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Ethnography Methods Training

Course Description

Ethnography is a core UX activity– necessary for understanding user context, culture, and needs. Even more important than usability, understanding user desirability is critical. This course guides you through tried and tested approaches for digging deeper to get the most from users in-person or online. You will learn how to Gain rapid rapport with users; Detect and identify artifacts and their meaning (physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and cultural); Handle subject matter expert interviews; Communicate user findings to stakeholders; and, most importantly, how to apply insights from user interviews and behavioral observation to your design.

Course Description:

Ethnography Methods Training offers an immersive learning experience in the fundamental technique of conducting ethnographic interviews used to define UX and Service design strategy. This course equips participants with a comprehensive toolkit to delve deep into user insights, whether in-person or virtual. Through a blend of hands-on knowledge and practical activities, participants will gain the skills to establish rapport, uncover artifacts’ meanings, conduct subject matter expert interviews, and effectively communicate their findings to stakeholders. The ultimate goal is to seamlessly integrate user-driven insights into the design process, resulting in better UX strategy.

Course Highlights:

  1. Understanding Ethnography methods: Explore the critical role of ethnography in UX design. Learn the methods for uncovering implicit user behaviors that traditional research methods might miss. Quickly develop contextual intelligence

  2. Building rapid rapport with users: Establishing trust and rapport is essential for gathering authentic insights. Learn proven strategies to establish a sharing space for interviews or participant observation. Discover techniques for active listening, nonverbal communication, and adapting to diverse cultural contexts.

  3. Uncovering artifact significance: Artifacts are windows into users’ lives, offering insights into their physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and cultural contexts. Learn systematic approaches to identifying and interpreting artifacts, helping you decode the hidden meanings that can inform design decisions. Engage in hands-on exercises to practice artifact analysis.

  4. Managing Subject Matter Experts: Collaborating with subject matter experts (SMEs) enriches the research process. Gain skills to conduct effective interviews with SMEs, extracting domain-specific insights that contribute to a holistic understanding of the user experience. Learn how to navigate challenging conversations and bridge the gap between expert knowledge and user needs.

  5. Applying behavioral observations: Ethnography involves keen observation of user behaviors in their natural settings. Develop observational skills to capture intangible value. Understand the importance of context in interpreting behaviors and translate these observations into actionable design improvements.

You will also learn the following:

  • Effective communication of findings: Research findings are pivotal in driving design decisions. Explore various methods of presenting ethnographic data to stakeholders, including visualizations, narratives, and personas. Develop persuasive storytelling techniques that convey the user’s perspective, fostering empathy among team members.

  • Integration of insights into design: The ultimate objective of ethnography is to influence design outcomes. Learn how to seamlessly integrate user insights into the design process, ensuring that user needs and desires are at the core of every design decision. Explore collaborative ideation methods that leverage ethnographic data for innovative design solutions.

  • Ethical considerations in Ethnography: Ethnographic research involves interacting with real people and their contexts. Understand the ethical responsibilities associated with collecting and using user data. Learn best practices for obtaining informed consent, ensuring privacy, and maintaining the dignity of research participants.

Course Format: The course is designed as a blend of interactive presentation, hands-on exercises, work with a Toolkit, and group discussions. Participants will engage in practical activities that simulate real-world ethnographic research scenarios. The course will also incorporate online resources and tools to facilitate virtual ethnography techniques, catering to both in-person and remote research contexts.

  1. Framing your problem & Problem space distinctions.
  2. Setting up the interview: Discussion Guide design.
  3. Tips for gathering quality data.
  4. Ethnographic interview skills.
  5. Field study toolkit hands-on: observation, shadowing, depth interview, diary study.
  6. Insights, analysis & evangelism.
Learning Objectives

Upon completion, participants will have acquired the skills and confidence to conduct effective ethnographic research, extract meaningful insights from user interactions, and seamlessly integrate these insights into the design process. Graduates of this course will be better equipped to create human-centered designs that resonate with diverse user contexts and cultures, ultimately leading to more impactful and successful products and services.

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Set up an Ethnographic field study, including recruiting, discussion guide design, and choosing the appropriate Ethnography method.
  2. Facilitate a user interview while gathering quality data.
  3. Perform a hands-on activity using core Ethnography skills that can be applied to future research studies.
  4. Understand how insights inform your design and solve business problems eg, customer conversion.

Essential Details
  • 8 hours (over 4 days).
  • Online (or in-person).
  • Up to 99 people (online) or 25 in-person (1 day).
Who Should Take This Course

This course is tailored for UX designers, researchers, product managers, and professionals seeking to enhance their skills in human-centered design. Whether you’re new to ethnography or seeking to refine your existing techniques, this course provides a comprehensive foundation to excel in gathering and applying user insights.

This course is great for cross-functional teams that specify user requirements, features & functionality and make design decisions.

  • UX team
  • Marketers
  • Product Managers
  • Business Analysts


A basic understanding of user experience (UX) principles is recommended. Familiarity with qualitative research methods is advantageous but not mandatory.

What our Students Say

About Your Trainer

Frank Spillers

CEO and Master UX Trainer @ Experience Dynamics

Frank Spillers is the founder of Experience Dynamics, a leading UX consulting firm with Fortune 500 clients around the world. For 25 years, Frank has been an internationally respected speaker, author, UX Leader, and Inclusive Design educator. He is a world expert in improving the design and user experience of products, experiences, and services. He leads consulting projects at Experience Dynamics as well as teaching monthly at his UX Inner Circle and with the Interaction Design Foundation, the largest design school. 

Frank Spillers

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