product design

Personas are a useful tool for both designers and marketers. When done well, they bring to life real people with real needs and values. They can help us make our products and messages intelligible, resonant, and meaningful.
Unfortunately, this is not what usually happens.
As Steve Portigal has warned, personas are frequently done poorly. They are flat, [...]

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Categories: Blog · culture · design · home · personas · product design

Two of us at Copernicus (Sarah and I) are working on a project, funded through Ryerson University, on smartphone usage. One of the key findings we’ve uncovered so far is that people tend to adopt new communication channels (e.g., text) when they purchase new handsets. This new handset/life change correlation is a symbolic ritual that [...]

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Categories: Blog · anthropology · culture · design · ethnography · home · market research · mobile · product design · qualitative research · sociology · technology design

I’m thrilled to be managing a research project on mobile technology use through a fellowship at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. I’ve assembled a research team and we have started initial research. Our “ethnographic stretching” exercise lead to some interesting insights:
“Attachment Paradox”: More than one person we talked to said that [...]

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Categories: Blog · anthropology · culture · design · ethnography · home · market research · mobile · product design · qualitative research · sociology

The bane of many women’s existence appeared in today’s New York Times: irregular clothing sizes. The journalist interviewed one young woman who complained about irregular sizing:
“I can be anywhere from a 0 at Ann Taylor to a 6 at American Eagle,” she said. “It obviously makes it difficult to shop.”
The woman used a body scanner, [...]

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Categories: Blog · anthropology · culture · design · product design · sociology · women

I am a new home owner. Like many new home owners, I am both fascinated and repelled by the most terrifying show on television: Holmes on Homes. This show demonstrates a key aspect to understanding social life: normativity or what “should be.”
For those unfamiliar with the show, allow me to summarize the narrative arc of [...]

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Categories: Blog · anthropology · culture · design · home · market research · product design · sociology

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