I am a user experience designer with experience designing, developing and leading the creation of software products. I am seeking an opportunity to work with a team that is passionate about building great technology products.

Design Research in a Foreign Culture – Pointers from Anjali Kelkar

In our Transcultural Design class last night we had a Skype call with Anjali Kelkar who has a lot of experience doing design research in different cultures. A few of the things that really stood out for me from her talk were:
1. Multi-Stakeholder Interviews: She spoke about a good way to get a grounding in a field you know nothing about is talking to multiple stake holders in that field. She spoke about doing a project for an art auction house and the team knew nothing about art auctions. They started by interviewing the business owners, auctioneers from the business and competing businesses, art collectors, overseas art buyers etc. Understanding these different perspectives gave the team a great grounding in the space.
2. Remote research using hired non design researchers: Anjali spoke about a project she did with base of pyramid users in India while she was heading the research group at ID. Since there was no budget to fly to India and do the research or even access to design researchers in India, they got around this by getting research done by people from different professional backgrounds. They hired social workers, MBAs and Architects to get a holistic understanding of theirs users from a social, cultural, business and physical perspective.
3. The Assumption Breaker Exercise: This was another really interesting tool she discussed. While preparing the team to go into doing research in a foreign culture, she spoke about starting the project with an assumption breaker exercise. The idea is to bring out all the preconceived notions about the culture, assumptions, biases and judgments one might have about the culture before starting research so each individual and the team is aware of them.
It was a great talk and I'm quite excited now about my own project of trying to understand the meaning of success in the Mexican culture.

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