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Observations / Insights



  • 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.

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