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• A heuristic to help interpret observations gathered by ethnographic practice in
• An analytic frameworks for looking at and understanding a situation
• Not only understanding and describing each element of the framework, but also
understanding the interactions between the elements
•Activities are goal-directed sets of actions—paths towards things
people want to accomplish.What are the modes people work in, and
the speciﬁc activities and processes they go through?
•Environments include the entire arena where activities take place.
What is the character and function of the space overall, of each
individual's spaces, and of shared spaces?
•Interactions are between a person and someone or something else;
they are the building blocks of activities.What is the nature of routine
and special interactions between people, between people and objects
in their environment, and across distances?
•Objects are building blocks of the environment, key elements
sometimes put to complex or unintended uses (thus changing their
function, meaning and context).What are the objects and devices
people have in their environments and how do they relate to their
•Users are the people whose behaviors, preferences, and needs are
being observed.Who is there? What are their roles and relationships?
What are their values and prejudices?
• A method for supporting observation in the ﬁeld
• Give a rich, deeper understanding of the experience of the person
FIVE HUMAN FACTORS
•Physical: How do people physically experience with things and other
people? What do they touch, push, open, carry, control, and so forth ?
•Cognitive: How do people associate meanings to things they interact
with? What do they need to think? What do they read, research, assess
and decide ?
•Social:What do people behave in social settings? How do they
formally and informally interact, make decisions, coordinate actions,
work together ?
•Cultural: How do people experience shared norms, values habits, and
values ? How do they manifest ?
•Emotional: How do people experience their feelings and thoughts ?
What in the environment is triggering these emotions ? Are people
unhappy, satisﬁed, excited, and forth ?
User Objects Environments Interactions Activities
• Why : good design is grounded in users, empathy map helps you to synthesize your
observation and draw out the unexpected insights from 4 quadrants of users.
• How: a whiteboard with the four quadrants
• (say) quotes & deﬁning words (do) actions & behaviors
• (think) thinking & beliefs (feel) emotion & feeling
• say & do could be directly observed
• think & feel could not be directly observed
• body language, tone, choice of words
• inferring to have deep understanding
• human physical or emotional necessities (useful usable desirable)
• verb not noun
• looking for contradictories
• a remarkable realization that could be leveraged to a better responses to a design