The purpose of shadowing is to emphasize with the user. Most often, the researcher spends a whole day with the user and observes what the user does, listens to, and says. The researcher also often participates in the activities performed by the user.
You will needpen and paper
Time1 day per 1 shadowing
Difficulty3 – necessary to focus throughout the whole day
- you need exhausting information about user’s motivations and behavior patterns
- you need to see the changes in user’s behavior for different contexts
Do not use when...
- researching a product or a service (try Mystery Shopping instead)
- Define what you need to find out when shadowing.
- Before you start, meet the user and make sure the basic information about the procedure of shadowing is clear to him or her. Arrange a particular day for the shadowing. This day should be as close to user’s regular day as possible.
- If possible, actively, yet unobtrusively, engage in all user’s activities. Try to avoid disrupting his routine.
- Make notes, recordings and photos when shadowing. They will help you with the evaluation of the day.
- In the final interview, ask the user about anything that was unclear when shadowing.
Keep in mind that...
- shadowing can be both long-term with a large number of users or a one-shot shadowing for a faster understanding of the problems
- if unsure, ask the user what he or she does and why does he or she do it
Find out more
- popularizing article with infographics
- book Shadowing and Other Techniques for Doing Fieldwork in Modern Societies
- tips and procedures for correct shadowing by SAP User Experience Community