03. Based on what you’ve read, why do you think ethnography has become an important component of design research?
I believe a designer works through and for other people, hence is concerned primarily with their problems rather than his own. In this light he might be seen as a medical doctor, with the responsibility a doctor has for accurate diagnosis and for a relevant prescription. A diagnosis can be viewed as problem analysis and a prescription can be regarded as a design proposal.
In order to have nice diagnosis and prescription, medical people use various tools from x-ray to analyzing patient’s diet and daily life style. Likewise, in order to have fine quality analysis and design proposal, designers need to use various methods and ethnography is equivalent to checking patients’ diet and life style.
In most cases designers deal with the people’s needs. Those needs are largely influenced by how we live, where we live, and whom we live with. All those variables are called together as culture. It is very important to see the needs in the context. Ethnography is a great way to view the need with understanding of why the need is needed in his culture where he dwells in. In other words, ethnography permits designers to grasp the user’s point of view that tells how the need relates to user’s life, hence designers can come up with better analysis and proposals.