User Shadowing

Published on September 20, 2018 by

Themes: , , , , ,

Why:

To gather information about real users’ needs. To understand how people interact with the world around them.

What:

Observation of a user during his service experience.

Time:

One Hour

Materials:

Notebook, pen, video or digital camera, dictaphone

How:

Individually, In Small Groups

Image courtesy of Service Design Tools, click here to visit site

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The user is asked to think out loud while performing a given set of tasks, so that the evaluators can listen to and record his thoughts. If this kind of evaluation takes place with two users interacting with the system simultaneously, the observers would gain a more natural thought narrative and process and therefore potentially more effective results. Arrange to observe users while they use a service. Shadow the person as they use a service, observing their experience. During the observations try to answer the following questions: “What are the users doing and why?; What objects do they use or people do they interact with?; What space(s) does the service take place in?; What information is available to people?; What did they not like doing?; What else did you notice?; What needs/wishes do you think this person has?”

DOs AND DON’Ts

  • DO try to be unobtrusive while you record as much detail as possible (for example, if they are pressing the wrong button or are making shortcuts because something is difficult to use).
  • DO try taking photos, video or audio recordings, If the user doesn’t mind (ask first).

EXTRA RESOURCES

Constructive Interaction, Service Design Tools, access at http://www.servicedesigntools.org/tools/31

Methods – Observation & Shadowing, Designing with People. Org, access at  http://designingwithpeople.rca.ac.uk/methods/observation-shadowing

Eating, Design and Dementia: Improving Dining in Care Homes, Timlin, G. Royal, Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, access at http://www.hhc.rca.ac.uk/2261-2276/all/1/Eating%2C_Design_and_Dementia.aspx

Shadowing, Gimmy, G., Sennse, access at http://sennse.com/pdf/AboutShadowing_Sennse.pdf

User Shadowing, Keeping Connected Design Challenge, access at    https://www.hvcollege.com/documents/technology/UserShadowingActivity.pdf

Benedikte S. Als, Janne J. Jensen, Mikael B. Skov, (2005) Comparison of Think-aloud and Constructive Interaction in Usability Testing with Children, in Proceedings IDC 2005, Boulder, Colorado, USA

MJ Van den Haak, PJ Schellens, (2004) Employing think-aloud protocols and constructive interaction to test the usability of online library catalogues: a methodological comparison, in: Interacting with Computers, Vol. 16, No. 6.

McDonald, S. (2005), Studying actions in context: a qualitative shadowing method for organizational research, in: Qualitative Research, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 455-473

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