An Ecological Approach to Design
Thursday, October 26, 2000
1:15 - 2:30 pm
Bonnie A. Nardi
Anthropologist, AT&T Labs-Research
Author, Information Ecologies: Using Technology with Heart

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We all want to connect with our customers. Focus groups, surveys, web usage tracking and other quantitative methods have great value. But when we want to dig deeper and get a sense of our customers in their "native habitats," ethnographic case studies are a powerful tool for engaging the customer.

In this talk, Bonnie will explain how to use ecological design, which is an expansion of ethnography, to leverage both:

  • the rich local information from case studies, and
  • a wider sociological perspective to take account of global realities.
Bonnie will give an example of the application of ecological design from her own work on social networks in the workplace. She and her colleagues at AT&T are building a software system, ContactMap, to integrate communication and information functions in a single interface and to support collaborative work within networks.