One of the ongoing challenges of user research, as well as usability testing, is trying to understand the experiences of another person, a person who may have a very different perspective than I do. This one of the things I like most about my job and is why it never gets old. While there are still/always good questions to be asked about the way we pursue this goal, I am always interested in seeing other examples of how this kind of work happens both inside and outside our field. Recently I came across a special feature of the Guardian (the british news organization) entitled “Bankers: an anthropological study” in which they employ an anthropologist/journalist to explore the domains of banking and finance in London. The reporter/researcher is inviting people who work in that sector to meet with him and share their experiences (anonymously). So far this has taken the form of loose and exploratory interviews which are then shared on the website, mainly through transcripts, where discussions can take place in the comments. This is planned as a nine month project so it is just getting rolling, but I have enjoyed reading it so far and will be following it to see where it goes. It has as one of its stated goals to help the reading audience get a better understanding for a subject that impacts us all but is difficult to understand for those outside the business. I hope the author also does some critical interpretation and analysis of this primary data that he is collecting through the interviews. With the financial sector so much in the news these days, I found it a worthwhile read to get a small sliver of what the lived experience is of those immersed in that world.

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