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🗞 The Development of Design Anthropology in Business Practice

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
5 min read
🗞 The Development of Design Anthropology in Business Practice

Great Question
Great Question

Hi there! 👋 Thanks for stopping by. USERWEEKLY is your weekly email to understand what is happening in User Research. It's the best way to keep up on trends, methodologies and insights in UX Research. It is written by me, Jan Ahrend. Each week I capture the pulse of our community and answer a simple question: What mattered in User Research this week?

😌 Humans of User Research w/ Rachel Abbott

Rachel Abbott
Rachel Abbott

Hi Rachel, tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I’m Rachel Abbott and I’m a Senior User Research Consultant at Hippo Digital, a full service design consultancy based in the UK. We work in the public and private sectors, with a large amount of our work being with government department. I’ve previously been a researcher on projects with Department for Education, NHS Digital, Cabinet Office and Defra. I also line manage and support other user researchers at Hippo. Outside of work, I play clarinet in an orchestra for returning musicians, and I’m a coach and skater at Birmingham Roller Derby.

What originally got you interested in UX Research?
I’ve been a user researcher at Hippo for 3 years, but before that I was a team leader and safeguarding lead at a substance misuse support service. I’d worked in that field since I graduated university in 2007, starting off supporting people one-to-one involved in the criminal justice system, and eventually moving onto managing a team and advising on high risk and safeguarding cases. The work involved a lot of asking people the right questions, being empathetic to their points of view and experiences, communication skills, behaviour change approaches, risk management, and of course planning and organisation.

Once I found out about user research as a career option (from friends already working in digital teams) - it seemed to me that I had a lot of transferable skills. It’s why digital behaviour change and behavioural design interest me as they merge the two areas. Moving away from the charity sector was a hard decision - but it was the right one. I really like being able to work on services that are used by so many people in their daily lives.

If you had unlimited budget and time for research, what would you do with it?
This is the dream! I really miss in person research - the practice is starting to filter back in now in a slightly apprehensive way. Working through the pandemic meant all researchers had to adapt to new ways of engaging with participants but it’s not always ideal, especially for participants with accessibility needs.

If I had the time and budget I would love to do a big juicy piece of mixed methods research over a longer period of time involving contextual observation, video diaries, usability studies and group co-design sessions. Really building up that rich picture around understanding people in natural environments and situations, which we’ve not been able to do for so long.

How can people learn more about you and your work?
You can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter and read my blogs on the Hippo Digital Medium site.

I’m really interested in doing more blogs, webinars and talks, so if you’d like to collaborate or make any suggestions, get in touch!

Thank you, Rachel!

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎉 Highlights.

Lessons from PM & UXR collaboration
What we learned from working on a new product project together with Product Management. PH & Anna Lee Anda 05/23

A framework for research democratization
A guide for understanding the needs of your team and how to elevate the research work within your organization. Ananda Nadya 05/24

The development of design anthropology in business practice
Anthropological perspectives and methods have been implemented in various product design processes. It leads to the emergence of design anthropology as a convergence of business needs and applied anthropology practitioners. There are three stages of development for the relation between design and anthropology: Ethnomethodologically-informed design, Participatory design, Design anthropology. Fathurrahman Adiasmi 05/15

Over 40 User Research Templates (Sponsored)
Empower more teams within your organization to do great research with these templates. Now, marketers, product manager and designers can get quality research done faster! Select your template

🎯 Approaches.

Why we need design sociology
Going beyond moralisation and one-dimensional ways of looking in design. theo ploeg 05/16

Using responsive design? Re-visit user research questions for better results
Your design fitting on mobile screens doesn’t mean it fits mobile user needs. Kai Wong 05/20

🛠 Methods.

How to do a service safari in 5 easy steps
A service safari allows design teams better to understand competitors, users, and their own product. This service experience offers valuable insights for very little investment, making it an essential tool during the early stages of the design thinking process. 05/24

When a group interview is actually a good idea
Group interviews or focus groups are often a poor fit for a project. But when your users' real-world environment calls for a group setting, this method is a powerful tool. Laurel Brown

How stakeholder mapping can help you in primary UX research
While solving a problem or building a product or service, stakeholder mapping is one of the essential tools when it comes to conducting research. Vaibhav Verma 05/23

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎥 Videos of the Week.

Talking taboo: user research in sex tech with Lex Gillon
They often overestimate their sex lives or ignore you altogether, making it difficult to get the deep user insights necessary to build useful products. Lex will take you on a journey: a quest to constantly evolve taboo research methods. YouTube 05/18

What I wish someone had told me about UX research
In this panel, UX research practitioners share their journey, offer tips, and answer questions about UX research. YouTube 05/19

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🔉 Audio of the Week.

Digital ethnography and real-world context in UXR with Megan Mclean of Spotify
Our new world is digital. Here’s how an anthropologist explores it through digital ethnography. Spotify Apple 05/18

Happy researching,
🗞 Jan