The Future of Research Storytelling: Ethnographic Animation by Kate Ertmann #CASRO #MRX


Live blogging from the #CASRO tech conference in Chicago. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

The Future of Research Storytelling: Ethnographic Animation by Kate Ertmann, President, Animation Dynamic, Inc.

  • grew up in film and tv, in front and behind screen
  • is animation just cartoons and  moving things? it’s not just steamboat willie
  • in snow white, everyone can related to at least one of the characters because it is such a great story
  • “The Don” changes everything, he is a digital native, he is an animator at her company, he looks at all types of media on any screen, doesn’t care what kind of screen tv theatre mobile tablet, doesn’t matter if it’s live action or cartoon
  • animation can be more engaging for the brain than real actors
  • animation generates significantly higher conceptual understanding
  • comprehension is higher for students who used computer animation – not just storytelling but comprehending
  • animation can show what your eye can’t see, present something that doesn’t exist, convey complex information, exist in time, allow you to feel an experience [the movie “UP” makes me cry and how fake is that!]
  • ethnography is the study of people today, from how people shop, at a certain, how do they clean their house, with this specific product; could be writing or videos, but how do you find meaning in that data, animation can be another tool for this
  • marble answering machine – 1992 Durrell Bishop’s visualization of a machine; get a visual and you experienced it for yourself, if it’s only in writing or a list, you wouldn’t experience the timing, the texture, the sound, can critique both good and bad of the system – what happens when my 3 year old gets ahold of the marbles?  the machine was never built which saved a lot of time and money
  • when people watch other people, they unconsciously look at the specific people – she’s too young/old, is she american, look at her shirt, i want her shoes – but if it’s just a blue outline of a person, you focus on what they’re doing not what they might be like
  • video of opening a package, for a left handed or right handed person, now test if your hands are wet from something else
  • test new products or processes out using an animation
  • scale the assets – ethnographic animation, ideation, new product visualization, virtual prototyping, working simulation, user testing, market introduction
  • people eventually get attached to the characters, name them, and talk about them as if they’re real, a visual can bring people together
  • it allows developers to see and feel what needs to happen, not just put a requirement to start building something, actually gives the beginning of the specs that engineers need to build it
  • Video connects real people in real situations, testimonials, talking heads, but animation means you can’t temporarily ignore demographics, nationality, gender. it’s not to manipulate the data, it’s to focus the data.
  • show off a new product with video but animations let you show it off before it exists
  • video lets your capture a moment like surprise and delight, but animation lets your iterate, change, customize and do it again
  • animation is not funny cartoons anymore, it’s a business tool
  • ethnographic animation captures people’s experiences – weight, children’s products
  • it does indeed scale
  • don’t be afraid of failing, don’t freak out about solving a problem perfectly right away

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