Combining ethnography and object-orientation for mobile interaction design : contextual richness and abstract models
Publication: Research - peer-review › Journal article
There has been a lot of interest in ethnography within human–computer interaction over the last two decades, and its relevance within systems development is today beyond question. However, one of the challenges reported is that ethnography generates findings and knowledge with such contextual richness that it can be hard to transfer into system design. In the light of recent years' push for the use of ethnography within the area of mobile human–computer interaction, this challenge has resurfaced and is of renewed importance to the research field. In this article we describe an interdisciplinary combination of ethnography with a structured software engineering method supporting the transition from collected data to design and implementation. We explore this combination through two case studies of mobile system development for supporting distributed work activities within industrial process control. We show that when developing mobile systems ethnographic data is a highly valuable source of input for developing object-oriented models by providing contextual richness, and that in turn, objected-oriented analysis is a highly valuable method for working with ethnographic field data in systems development by supporting the creation of abstract models. Combining the two, we have a method where ethnographic field studies inform core system design.
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