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High-Tech Anthropology®: Balancing user and business goals to design solutions

Ever feel stupid when you use technology? Maybe you blame yourself when you spend too long trying to set up that new TV or scanning a document on the office printer. Or maybe you cringe when you watch someone swipe their credit card the wrong way or struggle to buy groceries in the self-checkout lane. The tech industry has even coined a term for this: “stupid user.”

At Menlo, we don’t believe in stupid users. When a technical product is properly designed for its target audience, it should be a joy to use. Great design requires getting to know your end users—who they are, what they need, how they think. It requires the humility to admit that you are not the end user, and neither are your development or marketing teams.

High-Tech Anthropology®: Balancing user and business goals to design solutions

What Is
High-Tech Anthropology®?

That’s where Menlo’s High-Tech Anthropology® comes in. In order to design software that brings people utility and delight, our High-Tech Anthropologists® (HTAs) study your end users in their native habitat. We get out in the field and spend time with them, observing and listening, learning what it’s like to live in their world. As we translate that research into designs, we return to the field to find out what aspects of the design work well and where we need to make adjustments.

How We
Use It

Finally, once we've got the designs where they need to be, we translate them into bite-size requirements that can easily be estimated for you to prioritize and for the development team to build.

How It

We can continue to work with the team throughout the project to represent the needs of the user when questions arise.

Our HTAs also help your stakeholders come together and create a shared vision for your product—who will use it, what problems it will solve, what its success will look like. This step often gets overlooked or underplayed in software development, in part because it's so challenging to achieve true consensus. But without a shared vision, projects can quickly go off the rails. So we use a handful of powerful tools to help everyone get on the same page so you can all move forward toward the same goals.

To find out more about how High-Tech Anthropology® could delight your users and unify your team, contact us today.

How You Can Learn More

Interested in learning more out about our High Tech Anthropology practice or how you can incorporate new practices into your organization?

Learn more about our High Tech Anthropology process, or how you can incorporate aspects into your organization. Join us for a free lunch panel, or take a deeper dive into the practice itself by attending our two-day workshop.

"The Menlo team was responsive and engaged. They developed a streamlined design for my app that cleanly addressed the UI/UX problems I’d been struggling with."

Olivia WalchEntrain, Co-founder & Developer