Blythe, M. & Monk, A. Notes Towards an Ethnography of Domestic Technology. Designing Interactive Systems DIS2002. 276-281.

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The paper reports findings of an ethnographic study of domestic technology. As a research method, authors have used something called technology biography. Technology biography includes: 1) a technology tour of participants homes, 2) last times questions about participants technology usage, 3) a personal history interview of participants technologies and routines, 4) a guided speculation on possible future technologies, and 5) three wishes for products that participants would like to see.

As a result of the study, the authors list three themes that could be used to guide domestic technology development: 1) enjoyability, 2) re-codification, and 3) inclusivity. Authors claim that these themes could be equivalent to the workplace technology development themes/guidelines of being learnable and usable and fit for task.

The article is interesting and well written. However, the data evidence for the results is somewhat thin. The ethnography/technology biography considered only one family. In addition, the article uses quite lot of space to go through quite trivial and naive product ideas that seem to come from the studied people. These ideas include e.g. electronic dishwashing brush, strip vacuum cleaner, and jet ski online shopper. It would have been more interesting to read about product ideas that are based on findings of the study.

Posted by Petri

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