personas

International Business Ethnography: Are We Looking for Cultural Differences?

YUUKI HARA Hitachi, Ltd. Research & Development Group LYNN SHADE Independent UX Research & Design Consultant In international business ethnography, clients and subjects don’t share the same background. Without an understanding of the underlying factors affecting the subject’s behaviors, data can lead to false home-market based assumptions about cause and effect. Where do we as researchers look to detect meaningful findings in international contexts? Drawing on our decades of international fieldwork, we describe how focusing on culture or cultural differences to interpret differences in workflows and attitudes can sometimes hamper accurate interpretation of observations. We describe through case studies how instead, identifying foundation factors shaping behaviors and mindsets such as market forces, government policy, labour markets, and financial schemas can be the key to insight in international contexts. Keywords: Ethnography, International, Japan, fieldwork, workflow, products and systems, user research, UX,...

Radical Insights: Towards a Critical Hermeneutic

KARL MENDONCA University of California Santa Cruz In this paper, I will use an ethnographic research project to develop a set of foundational personas to work through the process of formulating insights that challenged the core epistemological assumptions of our stakeholders. Drawing on a rich body of discourse within postcolonial theory, I will highlight the concept of critical hermeneutics that emphasizes thinking about the conditions under which knowledge is produced over the “facticity” of the research artifacts, shifting the focus from “how objective is the information” to “what assumptions are driving research.” Put simply, critical hermeneutics can be seen as a method that uses reflexivity to explain how meaning is not absolute or empirical, but rather emerges from active interpretation that is informed by context. With this theoretical framework in mind, I will describe the methods used to include our stakeholders in the process of engaging with research data and ultimately derive the epistemological cores of the...

Same Findings, Different Story, Greater Impact: A Case Study in Communicating Research

by MABEL CHAN, Salesforce The Salesforce Platform empowers customers to build applications that are highly customized to their particular business operations and data. As platform researchers, we help create the tools that enable customers, including Salesforce administrators, to build these applications. Last year, the platform research team at Salesforce embarked on a project to update our existing UX personas. We had inherited two sets of persona work that described Platform users, but neither was actually being used to guide product-related decisions. One of the projects, the results of a skill segmentation survey, was regarded as accurate and credible, but was reported through dense tables of data and few stakeholders read or referenced it. The other was a more traditional set of personas that was easy to consume, but lacked specificity and was perceived as too superficial to be useful in decision-making. While this original persona work was based in research, it sat underutilized by researchers, designers, and product managers...