Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 7, Issue 3–4, pp 147–158 | Cite as

The `adequate' design of ethnographic outputs for practice: some explorations of the characteristics of design resources

  • Tim Diggins
  • Peter Tolmie


The community of `appliance design' rests generally upon a successful use of multidisciplinary user-centred design and often draws on an ethnographic component. Much has been made of the need for a multidisciplinary team and of the difficulties of making good use of ethnographic outputs in such a team. Discussions often centre upon the precise placement of the boundary between ethnography and design and the possibilities of hybridisation of these disciplines. Another way of looking at the issues of multidisciplinary teams is to look at the nature of the representational devices used to encapsulate and aid the communication of the ethnographic work in coherent and useful ways. Taking lessons from existing design practice, we look at how such representational devices actually work and propose some possible features important in the realisation of future best practice.


Design resources Ethnography Representational devices Work practice 


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Some of the research referred to in this paper was conducted as a part of the MIME Project (IST FET 2000 26360) in the European Commission funded Disappearing Computer programme. Figure 4 is reproduced with the kind permission of Immediate Solutions BV. Figure 5 is reproduced courtesy of Design Management Journal (vol. 10, 4, 1999), a publication of the Design Management Institute. Individual copies of this and other DMI Journal articles are available for purchase at

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Image Semantics LtdSt John's Innovation CentreCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Xerox Research Centre EuropeFrance

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