Design Thinking

Ethnography for Design Thinkers

Today will be a bit different to the last few articles as I want to discuss ethnography for the design thinker.

I was thinking of writing about reframing but I felt it would be repetitive to the inspiration stage. Why? Well, it was because reframing is about the discovery process to understand a problem and view it from different angles. However, I felt that even before that ethnography would provide the information needed to understand the possible people that are involved in the target market or community that the product would be involved in. Ethnography is the study of how people interact with a design, whether it's the technology, the objects or the space. 

So, how can we do this if we were in the process of designing a manga? Well, we could analyze the audience of other mangas within the genres you are thinking of writing. You can see what character types receive higher reactions or empathy, as well as the gender, age and interest of the audience. Bungo Stray Dogs for example is a supernatural detective story that is within the seinen category. Seinen is usually targeted towards "youth" specifically young men... however once it reached the market place it succeeded much more with the LGBTQ+ community and a female audience. Seinen is the more adult version of Shounen for anyone who may not know this information. With a knowledge of the manga/anime industry, I have found that One Piece which is a Shounen has captured more of the attention of the intended Seinen audience. Bungo Stray Dogs targets an older community as it makes use of dark themes and showcases mental health problems such as PTSD, Depression, Religious Trauma and many more. These themes were not suitable for the younger audience as they could be trigger or influential. The first ethnography would have been of the genre and the target category but once it reached the market the ethnography changed and through new studies, Asagiri Kafka can even better understand the growing community around his product. With a better understanding of the people that interact in his community, Bungo Stray Dogs can grow and become a better version of itself to target the audience's wants and needs. 

What do we learn from this? The better understanding and knowledge of the product's users and community, the better you can tackle the reframing and viewing of the different possible angles of the problems. So what do I suggest to you? do an initial ethnography to start understanding the possible people involved and the different angles... but follow it up with post-ethnography to continue seeing the evolution of the people and seeing if you reached the intended target market or if you actually got a different community to then continue innovating.

I hope that my blog has been interesting or helpful to you my dear readers. Did you learn anything new with me? 



Here is the manga that I designed and developed with the help of my precious friend.