Mizuko Ito on anthropology and design
DANAH: Fabulous! Can you tell me more about what how you see anthropology being relevant to design?
MIMI: I think there is a role for anthropology along all of the steps of the design process. But of course I would say that. Anthropology can help inspire new designs by providing profiles of users and stories about contexts of use. Anthropologists can play on design teams as designs get developed to sensitive designers to culturally and context specific issues. And finally, anthropologists can evaluate the effectiveness of designs through studies of actual use in context, either prototype, pilot, or after product roll-out.
DANAH: So what advice would you have to young aspiring anthropologists who want to study socio-technical practice and get involved in designing new technologies?
This one is tough. Be prepared for some blank looks from people in your discipline - but a lively audience of practitioners and technology designers who are eager to hear stories from the field. The challenge is to be multilingual and interdisciplinary while also maintaining commitment to ethnographic perspectives and methods.
Why do I blog this? that's sometimes a feeling I have while working with a social science perspective with designers. Though, I am wondering whether going beyond telling stories because I feel there s much more to do.