In this world of quick and dirty, many practitioners consider ethnographies and site visits to be antiquated. Recent site visits proved yet again that there’s no substitute for an in-person visit. On one series of visits, our team realized that 2 Sprints, or 4 weeks of work, had to be thrown out. The original UX design met the Product Owner’s requirements/specification, but it fell very short of meeting the user’s needs. Epiphanies occurred for UX team members after their observation sessions with the users. Within the first 30 minutes, the team knew we had a problem.
Companies have two main reasons for skipping ethnography. Most feel that they know what their customers or employers actually do, or they don’t feel the budget for site visits is cost effective. This talk focuses on your cost benefit and ROI. It outlines the cost of directly engaging with users, as well as the cost to the project to not conduct an ethnography.