Understanding Culture, User Research and Design with Steve Portigal

Date: 
Friday, July 8, 2011 -
05:45 to 19:30
Community members: 

Where is culture? Culture is everywhere we look, and (perhaps more importantly) everywhere we don’t look. It informs our work, our purchases, our usage, our expectations, our comfort, and our communications (indeed, if you aren’t familiar with a specific geographic and historical set of experiences, the presumably clever title for this talk will instead be perhaps bland). In this presentation, Steve will explore the ways we can experience, observe, and understand diverse cultures to foster successful collaborations, usable products, and desirable experiences. 

In this workshop, Steve will show you how producers of "stuff" (products, services, and beyond) can work with user research data to identify new businesses opportunities. One of the most persistent factors limiting the impact of user research in business is that projects often stop with a cataloging findings and implications rather than generating opportunities that directly enable the findings. As designers (in the broadest sense of the word) increasingly become involved in using contextual research to inform their design work, they may find themselves holding onto a trove of raw data but with little awareness of how to turn it into design. The emphasis in this workshop (including an exercise in the days and weeks beforehand) will be on strengthening the creative link between "data" and "action." By the end, participants will have developed a range of high-level concepts that respond to a business problem and integrate a fresh, contextual understanding of that problem. 

About the Speaker
Steve Portigal is the founder of Portigal Consulting, a bite-sized Bay Area firm that helps clients to discover and act on new insights about themselves and their customers. In the past 15 years, Steve has interviewed hundreds of people, including families eating breakfast, hotel maintenance staff, architects, rock musicians, home-automation enthusiasts, credit-default swap traders, and radiologists. His work has informed the development of mobile devices, medical information systems, music gear, wine packaging, financial services, corporate intranets, videoconferencing systems, and iPod accessories. Steve writes regularly on topics from interaction design to pop culture for interactions, Core77, Ambidextrous, Johnny Holland, and the Portigal Consulting blog All This ChittahChattah. Heis an avid photographer who has a Museum of Foreign Groceries in his home.

Steve Portigal