLab In the past decade we have witnessed the proliferation of mobile platforms, social media, and cloud computing. At AnswerLab, the user experience research firm where I work as a researcher, we have seen demand for ethnographic research steadily grow as technology becomes more and more a part of people’s lives. From the bus stop to the boardroom, technology is changing how we interact with other people, build our identities, and create communities. Over the past few months, we conducted several exciting ethnographic projects, including some of the most ambitious ones to date in both scope and scale. Coordinating large numbers of participants across multiple markets can be both daunting and exhilarating. In the course of these projects we were reminded how critical stakeholder education is to making the project a success. I'd like to share 12 client education best practices we have developed in our decade of experience. Explaining the value of ethnography Clearly define and document...

I am a MSC student studying ethnography at a Design college. What advice would you give new graduates entering the work force in regards to portfolio building, networking, and finding internships/work? Also what are the traits you value most from both employees and colleagues?

The advice I would give would rest more soundly on the softer skills, which hopefully your graduate experience might have primed your for. Yes, you should network by going to conferences like EPIC, but your technical skills are only going to valuable to you as a researcher if you are also a) a selfless team…

How can I learn more about ethnography research methods that relate to insurance practices?

Ethnographically, there are things in and around insurance. A classic is Robin Leidner’s book Fast Food, Fast Talk. It is an ethnography of insurance salespeople, comparing insurance salesmen with women doing work behind fast food counters. This book is about insurance as *work*. For something more about risk, the insurance industry, and a more science…

Why has Epic lost it’s original focus on relevance to Industry? Over the years it has gravitated back to academia.

It would be helpful to hear more about why you think EPIC has lots its focus on relevance to industry? The majority of the papers at the conference remained focused on industry questions or are authored by industry practitioners. We have workshops that routinely seek to address questions that emerge from industry problems and are…

Welcome EPIC People!

It’s time for EPIC to expand its charter and role. Since our first annual conference in 2005, EPIC has brought practitioners together on annual basis to share insights about people, to discuss challenges associated with practicing ethnography, and simply to meet up with colleagues from around the world. While the annual conference will remain central…