- To perform user research.
- To look beyond obvious (and boring) behaviour to see the unusual.
- To make our assumptions and values explicit.
What you see and hear – just the facts. Observe real people in action in a relevant environment. Record what you see and hear. Be objective and try to be invisible – do not participate in the activity.
What to look for when observing users:
- Patterns, repeated behaviour
- Unusual / extreme behaviour
- Inconsistencies (what is said vs. what is done)
- Work-arounds / modifications to the environment/situation
- Passion, energy, high activity
- Write down what you see immediately – no thinking.
- Sit still and don’t do anything but watch.
- Write things down. If you rely on memory, you will “taint” your observation with interpretation.
- Practice observing people when you have a few minutes to spare.