The Atlantic

What Designers Can Learn From a Pioneering Anthropologist

Clifford Geertz revolutionized cultural anthropology. Can his ideas also change how we assess what consumers need?
Source: Leah Millis / Reuters

A "thick description" is the intellectual and literary act of describing what happens during an interview with a research participant. It's a reflection upon what one saw as an interpretation of behavior within a certain context. Or as Geertz says, it's a sorting through of "webs of significance that (man) himself has spun."

When the Internet caught on over a decade ago, companies wanted to learn why people were browsing and what exactly by expanding the designer's field of vision to include things on the periphery of the participant's life that, while indirect to the topic of study, influence them in meaningful ways.

Citiți o mostră, înregistrați-vă pentru a citi în continuare.

Mai multe de la The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min cititePsychology
The Three Personalities of America
A few years ago, Jason Rentfrow, a psychologist at the University of Cambridge, dug into a question that has captivated him for decades: Do different places have different personalities? Do people in Los Angeles, for instance, have measurably differe
The Atlantic17 min citite
What It Means to Name a Forgotten Murder Victim
Thirteen years ago, a young woman was found dead in small-town Texas. She was nicknamed “Lavender Doe” for the purple shirt she was wearing. Her real identity would remain a mystery until amateur genealogists took up her case.
The Atlantic6 min cititePolitics
The Electoral College’s Racist Origins
More than two centuries after it was designed to empower southern white voters, the system continues to do just that.