Thursday, April 19, 2007

Real Reality TV: Using Documentary-Style Video to Place Real People at the Center of the Design Process

Usability and ethnographic research testing using documentary video ...

"The creation of documentary video is a method used in ethnographic and design research to record study participants in situ, analyze interactions and observations after they have occurred, and ultimately to present insights and study findings to colleagues and key stakeholders in a form that brings the research to life. Ethnographically inspired research begins with observational and participatory field work, as researchers immerse themselves in the lives and cultures of study participants. These visits can last a few hours or take place over many days. Documentary-style video is a highly effective tool for capturing the essence of these encounters, and for putting real people and their values, habits, and lifestyles at the center of the design process.

This paper will show how video documentation, data analysis, well-crafted video editing, and strategic video presentations play an important role in a user-centered design process. Video can be used in all phases of user-centered design research—from documenting usability studies to minutely detailed analysis of behavioral patterns.

Using video clips from a study of PC usage and meaning conducted in Egypt, Germany, South Korea, and Brazil by Domestic Designs and Technologies Research in 2006, I demonstrate the power of documentary video in ethnographic research and its usefulness as a means for communicating research findings. I describe several types of ethnographic video clips, take a critical look at how video is best used, and consider whether video can stand alone as a source of design information."    (Continued via Intel)    [Usability Resources]

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