Arab Youth Ethnography

The Problem

An NGO was interested in upgrading their current educational offering and repositioning it for Arab youth. They needed to get a better understanding of the youth culture in this location and the most pertinent problems that they faced and what opportunities for development could arise from those problems.


The Solution

An ethnographic study was designed. It was important to give the stakeholders a good understanding of this group, all the elements of their culture and the issues that they are most affected by, with a view to addressing them using a technological solution.


The Process

We started with some desk research and a digital ethnography. We needed to get as much background information as we could and review the work that had already been done in this location. We then did a little more in-depth studied using PET analysis. Once the study was done, we looked at various ways to position the product to appeal to this target group.




Statistical Analysis & Literature Review

We did a literature review of studies that were already done on the Arab Youth. This helped me to understand a bit of the landscape and the context before mapping out various themes that kept recurring in other studies.






There were already a number of large-scale surveys done in the area on this age-group, so we studied them in detail and focused on the important issues that were brought up before moving to more in-depth discussions in our own surveys and interviews.






Digital Ethnography

Because young people these days spend most of their time online, a lot of their behaviour has to be observed online. This adds another dimension to field studies. We went through the most popular social networks to understand online behaviour in context. Language usage for this demographic was a key point in our findings.



We had the opportunity to interview Arab youth from different countries informally. These were via discussions on social media and chat. It helped us understand their context and background a bit better. It also gave us some insight into how they perceived a lot of different issues that affected them.



Proto-personas made from the data we collected and analysed helped us give stakeholders some idea of the vast differences in the range of youth psychographics we were dealing with. This helped us to refine our target market a little more clearly.






PET Analysis

The PET analysis of interviews and surveys helped us to uncover the drives and blocks that were latent in this demographic. We managed to map these out and enable our stakeholders to see the bigger picture of what influenced the decisions and crises behind the Arab Youth at the time.





Strategic Redesign

Once we understood what would appeal to their needs, we set about evaluating, ideating and redesigning the current offering in an attempt to reposition it for a better fit – but that is another case study.







I learnt a lot about the Arab culture and the people. I noticed the big difference in Arab culture compared to other Islamic countries and cultures. There are a lot of things we take for granted that are ‘Islamic’ but are in fact part of Arab culture regardless of their religion. It was interesting to know how large this demographic actually is and the sheer potential of this market in the future.


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