The Design Ethnography Fieldguide

An essential part of any design activity is understanding the context one is working in, particularly the social context. Eventually when proposals are made, these too must be measured by their likely impact on the people who will use and live with them.

Ethnography is one way to get closer to the everyday reality that design proposals will be situated within. Design ethnography is generally considered to be a light-weight version of established practices in the social sciences.

This booklet is used by participants of the Helsinki design labs studios when venturing into the field to see the reality of a system as it is lived and experienced on the ground. It is intended to be the minimal starting point for this kind of activity.

They supplement this document with group discussions to prepare participants and adjust the booklet as needed in different situations.

The Design Ethnography Fieldguide (PDF, 1.1 mb)