< Methods




Get a feeling for how your intended users will use your product by unobtrusively observing them in their natural environment, doing the things they always do.


Watch people without talking to or instructing them. While observing, make notes about their activities, interactions and environments. You do not need to be physically present: you can also observe users by automatically collecting interactions with the systems they use.


  • A place where you can observe the users without distracting them.
  • Note taking material or video recording equipment.
  • A system for recording online activities.
  • A willingness to stick to the observed facts and delay interpretation.

In practice

Companies use observation because what people actually do often differs from what they say, and even believe, they do. Interviews may not suffice.

Phase(s) of use

In the following project phase(s) observation can be used:

  • Problem definition
  • Analysis